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Uzume, A World Premiere

You can expect toe shoes and taiko drums at today's world premiere of Uzume, a new work presented by the Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. Uzume, a love letter from choreographer Walsh to the people of Japan, combines butoh-style dance/performance art with taiko drumming, along with Japanese paper art and design. Dancers Hana Sakai and Domenico Luciano join Kensaku Satou, among the best taiko drummers in the world, onstage for the performance, which is just under an hour long.

Uzume isn't a story ballet, actually, it isn't a ballet at all in the popular sense of the word. It combines elements of classical ballet with modern and contemporary dance and butoh (a style of dance that emerged in Japan after World War II in reaction against the contemporary dance scene there). Walsh made the most of Sakai and Luciano's ability to perform in all styles when choreographing the work. The dancers add to the soundscape at one point, reciting poetry in their native languages (Japanese and Italian, respectively). The set and the costumes include elements of washi, a traditional Japanese paper, including a backdrop and tutu made out of the fibrous material.

In case you're wondering, the piece takes its name from the Shinto goddess of joy and happiness. The myth about goddess Uzume and how she danced on a set of drums to entice the goddess of light to come out of a cave is of special interest to Walsh, a self-professed lover of all things Asian. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
Oct. 19-21, 2012


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