Tokyo Ballet's 'Don Quixote' revels in its Russian roots

by Kris Kosaka

From its inception, the ballet “Don Quixote” has been a global collaboration. Based on an episode from the fancifully sprawling 17th-century Spanish novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes, it was originally choreographed by the Frenchman Marius Petipa, scored by Austrian composer Leon (aka Ludwig) Minkus and ...

Nagatsuka probes into Pinter's 'Betrayal'

Sep 10, 2014

Nagatsuka probes into Pinter's 'Betrayal'

by Nobuko Tanaka

“During the 2010 Tokyo run of my play ‘Anti-clockwise Wonderland,’ I held a reading workshop of ‘Betrayal.’ That set me thinking I’d like to act one of the men in the love-triangle drama. So now at last I find myself doing that — and ...

DNA eyes its Tokyo dance legacy

Sep 10, 2014

DNA eyes its Tokyo dance legacy

by Ayako Takahashi

An exciting new dance festival named Dance New Air will debut in Tokyo from Sept. 12, featuring performances, symposia, workshops and film screenings at venues in the central Aoyama district. However, the back story to DNA is less exciting, as it has been slotted ...

Bourne's 'Swan Lake' puts a dance revolution on stage

Sep 3, 2014

Bourne's 'Swan Lake' puts a dance revolution on stage

by Kris Kosaka

To the delight of the nation’s ballet fans, “Swan Lake” will shortly be gracing the Tokyo summer for two weeks — not in its traditional classical form, but in the new-classic guise of “Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake,” a revolutionary twist on ballet’s most tried-and-true ...

A dream comes true for ballet's star

Sep 3, 2014

A dream comes true for ballet's star

by Natsume Date

“I told Matthew (Bourne), ‘You probably don’t know how much I’ve waited for this day. I’ve wanted to do this work so much that I’ve almost been chasing you around’ — and now my dream’s suddenly come true, I feel like I’m floating on ...

Spreading Japanese culture, tradition through noh

Sep 3, 2014

Spreading Japanese culture, tradition through noh

Noh is one of the traditional Japanese theatrical arts and, with a history stretching back 700 years to feudal times, it is something Japan is deservedly proud of. Noh, an Intangible Cultural Heritage recognized by UNESCO, is a musical drama in which actors wear ...

Tokyo Ballet turns 50 with a glorious Gala of thanks

Aug 27, 2014

Tokyo Ballet turns 50 with a glorious Gala of thanks

by Kris Kosaka

Ahead of The Tokyo Ballet’s official 50th anniversary on Aug. 30, its website is already garlanded with tributes from international dancers and choreographers such as Sweden’s Mats Ek and Britain’s Akram Khan — and even from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. For dance fans, however, ...

Bunraku meets the Bard in new 'Sir Falstaff'

Aug 27, 2014

Bunraku meets the Bard in new 'Sir Falstaff'

by Ayako Takahashi

The type of Japanese puppetry known as ningyō-jōruri (aka bunraku) has its roots in 17th-century Osaka. Since then, though, there will rarely if ever have been a bunraku play drawn from stories written a little earlier on the other side of the world — ...

SGT's oldies take dance in stride

Aug 27, 2014

SGT's oldies take dance in stride

by Nobuko Tanaka

In 2006, when the world-renowned director Yukio Ninagawa announced open auditions for Saitama Gold Theatre — a project he launched with the slogan, “If you are over 55, let’s create theater together and go on a foreign tour” — there were cynics eager to ...

'Babel' dance speaks volumes

Aug 20, 2014

'Babel' dance speaks volumes

by Nobuko Tanaka

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet have lots in common. Both are 38 and grew up in Belgium with a foreign parent — one from Morocco in Cherkaoui’s case and one from France in Jalet’s. Both are also globetrotting choreographers and dancers who share ...

Gala time for kabuki icon Sakata Tojuro IV

Aug 20, 2014

Gala time for kabuki icon Sakata Tojuro IV

by Rei Sasaguchi

The eighth annual instalment of NHK Enterprises’ Gei-no-Shinzui (Essence of Art) summer kabuki gala, to be staged August 22 at the National Theatre in Tokyo, will star Living National Treasure Sakata Tojuro IV, one of those rare actors as famed for his portrayals of ...