Natural Abstractions III
Performance dates: May 2021
“Natural Abstractions III” is a mixed media dance performance that tells the story of the 2500 year evolution of Buddhism through the eyes of five Buddhist travelers who helped spread Buddhism throughout Asia, and eventually to the West, subsequently inspiring and informing the development of many forms of artistic expression. By combining dance, visual arts, and music, the production will highlight the universality of culture and the understanding that each individual propagates ideas that have developed through the transformation of very different cultural systems and religious beliefs.
The genesis for “Natural Abstractions III” emerged from a series of performances the Ninja Ballet undertook in Jan. 2020 that were inspired by the artworks of visual artist Bill Claps’ exhibition “Natural Abstractions”. The production brought these landscapes to life with original music and dance that incorporated traditional Japanese and Chinese martial arts and dance, fused with classical ballet and contemporary dance, with an original score performed live by composer/musician William Catanzaro.
We have researched the historical contexts and biographies of the Buddhist travelers, including: Bodhidharma, who brought Buddhism and martial arts from India to Shaolin Monastery in China in 480 CE; the monk Wonhyŏ Daisa, who brought Buddhism from China to Korea in 640 CE; the monk Eisai, who founded Shofukuji Temple on Kyushu island, bringing Zen Buddhism and tea from China to Japan; and the Japanese monk Santoka Taneda, who as a wandering pilgrim travelled through much of Japan as the country was emerging from feudalism prior to World War II, creating a modern free-form version of Haiku.
Choreographer Shoko Tamai: “ I have begun creating the sequences of my choreography, listening to nature sounds, closing my eyes and imagining myself walking through the lands in our story. I’m using my subconscious process to manifest the structure of the performance, integrating geography, space, humanity, and movement. I continue to meditate on this project and in the process I am going very deep into my spiritual side, in order to manifest a complete performance that embodies the ideals and essence of my vision.”
EARTH DAY DANCE
SERIES POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
Neville Dance Theatre commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with a special two program, two-day performance series of works by NDT and guest companies that celebrates the beauty and power of our planet while bringing awareness to environmental issues, featuring videography from Chris Jordan's "Midway", music composition by Will Catanzaro, and original choreography "KARMA" by Shoko Tamai and Ninja Ballet.