Eiko and Koma create images long remembered


The art of avant-garde choreographers and performers Eiko and Koma is indelible. The stark and splendid images this pair create haunt long after the performance. Eiko and Koma's two works, "Passing" and "Night Tide," which opened this season's Dance on the Edge series last weekend at Towson State University's Stephen's Theatre, contained mythic and archetypal images guaranteed to surface in day or night dreams.

Both dances were performed with the stage transformed into a large reflecting pool. Unfortunately, due to the theater's slight rake, not everyone in the audience was able to see the couple's reflection. This was inopportune and event organizers should have ensured the audience could view the work to its best advantage.

"Passing," a piece that will eventually be part of a full evening's work, "Wind," was episodic. Its three sections created a fabulous and poetic atmosphere with the simplest props -- a long bow and a sheath of arrows. The first section was the longest -- and the visual tension between Koma, crouched close to the edge of the stage, and young Yuta Otake, silently standing mid-stride far behind him, was dramatically potent.

As Koma slowly rose to standing, and Yuta quietly exited, Eiko softly entered.

When Koma pointed his empty bow at a kneeling Eiko in the second section, threat was palpable. When Koma actually shot his arrows into the darkened space, while Eiko struck a gong, the release of dramatic tension was terrific.

In the final section, Yuta's still body was carried by Koma and deposited in the shallow water. Simultaneously abstract, yet emotionally concrete, Eiko and Koma mingle images of beauty and violence.

The closing piece, "Night Tide," evoked impressions of Henry Moore's organic sculptures as Eiko and Koma's nude bodies rested face down in the pool of water.

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