Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 7, 2010

Tyler Tyler

UMass Bowker Auditorium, Amherst, MA
October 6, 2010
by Amy Meek

The program Tyler Tyler, directed by Yasuko Yokoshi, combined the traditional Japanese dance form Kabuki with postmodern dance choreography to create a complex picture of contemporary life. Yokoshi used the traditional epic The Tale of Heike as her inspiration, using classic Kabuki repertory. The Japanese and the contemporary movements contrasted and paralleled each other to create a merging of the two cultures.

The Japanese dancing was choreographed by Masumi Seyama, an authority in Kanjyuro Fujima VI's style of Kabuki dance. The dancers demonstrated the subtlety and grace of Kabuki, slowly and deliberately moving the entire time. They used fans and many twisting and circular movements of the arms and wrists. The modern dancers combined the controlled Kabuki form with out of control, flailing movements. The troupe alternated between the two styles and created one unique style.

Accompanying music was an integral part of the piece. Steven Reker performed live and used a combination of recordings, guitar, traditional Japanese instruments, a toy piano, and his voice. The music was quite monotone, but then would become distractingly loud at moments, becoming almost unpleasant to listen to with the piercing noises.

The director's voice was strongly felt through the program. The performance was an interesting look at Japanese culture, even though some of the references were unclear. The pacing of the show was a little slow at times, but it was nonetheless an educational experience.