A Night with Three Dancers

Despite the constant state of pouring rain, I managed to drive with my friend, L, to a dance performance by three Japanese maestros in Geoks, Singapadu yesterday night. I had no idea what would be performed since it was L who arranged the whole thing and I, as ever the culture vulture, followed faithfully. After walking through a muddy alleyway, with rain strong enough to ruin shoes and hairs, we arrived at the hidden performance hall.

It was more of a school hall with the simplest seating arrangement ever. Plastic chairs and stadium wooden bench. However nobody really care. The room was packed with crowds, mostly Westerners and art community people.
The first performer was Keiin Yoshimura with the dance piece titled Yuki (Snow). There was two candles in each side of the stage, a shamisen player and the dancer, dressed in a white kimono and holding a parasol. She danced beautifully, using the parasol to convey her emotions. I felt sadness, loss, cold and a sense of nostalgia. It turns out, the dance was about a story of a geisha in the verge of becoming a nun and reminiscing over her past love. It is a “Kamigata-mai dance, pure poetry translated into dance and music within an unfolding meditative space."

Without an interlude, the stage was darken off and suddenly audience saw a white hunch-back figure on the stage. The figure stayed in the same position for a while until it started to move. The bald man wearing a crème suit and matching trouser was Yoshito Ohno, performing his piece titled Kuu (Emptiness). To tell you the truth, I didn’t quite catch the meaning of his performance. My limited knowledge on dance performances, was quite tested last night. I could see how he had an amazing contol over his muscles and movement. I could sense that he seemed to dance with an imaginary figure. He was a kid, a woman, an old man at once.

However the performance which affected me the most was by Saga Kobayashi under the title Hakuyou (Whitemelt). For me it was disconcerting at first. The dancer showed up in white dress, muddled long black hair and carrying a candle in her hand. She started to make her way into the front of the stage, half-walking and half-dragging her way. Her body language was strange, not quite a dance movement. The moderator said the piece as butoh. The program’s description of the piece said “body doing butoh, body being invaded…vacant body with nothing inside. Organs dried, trown away like a dead fly. A female fly sits at the bottom…anthena shiffering, eyes twitching.”

To me, she looks like a female ghost in Asian horror movie. I even wonder at some low point during the performance, if Sadako, the she-ghost in Japanese horror movie, Ringu, was inspired by this performance. The body twitching and stacatto movement strikes me as similar. It was not an easy performance to be watched and understood, although I think the whole experience was mystical. I didn’t feel I was sitting in a cramped hall with my butt felt half-numb by sitting on a hard bench. I felt myself transformed into another place. I could sense that this performance has a “soul” in it similar with Calonarang, a sacred dance performance in Bali.

I’m not sure I like it. It was haunting and surely something that I wouldn’t forget in quite a while but I don’t think I’d see another butoh performance in near time. It was however, an eye opener for me. A great honor for Bali, to be able to host a performance from a world reknown maestros. I felt truly priviliged to be able to see such a provocative and strong performances, despite the minimal facility and a rather hasty event preparation.

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Hello! I’m Eve Tedja

I have been a professional writer for four years.


During that time, I have worked as a permanent contributor for Let’s eat! Magazine, Hello Bali, epicure, and published my articles in several other magazines like Venture, Panorama, Bravacasa, and Bali & Beyond.


Words, sentences, stories... these are my passion. I love to take new challenges in writing for various format and media. I create contents for websites, blogs, and communication materials. I’ve also worked as a copywriter, translator, coffee book editor, social media coordinator, media consultant, and even writing for a specialty coffee packaging.


Interior design, travel, environment, culinary, culture, history, and social issues are some of the themes that I have worked with in the past. I love getting involves with individuals, companies, organizations, and communities with stories to tell.


I am available for assignment worldwide. Reach me at eve(dot)tedja(at)gmail(dot)com.

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