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Salaryman – Take Dance at Baruch Performing Arts Center

February 12, 2012

Take Dance in Salaryman Photo by Kokyat

I was very excited at the prospects of seeing the performance of Salaryman. The work, choreographed by Takehiro Ueyama for Take Dance was brilliant. A blend of dance, theater and social commentary, blended with tongue in cheek humor. I had witnessed a performance of an excerpt of the work, The Game at the WestFest Dance Festival, and was blown away it.

Salaryman, which explores the life of the Japanese businessman is broken into two acts with 14 segments, and as the piece opens we see dancers laying on the floor covered with a large white silk cloth, a mixture of couples and individuals, snuggling and adjusting as if in sleep.  Ueyama walks on stage in black business attire, and places a metronome, and this begins the piece.

Take Dance in Salaryman Photo by Kokyat

Take Dance in Salaryman Photo by Kokyat

This is the first segment Morning in which the ten dancers awake, unfolding and expanding, they separate themselves and utilizing the white silk cloth, we are given glimpse of tableaus of dreams that are sometimes humorous and always intriguing.

Next is The Game, a quartet for men, it is a powerhouse of virtuosity and athleticism. Brynt Beltman, John Eirich, Kile Hotchkiss and Clinton Edwards Martin try to outdo each other in a seemingly corporate world of ruthlessness and machismo, each determine to outdo and get ahead of the other. It is dazzling and adroit; enough cannot be said for the sheer dynamism of these four men. Bravo indeed!

The Game Salaryman Excerpt

Densha (train) was a visualization of what anyone how has ridden a subway in NYC at rush hour has witnessed. It is laced with humor and odd-ball attics. People with i-Pods in their ears, headphones on their heads, some are reading, some falling to sleep, much to the chagrin of their neighbor. One dancer annoys her neighbors by reading over their shoulder, another falls to sleep on the shoulder of the woman beside him and she must contend with his drool.

Red Light began with a collective gasp from the audience. The four men have excitedly arranged themselves comfortable in chairs and out walks four exquisite beauties. Clad in the sexy black lingerie with a bright red sheer covering, we were dazzled. They proceed to lure the men with suggestive lap-dancers while in the background Joy Askew crones “I Got You Under My Skin”.  The four sensual sirens of desire seem to promise, to lure and to entice the men to share an apple. To take a bite of the forbidden fruit, the allegory to Eve was ripe and tasty.

I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long Salaryman Excerpt

I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long is an explosive performance by Takehiro Ueyama. In a rectangle of white light he kneels before a clear acrylic container while John Eirich pours water of his head. I wonder at the message, is this an attempt at the spiritual cleansing of the demons in his head? He dances in disturbingly strong movements and shapes, the water falls like raindrops (or teardrops) from his hair with each move. Only to find his cleansing was not successful and hangs himself with his own tie. It is a strong metaphor for the strenuous working hours and the stressful toll and rigors of the competitive corporate world.

One cannot but wonder at the depth of originality of Takehiro Ueyama’s vision as a choreographer. Nowhere is this more evident than in Silence. Directed by Yuko Takebe and video by Tomoyuki Morioka with lighting by Atsushi Takaoka is a visual masterpiece. A film of John Eirich and Kile Hotchkiss underwater in their shirts and trousers is startling in its beauty. Again we are referred to water. One wonders if the reoccurrence of water, a constant throughout the work in reference to Japan’s tsunami.

Take Dance in Salaryman Photo by Kokyat

The lighting design by Jason Jeunette must be mentioned and he commended. His use of black and white and rectangles and squares brought a solemn beauty that at no time was overwork or forced.

Takehiro Ueyama is without restraint, a choreographer, dancer, artist that I long to see more as he grows and mature. If he is producing work such as this nd stilll early in his career, what will he give in 5 years, 10 years,  20 years. I hope I am there to witness it!

Take Dance

Choreographer: Takehiro Ueyama
Co-creator: Yuko Takebe
Assistant Choreographer: Jill Echo
Lighting: Jason Jeunnette
Set Design: Yukinobu Okazaki

Kristen Arnold
Brynt Beitman
Jill Echo
John Eirich
Kile Hotchkiss
Gina Ianni
Clinton Edward Martin
Lynda Senisi
Nana Tsuda Misko
Takehiro Ueyama
Marie Zvosec

From → Dance, Video

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