Against a breathtaking set by contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, witness the explosive beauty of Sambaso, an ancient divine dance performed by kyogen masters across two generations, Japanese Living National Treasure Mansaku Nomura, and his son Mansai Nomura.
A visually stunning rendition of an age-old Shinto harvest ritual, Sambaso evokes a mythical world where the gods descend, animated by costumes and sets featuring motifs from Sugimoto’s cutting-edge photography series, Lightning Fields.
On giant swaths of fabric, lightning bolts sprout electric currents akin to complex tree root systems, connecting the dance to its ancient myths. This highly stylised dance is brought to life with the percussive rhythms of three shoulder drums (kotsuzumi), traditional Noh music and chants.
Master kyogen actors Mansaku Nomura and Mansai Nomura perform their roles with aplomb and mesmerising control. The first half, Momi no Dan, proceeds with energetic vigor reflecting the “dance of youth”; while the second half, Suzu No Dan, turns solemn as an old man appears in a black mask.
Triumphantly received at the Guggenheim Museum New York in 2013, Sambaso arrives at SIFA 2014 along with the comic kyogen play Boshibari (Tied to a Pole). Mansaku Nomura dances Sambaso on opening night 28 August while Mansai Nomura acts in Boshibari. On the closing night 29 August, the father and son will switch roles with Mansai Nomura performing Sambaso.
Featuring dance, energy and comedy, this masterful collaboration between tradition and contemporary is not to be missed.
Boshibari performed in Japanese with English surtitles. Produced by Odawara Art Foundation with support by the Mansaku-no-kai Kyogen Company and the Setagaya Public Theatre.
A Living National Treasure of Japan,Mansaku Nomura is an outstanding leader in the kyogen world and has brought new ideas to the art form.
Making his stage debut at age three, leading kyogen actor Mansai Nomura studied under his father Mansaku II and late grandfather Manzo VI, both Japan’s Living National Treasures.
This internationally-acclaimed, New York-based contemporary artist has surprised the world with discoveries of hidden beauty through his camera.