Beauty, despair and forbidden knowledge
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Secrets. A flower opens at night
In the garden, secluded
She waits for the next blossoming
Evoking dark thoughts, defiling dreams
She howls in pain until the day’s ending
Seven female dancers and a flower artist in a flourishing dance piece.
Premiered in April 2005 at Moderna Dansteatern in Stockholm. On tour to:
May 3, Uppsala Stadsteater – May 5-6, Dansstationen in Malmö – May 8, Pusterviksteatern in Gothenburg.
Choreography and concept: SU-EN
Dance: SU-EN with Anna Bralkowska, Lina Palmgren
Irina Anufryieva, Annou Nilsson, Caroline Lundblad, Claudia Wittman
Floral intervention: Junichi Kakizaki (JP)
Music: Lee Berwick (UK)
Light and space design: Rosula Blanc (CH)
Costume: SU-EN and the ensemble
Hair decorations: Yusuke Uchiboro (JP)
Production: Mon no Kai/SU-EN Butoh Company
Photography: Henriette Lykke (DK)
Lay-out: Patrik Sporrong/Spoon Graphics
Thanks to Gilles Kennedy, Richard Hart and Silvestar Trevizan
Duration: ca 70 min without intermission
Supported by: Swedish Cultural Ministry, City of Uppsala – Cultural Affairs Board, Swedish Artists Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Japan people to people exchange 2005, Swedish Institute
In this piece SU-EN explores the classical Butoh aesthetic of the female body, using a strict and minimal choreography. The dancer is not personifying a human character, but is erased and transformed into a poetic nature force. The body is searching its own most distant secret, balancing on the edge of reality and poetry.
The space is a garden. In this garden, the dance embodies the complexity of being and the impermanence of things. This garden is a place somewhere in between the darkness and light. In this tension, the hidden forces will appear as the demons of the night. In the night the rebellious aspect of the human mind, the more subversive areas of the unconscious will appear. These forces, being a crucial part of our being, possess a special beauty.
The piece was inspired by ancient mythologies of female nocturnal demons. These demons would seduce men into sin. These demons have become the escape goats of the male sexual frustration and could be blamed for the shame of the men.
One of these female demons is Lilith. She was born out of the same dust as Adam. Refusing to surrender to Adam’s will, she left Eden to live in exile with her children. It is told that she later took the shape of the snake that made Eve eat from the Forbidden Fruit.
In Fragrant, Lilith appears like a force, sometimes transformed to a woman, sometimes to another living being. She dwells in her own garden, surrounded by forbidden secrets. In this garden, bodies are blooming and breathing the complexity and impermanence of life. Light turns into darkness, blooming into withering and death. The invisible becomes visible and the despair becomes beauty.
Part of the choreography includes remixes of Tatsumi Hijikata’s choreography for Yoko Ashikawa in Geisenjo no Okugata from 1976. The piece is dedicated to Yoko Ashikawa and her fantastic dance and to all women who proudly enjoy their bodies.