Saburo Teshigawara: Acclaimed dancer works with top Paris ballet company, opens studio

Saburo Teshigawara: Acclaimed dancer works with top Paris ballet company, opens studio
Saburo Teshigawara at his Karas Apparatus studio in Tokyo.

TOKYO - Internationally acclaimed contemporary dancer Saburo Teshigawara has created a new performance piece for Ballet de l'Opera in Paris running from Oct. 31 to Nov. 14 at the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris. He is the first Japanese to choreograph for the prestigious ballet company.

He has also opened a new studio, Karas Apparatus, in Tokyo's Ogikubo area to be used as a platform for sending more contemporary dance out into the world. The studio was named after Karas, his company's name.

Until Nov. 4, an event titled "Accelerating Stillness" is being given at the studio to showcase his career by displaying drawings created by Teshigawara himself and showing videos also created by him and those of dances by him and his company members.

When dancing, Teshigawara's lithe movements seem to suggest a symbiosis between his body and the light, sounds and air moving around him. He has performed his original works worldwide, which are departures from both ballet and buto.

This is his second work for the Paris ballet company since his "Air" in 2003. His new piece, titled "Darkness is Hiding Black Horses," is an about 40-minute dance incorporating male and female dancers. The company's four star dancers in two duos-Aurelie Dupont with Jeremie Belingard and Marie-Agnes Gillot with Nicolas Le Riche-will perform dancing duets in turn.

"For humans, giving and receiving are important," Teshigawara said. "This new work using a minimum number of dancers is designed to express this idea powerfully. I'll have the four dancers learn my methods as much as possible."

After opening Karas Apparatus studio, he created another new piece and performed it himself in early September at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. The work, titled "Second Fall," was conceived from a short story with the same title written by Bruno Schulz, a Polish-Jewish writer killed by the Nazis. The work focuses on the outer and inner sides of humanity and the world and things in between.

Teshigawara said he could find elements in the story that could be made into a dance in Schulz's rich, but strange, poetic language that expressed feelings of being trapped, and the harshness of his daily life.

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