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Review of gTranSensesh
(April. 2017@Tangentefs dance program VIRTUALLY, IN THE FLESH in Montreal)

1) Sors-tu? CA/CRITIQUE PUBLIEL 1st. May. 2017

written by MeLlanie Vibrac

Transenses and their universe, our universe?
After this moment, as absurd as it was pleasant, and after the performer (Lucy M. May) emerged from the corridor to cross the coffee bar in the Wilder Building, we entered the grand hall to "embark on a metaphysical journey of a body in conversation with the universe" (program) with Akiko Kitamura and Navid Navab in their TranSenses.
A solo dancer begins by undulating her chest in reaction to the electroacoustic music and then transforms by giving life to her shadow, moving this time in interaction with the projections on the ground.
There is a perfect fusion of the body, music and projected visuals, traveling from an aquatic universe full of poetry to that of an anguishing black hole, going through a fierce fight between a tamer and his lion, or a fight with oneself.
A three-dimensional reality then takes shape while continuously metamorphosing into a perfect continuity, despite some technical concerns\a reality that finally turns out to be the reality we experience every day by reacting to slightest sounds and slightest visual solicitations.

2)Les . 30. April. 2017

s ReLsonances virtuelles t : le co^teL trash de la technologie
written by Nathan Giroux

The first part of the show
We all went into the hall where the duo Akiko Kitamura and Navid Nabab presented TranSenses. I almost did not enter because I had lost my ticket while moving.

TranSenses | Akiko Kitamura and Navid Navab
Imagine a large stage with a solo dancer in the center, electroacoustic music that reacts in real time to the movements, and an interactive video projection across the floor. The three mediums were merged from the beginning to the end.
It was very convincing, especially the sound design, to talk about what I know. It was always proportional to the acceleration of the body in a kind of sound/movement feedback. We were treated to wind, water, repeating bass, and whispers in perpetual evanescence.
Sometimes the artist danced on a carpet of shooting stars, another time the artist was absorbed by a black hole before ending up in a surreal aquatic world. At another time, straight lines were projected onto the dancer to make the topography of her body.

I do not know enough about dance to speak technically, but my colleague who studies it told me at the intermission:

gIt looks like a study of impacted movements versus impulsive movements. "

3) Sur les pas du spectateur@30. April. 2017

gSur mes pas en danse: des "ReLsonances virtuelles" toutes aussi reLelles que deLroutantesh writer by Robert St.

After a successful start to the evening, we are invited to take a seat in the hall to attend "TranSenses" by Navid Navab and Akiko Kitamura, with the latter as the dancer. Captivated, would be the appropriate adjective to describe me throughout the presentation which, according to the leaflet, "Transcends an aesthetic and try to make palpable the imperceptible." From this body that communicated with its virtual environment to produce very successful visual and sound projections, I remained completely captive. The gestures were beautiful and amplified by the sensors that reverberated on the stage. I must confess that with this dancer, I would have accepted to go to the confines of the universe. And she left us without returning to be applauded, like a virtual being. "Magic!"



Review of “To Belong”

Dance Magazine (Shinshokan January 2015)
“Achieving supreme goal”
by Tatsuro Ishii, “Dance New Air 2014 - the dance of tomorrow”

In the past twenty years of the Japanese contemporary dance scene, collaborations with overseas artists have become quite common, but has it ever shown the depth and aptitude as this To Belong? The songs from Indonesia and traditional expression using the body merge with its contemporary Japanese counterparts in an effortless manner, creating an atmosphere defined as “Asian.” Yet it does not play upon the stereotypical “oriental” image, but rather diversify this imagery that is defined as oriental. This piece achieves to reach the supreme goal of what contemporary dance has been aiming for.

Performing 'To Belong / Suwung' : Body Dialogue
by Is Mujiarso – detikhot
Wednesday, 17/12/2014 11:40 pm

In 2011, the renowned Japanese choreographer who already established an international reputation, Akiko Kitamura, came to Indonesia for a creative exploration. She was looking for what she describes as “the Asian body in contemporary dance.” She visited Solo and Yogyakarta, and met with unique artists who based their work on the traditional art form also to transcend to others, which enabled her to bring art on cross-disciplinary interaction. In Solo, she was fascinated by Ki Slamet Gundono who was experimenting with his own puppets. She was also fascinated by Endah Laras, a versatile singer with a very strong foundation on tradition. In Yogyakarta, she 'fell in love' with Mohamad Marzuki and Kill the DJ who successfully merged hip-hop with tradition and philosophy of Java .

The meetings inspired her to initiate a collaborative work that combines all the elements that interested her. She also invited Yudi Ahmad Tajudin, the artistic director of Theatre Garage in order to bridge the two cultures. The result is a dance-theater entitled To Belong / Suwung. This work was first staged in Nagano, Japan in November 2013. Then in March 2014 it was presented again in Singapore, and finally returned to Japan to the international dance festival “Dance New Wave” in Tokyo in October 2014.@

Towards the end of this year, the art enthusiasts in Indonesia finally had the opportunity to witness this special show. This was an occasion that could not be passed because originally there were no plans to stage To Belong / Suwung in Indonesia. Luckily Akiko Kitamura was in Jakarta for the staging of the opera-theater-dance Gandhari (Theatre Jakarta, December 12 & 13) which was also directed by Yudi Ahmad Tajudin and involved the dancers in To Belong / Suwung. There are 3 Indonesian dancers (Danang Pamungkas, Rianto and Lulu Ari Prasetyo) and 3 Japanese dancers (Kana Ote, Yuki Nishiyama and Llon Kawai.) So all the important figures to stage To Belong / Suwung for the public of Jakarta came together.@

To Belong / Suwung is a rich display of the arts. The curtains maximised the minimal stage serving also as multimedia screens. The main screen opens with the video of Slamet Gundono singing with his trademark style: an ukulele and the Banyumasan dialect. Then with the same small guitar carried around her neck, Endah Laras appears. Her song accompanies the dancers who appear one by one on stage. In the beginning the three Japanese dancers and the three dancers from Solo and Jogja move in contrast as to emphasise their differences. They are trying to communicate and seek a common understanding. Keeping their distance with each other, but at moments coming to contact and surprising the other, until gradually the six bodies become united in various complementary motions. Japanese martial arts action captured by Indonesian martial arts, combined with the traditional dance of two cultures, creates a sort of conversation without words that is dynamic and full of energy.

Music produced by Yasuhiro Morinaga combine diverse field recordings, including recording of Slamet Gundono’s voice and hip-hop songs by Javanese Mohamad Marzuki. There was a moment when Slamet's voice fills the empty spaces between the dancing bodies: the puppeteer tells the struggle of the gigantic stature with a drop of dew on the tip of the leaf that he could never drink, and his frustration and feeling small and helpless in the face of this drop of dew. Then the sound of Slamet’s chant connects to Marzuki’s lyrics that describes the body connected to the soul “that has not lost its holiness.” The transition from Slamet to Marzuki is so smooth, and all the elements come together, gestures, songs, visual graphics and animations.

In such a union, without the specific role and relation to one another, it felt that Slamet Gundono was an important foundation and an irreplaceable figure. Unfortunately during the process of creation, Slamet died in early 2013. The work is unique and this wonderful collaboration is owed ??to him, so that the performance in Indonesia particularly had an important meaning. And the good news apart from the two days of presentation in Jakarta, To Belong / Suwung will "return" to Solo, the place of its origin where this collaboration began. In Jakarta the show was held at the Goethe Institute and still can be seen for free on Wednesday (Dec 17) at 20:00 pm tonight. In Solo, To Belong / Suwung will be presented at the Theatre of the ISI this Saturday evening, December 20.

This is the last work that Gundono Slamet was involved in the world of international performing arts. In this work, the last song he created before his death plays an important part and has never been played before in Indonesia. Therefore it is appropriate that when staging To Belong / late artist for all his contributions to the arts in Indonesia and all over the world.


~ To Belong Reviews of Jakarta Performances~

Sjafial Arifin in Sindo Weekly, 9th May, 2012


2010 Collaboration with Art Zoyd (France)

Review of "KAIRO"
2010 Collaboration with Art Zoyd (France), Cahiers du cinéma/JANVIER 2010

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Akiko Kitamura & Leni-Basso

gThe characteristic quality of Ms Kitamurafs work is not to show dance that is dependent on the body on the box set. Rather, she aims to clear away the difference between the stage and audience, fill the space with sounds, lighting and images, and create something in which dance mixes with other elements. Her work that sets directions on all five senses shows a trend in todayfs society where the boundaries of arts are becoming ambiguous and the definition of dance is being rewritten.h
| Dance Magazine, Japan

Ghostly Round

Perfect Chaos Leni-Basso was already a hot group of the world when they presented its gorgeous piece called gFinksh. gGhostly Roundh , the new piece recently premiered was a co-production with HKW. It boldly shows a clear distinction from Butoh movement, however it could never have been achieved without it.
The audience may just yield him/herself to a whirl of the intricate movement. Though, not all of the audience was ready to do this. The relationship between coexistence and conflict, apathy and approach, enforcement and freedom which the performers like ghosts play out on stage can be related with to the entire world. If you see the piece this way, you can say that Leni-Basso is ideally introducing the theme of this festival. It is not easy but itfs no wonder. The world is never easy.
| Berliner Morgen Post, Germany

In Tangled Ritual gGhostly Roundh is like daydream or meditation. In previous works, Akiko Kitamura prepared almost excessive number of equipments and played in a virtual world. The body was asserting its presence against the world, but was taken into the world and disappeared. Because of these previous pieces, Kitamura was described as a follower of the legendary performance group, dumb type when she presented her piece in Berlin for the first time. In gGhostly Roundh, surprising technique is entirely eliminate. Instead, the piece became quiet and profound and shows essence of dance. This piece is based on imagination of how dance can foil social discipline, code or ceremony and make it powerless. Kitamurafs dance fantasy is generally presented in an abstract tone. In this tense relationship between discipline and chaos, they play with invisible elements of dance. gDance is something like parasiteh like Kitamura says.
| BerlinerZeitung, Germany

Machine Dance in a Trance It was a dance in a big city. Leni-Basso, a dance company from Tokyo presenting its piece gGhostly Roundh seemed to be infected with an almost uncontrollable dance virus. Dancers in white costume appears on a half-round stage. They put their hands on their lower abdomen as if they were trying to be conscious of the source of power. Then suddenly the dancers are seized with an impulse to dance. They sometimes transform into impatient robots. gGhostly Roundh goes back and forth between suppression and expression. Akiko Kitamura, the choreographer announces the contradictions in Japanese society through body. It gave us an impression of looking into inside of a machine.
| Targesspiegel, Germany

A perfect balance between dancers, images and sounds Like they did in Julidans 2001, the group from Tokyo, Leni-Basso, surprises us with a performance in which dance and multimedia keep each other in perfect balance, embodying a central idea with great consistency.
| Volkskrant, The NetherlandsFinks

Integrated Multimedia Performance gFinksh is an exciting experience performed by virtuous dancers leaving a sense of light numbness in body and mind. We might have an idea of Japan as a high technology multimedia society and Leni-Basso is really showing us this during their performance with light, sound, movement in a complex and kinetic performance, video cameras, new, old images projecting our present time, Anime, martial arts, soft fighting scenes. The dancers achieve to make the impossible.
| Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden

A complete bombardment of the senses
-The Malay Mail

They got rhythm, they got music. Who could ask for anything more? Audience reactions ranged from admiration to fascination.
- The McGill Dairy, Canada

gAkiko Kitamura, who leads the Leni-Basso company, was at her best when she stylized martial arts into dramatic encounters. Ms. Kitamura has more to say in her idiom than in her video images in "dred: hyperbolic zone", despite images of trains and cities that speak of alienation. As instructions for martial arts are heard on tape or seen on a screen, the dancers amazingly remain close to elbows and arms that swipe repeatedly at their faces. The idiom is fluid, transformed remarkably into something different from its origins. It was also clear that experimental dance in Japan no longer looks like a copy of Merce Cunningham's work or the homegrown expressive genre known as Butoh. g
| New York Times, USA

A True Masterpiece is Born! gIt is amazing that Leni-Bassofs eFinksf maintains the high tension until the very end. Involving audience in the fictional world with a story and suspend their tension is not difficult. Akiko Kitamura, however, does not do such a tasteless thing. She chooses a modern technique: rejection of audiencefs assimilation to the stage or emotional involvement. It is extremely difficult to maintain their keen interest and breathtaking tension in this way. Ms Kitamura has developed her own style to explore the possibility. eFinksf is the completed form of this effort.
While ordinary dance is choreographed with beautiful poses and flowing movements, elements of Ms KitamuraÕs dance are preparedness to move and terminated movements. The preparedness brings out tension with expectation of move, and termination creates tension by blocked expectation. Of course, if unskilled dancers do this trick, it is simply boring.
The level of dancers of Leni-Basso is extremely high. They create dance by simple movements at varied paces. The image, lighting and sound technicians meet Ms Kitamurafs needs and maintain high levels, too. Attention is paid to eliminate unnecessary feelings and emotions on the stage. Colors and melodies are avoided, too. Space and time are laid out by contrast between light and darkness, and sound and silence. When dancers cross the space, they walk either vertically or horizontally, or aslant at the angle of 45 degrees. The finely polished performance, which eliminates sentiment and pleasure, radiates the tension as if the audience were watching a performance that has no second chance. A true masterpiece is born.h
| Dance Magazine, Japan

gThe piece by choreographer Akiko Kitamura, head of the Leni-Basso company, left a strong impression, although it failed to win a prize. Her new piece "Finks"(performed as "hyperbola") explores communication between individuals and the state of society. The meaning and unreliability of communication as cornerstones of this system are depicted in a visually exciting style. The piece plays with the model of hyperbole and traces the movement in the avoidance of asymptotes. Before the backdrop of the hyperbolic figure that implies yet does not allow the two to touch, dancers perform combative, martial arts-like movements. The figures of the electronic diagram on the screen and those of the dancers are analogous from the beginning. In the last scene, the harmony finally falls apart due to the tension of the precarious balancing act between mathematics and the body. The trajectory tails off into eternity and the erupting chaos comes across like a criticism of the present. The subtle choreography and the arrangement veer into their opposite. The tension required in order for a real conflict to evolve is absent. But nonetheless, this is a piece that showcases Kitamura's talent perfectly.h
- Ballet Tanz Actual, Germany

gThe scenography of the performance consists of a giant screen on which elements from the performance itself alternate with various video sequences. Akiko Kitamura, the choreographer, states that the performance centres on the kind of communication that is created through the absence of communication. The performance develops out of a sense of consistent imbalance - between stability and instability and between order and chaos. The dancers take the audience on an intoxicating journey towards the unknown.....h
- Aarhus Stiftstidende, Denmark


" Finks" from choreographer and dancer Akiko Kitamura stimulates the fantasy fortunately more. With 6 dancers, 4 cameras, light and video artist who samples on the spot, live recordings (of the space and dancers) and non-live recordings (of graphic forms, letters, and old-fashioned cracked bawling image ), she manages to create a fascinating, un-graspable world. Black, white and gray tinges dominate. The floor as well as back wall is continuously divided into squares of light. The reality of the here and now and the reality of the video, sometimes beautifully fall together. Thanks to a stylized lighting, the dancers dance in the projections passing by their own silhouettes. The projected live recordings are very recognizable: they are the suspension of what we see just before on the floor. After a little squarely walking around, the dancers come one by one, gradually together, and the choreography becomes more structured. First there are still short solo's next to two measures-tapes. Then, careful partner work begins, while meaningful words, like 'escape', 'wait', and 'accept', are passing over the screen. Everybody goes in the end, rather unnoticed, up in a constant cadence, flowing but with movements with full of contrast. Only fragments of super-swinging techno (by Keigo Emura) let to hear through the piece, like bubbling up temptation, is typical for Finks: hip, but with a character of its own.h
- Volkskrant, The Netherlands

Slowly, Slow for Drive

eSlowly, Slow for Drivef succeeds in intensifying dance by manipulation of lighting and images. The solo and group dances are explosive---full of offbeat groovy feelings, which are accelerated by skillfully mismatched harmony of the centers of movements and rhythm. The audiences can feel even the joy of the dancers.h | Dance Magazine, JapanThree Temptations
Fascinating Polyphony of Various Sounds Resonance gIt was refreshing to see immovability in a dance performance, which, in general, celebrates physical flexibility of trained dancers.@What was more, when dancers of outstanding capabilities danced such movements, the deformed forms due to lack of free movements shone out beautifully. Especially when the powerful male dancer expressed the deformation, the tension rose.
Until now, I tended to be drawn to Ms Kitamurafs excellent, flexible dance. This time, however, what I found most charming was the tasteful mixture of the various characters of the dancers, which had polyphonic resonance.h
- Monthly Ballet, Japan


gI felt outstanding power in Leni-BassoÕs ebittersidewinderf, in which expression exists exactly where it is about to hurt itself. It aims to clear away the gap between the stage and the audience, to fill the space with sound, light and image, and to mix dance with other elements. Ms Kitamurafs work sets direction on all five senses, which seems to be one of the trends of the modern society where boundaries of arts are becoming unclear and the definition of dance is about to be redefined.h
| Monthly Teatro, Japan

gI think Leni-Basso's work, ebittersidewinderf is rare in Japan for dance that explores stylishness. As far as the company is concerned, there is no need of ideas. Akiko Kitamura has her own unique dance world where foreign substances like themes are all eliminated while dance elements are developed to interact with lighting and music. And that is the reason why I highly rate this company.h
| Shimokitazawa Tsushin, Japan


gWhen the two performers sat on chairs, an interviewerfs voice was heard from nowhere asking, eIntroduce yourselff, eWhat is your favorite food? e and so on. Instead of a reply, they hit the panel on the table, which gave mismatched responses like eWelle and eHelloe. The incoherent conversations from the panels gradually changed into electric piano sounds. As the action of hitting the panels was shifted to performing music, Ms Kitamuraes movements became dance. She stretched her left arm to the right while her right arm moved under the left arm. The movement of her hitting the keys and its track were beautiful. Making sounds happily to rhythm was dance. When Ms Kitamura got up from the chair to dance, it could be summed up in a single word: brilliant. Based on the linear motion between left and right, she danced sharply, agilely and precisely like a razor blade. Sometimes her dance had a very short break like blurring as if a film were caught on something. She struck poses with feints to play with directions and angles and held them exquisitely.h
| Monthly Ballet, Japan

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