The latest piece by acclaimed Nelson dancer-choreographer-storyteller Hiromoto Ida is Birthday Present for Myself, a remarkable hybrid of dance and theatre that also features vocalist Allison Girvan, Jeff Faragher on cello, Nicola Everton clarinet, Martine denBok violin and viola and Golden’s own Sue Gould playing the Civic Centre’s grand piano. Despite the whimsical title, Birthday confronts issues of aging and mortality – albeit in a poetical and ultimately uplifting manner.
Inspired by a lengthy visit from Ida’s own elderly mother, the piece centres on the “perfect birthday” and what will be the last day of an old man’s life, with the scene set in his courtyard garden. Between a combination of theatre-like dialogue, the old man’s solo dance – informed by the techniques of Japanese Noh Theatre – and evocative music by contemporary Russian composer Pavel Karmanov, Birthday will move beyond ideas of grief and sadness into a deeper awareness of the stages of life and the inevitability of death.
The setting, a peaceful Zen garden, reinforces the concept of cycles and renewal; and the combination of traditional Noh Theatre with modern dance expresses the old man’s character and inner world with poignant effectiveness. “I see western culture giving messages of aging and getting old as being a negative element of one’s life,” says Ida, whose experience of growing up with his grandparents in Japan remains an inspiring memory for him. “Even when I was small I could feel something special about them.”
Hiromoto Ida received a Major Arts funding Award from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance to create and present Birthday Present for Myself and the performance will premier at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson before coming to Golden a week later. KHC is very proud to support this adventurous creation from these esteemed Kootenay artists.
DANCING ZEBRA CONSTRUCTION
FAIRLY & SCOTT
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