A man stands alone, a silent silhouette on a dark stage. An electronic screech slices through the air and a brilliant shower of light erupts from the darkness, fuelled by the cacophony of sonic sound. Sound and sight sync as the man moves with the beat and starry swirls of colour rip across the stage, showering him with what seems like all the rhythmic haphazards of the universe. The man has become part of a new spectrum of time and space, one where dance transcends the physicality of the human body, a powerful pervasion of the senses.
This unique spectacle – a two-piece dance, sound and light show entitled Haptic and Holistic Strata – is the work of Hiroaki Umeda, a celebrated choreographer, dancer, sound, image and lighting designer. The Tokyo-based multi-disciplinary artist has illuminated audiences across the globe and his latest show is set to tour North American hotspots, including New York City, Toronto and Calgary this year.
“I focused on creating movements in image, sound and the human body, and tried to create a space as if all layers of movement make one whole movement,” Umeda explains.
“The theme of this dance piece is light touching the eyes,” Umeda says. “For humans, seeing is to perceive stimulation of light with the eye. So, seeing dance can be also said as seeing the light. From there, I started to think that I wanted to transmit the dance to people as light with colour, to introduce a variety of stimulants to the eyes.”
Umeda’s philosophy that “dance is a tool to realize art” has propelled him to tackle increasingly complex installation pieces that integrate a multitude of platforms to evoke the senses.
His next big project is an “audio visual project performance without dance,” but he said “making a dance piece without the human body” still remains to be his greatest challenge.
Umeda will be performing Haptic and Holistic Strata at the Theatre Junction GRAND in Calgary January 16-19. The show will be complemented with two special events, a celebration of the creative arts of Japan with Ubu restaurant Jan. 16 and a “Future Music” party with Calgary’s best DJs Jan. 18 after the show.
By Anna Brooks