Bardo by Toru Shimazaki — Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Dynamic and mysterious is the choreography in these excerpts of, Bardo, a contemporary work created by the Japanese Canadian choreographer, Toru Shimazaki. The work is danced by one of the foremost contemporary dance companies in the States, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. The music is from “Salterello” by Dead Can Dance.

Toru Shimazaki received his initial training at the Goh Ballet in Vancouver, Canada and has danced with the Landestheatre in Innsbruck in Tirol, Austria. In 2002 he was invited to participate in the American Dance Festival International Choreographers Commissioning Program. He has juried for international dance competitions, and has even been involve with dancer auditions for Cirque du Soleil. Currently, Shimazaki is the chief professor of the Dance Department at Kobe Jogkuin College.

Bardo, the name of this piece, refers to the Japanese understanding of the uneasy, suspended state of body and mind that occurs in the weeks immediately after death. The ballet references this state by depicting the mystical and mysterious journey humans experience between life and death and beyond during this period. This work has been described by Sol Smith of the Chicago Tribune, as a “..Powerful, intense ensemble work, beautiful, haunting, seductively lovely even when breathlessly fast…”

The movement is dynamic and strong with a powerful drive that we see in the beginning as the ensemble dances against lone runners who circle around the group. I really enjoy the tension this creates. The lighting at this point is stark perhaps depicting the spiritual descent. I particularly enjoy the two duets especially the second one that begins at 3:03. The voice is so rich it heightens the passionate dynamic between the two dancers.

This is an intriguing piece. I love the music and find it interesting to see how Shimazaki has used it. The name of the group, Dead Can Dance, is fitting!

Enjoy the haunting mysterious spell that has been woven into this piece and SHARE!


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