Led by Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi, the Vancouver-based Kokoro Dance Theatre Society has been creating, performing and teaching their distinctive brand of multidisciplinary dance theatre since 1986. The company also spearheads the Vancouver International Dance Festival.
At this year’s festival, in March, Kokoro premiered a new multimedia piece called F that uses Frankenstein as a springboard for a cautionary tale exploring humanity’s capacity for creation and destruction. Among the questions raised: How do soldiers returning from war reconcile the horror of titanium limbs with their fragmented psyches? How do we take responsibility for the ongoing and incessant trauma we inflict on our bodies? What is our fate?
Performing in the sometimes grotesque and disturbing butoh style of corporal expression, the dancers are accompanied by narrators, musicians and projected images. Pictured above, Jay Hirabayashi portrays the stitched and tortured Monster and Barbara Bourget appears in front of a wall of electronic equipment.
In a very positive review, The Georgia Straight calls the piece “a Mary Shelley nightmare recast as an abstract-art installation.” A much less enthusiastic review in Plank Magazine provokes an interesting reply from choreographer Hirabayashi.
Kokoro Dance website.
The performance listed on the Vancouver International Dance Festival website.