A human being is a beautiful, natural creation. Join University alums Jason Roebke and Ayako Kato as they embrace the totality of artistic expression and the beauty of the human body in Art Union Humanscape. This music and dance duo will perform at the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor.

Paul Wong
Artists Jason Roebke and Ayako Kato enjoy making music with dead people.<br><br>Courtesy of Jason Roebke

Art Union Humanscape actively seeks to explore the art of collaboration. Rather than simply combining the art of dance and music, the performers aim to exchange ideas about art in general. Roebke and Kato exploit their personal differences while they create their performances exclusively through rehearsals. With their work, they aim to subtly address daily life issues and speak to a contemporary audience. The artists claim that they do not seek the extraordinary. Kato said, “What we call ordinary in daily life is already extraordinary and beautiful when we recognize that each phenomenon happens only once in a lifetime.”

One essential message in their work is to cherish the experience and process of “being.” Kato”s work encourages people to explore the nature within themselves while simultaneously exploring the nature within the universe.

To emphasize the existence of a human being as a part of a natural creation, their work combines the essence of Japanese traditional arts, Western dance and contemporary music within a modern perspective. Through dance, Kato demonstrates what the human body has in common with things in the natural world. Significantly, Art Union Humanscape explores the dynamic relationship between music and movement. “Music and movement can never be separated. It”s impossible,” said Roebke.

Art Union Humanscape was co-founded in 1999 by Roebke and Kato, and is based in Tokyo. Since its 1999 creation, the artists have performed on over 20 occasions throughout Toyko and Japan. The duo has performed in many untraditional venues including metal cages, ravine tunnels, Chinese kilns and in an office tower lobby.

Jason Roebke is a double bassist and a composer currently living in Chicago. A prominent musician, he uses a sonic and physical language that incorporates movement, sound, and silence. Ayako Kato is a dancer and choreographer who founded the Dance No Mori Company in Japan. She has been one of the most profound and active figures in the Tokyo dance community. In Japan, she performs, choreographs, and rigorously trains herself in contemporary dance, classical ballet, butoh, and Noh. Kato graduated in 1998, from the Master of Fine Arts program in Dance at the University. These alumni have chose to return to Ann Arbor in order to show their former community the progress they have achieved in their fields.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *