In his latest solo work, “Pollen Revolution,” Akira
Kasai abandons the boundaries of dance, and presents an
instinctual, intuitive form of movement. Performing at the Power
Center this today, Akira Kasai will journey though traditional
Kabuki dance, classical ballet, hip-hop and improvisational
eurythmy.

Eston Bond
Akira Kasai performs in “Pollen Revolution.” (Courtesy of UMS)

“Pollen Revolution” opens with traditional Kabuki
dance, a stylized form of Japanese theater founded at the turn of
the 17th century. Preserving this honored tradition, Kasai emerges
as a woman dressed in a brilliant black and red silk robe with an
elaborate headdress and glittering ornaments. His face is layered
with white rice powder, while his eyes are framed in a dramatic
red. Choreographed gestures depict universal themes of love,
revenge and the conflict between duty and private emotion.

Just as one begins to adjust to Kasai’s stunning persona,
his appearance and movement style are drastically altered. The
stage turns dark and the layers of silk are stripped off to reveal
the bare flesh of Kasai’s aging body.

He is left vulnerable on stage without the diversion of costume,
light and material distraction. Kasai makes the bold choice to
abandon what he calls the “informationalized body” for
a raw and exposed form in which he is free to draw on the
“infinite depth of the inner body.”

With this newly emancipated body, Kasai explores the highly
innovative movement of Butoh dance. A contemporary form of dance
that emerged in post-World War II Japan, Butoh is movement
unencumbered by language, tradition and constraint. It is known for
its transformations, of both body and space, mood and effect.

It is through Butoh movement that Kasai explores beyond the
external physicality of movement. He seeks to break with the
Western notion of movement that emphasizes “the body
contained within the skin.” With Butoh, he explores an Asian
sense of movement based on the “external aura of the
body.” Kasai challenges both artists and audiences to
re-evaluate movement preferences and integrate these different
approaches.

For Kasai, “Pollen Revolution” is a special piece of
work. Each performance presents a new opportunity to connect with
the audience — to redefine the environment of the piece. He
draws from the energy of viewers and allows them to influence his
work in undetectable ways. To witness this work is nothing short of
entering his subconscious while exploring your own.

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