Shall We Dance?
Saeko Ichinohe made her entrance from the back of the room, her ornate, cardinal red robe skimming down the aisle with a soft sigh. The Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company was about to begin a dance interpretation of The Tale of Genji, an ancient Japanese novel, as part of a dance demonstration and lecture sponsored by Multicultural and International Affairs in December.
The dancers utilized the entire space of the lecture hall, transporting audience members through hundreds of years of Japanese dance and music. After each dance Ichinohe and the dancers explained the story behind the movements and demonstrated the many uses of the elaborate costumes. Jeff Moen, principal dancer and choreographer, encouraged the audience to "Look for the person inside the costume, inside the flesh- look for a subtle change in the face." The facial expressions of the dancers were just as important as the costumes and the music, he explained.
Ichinohe, the company's founder and artistic director, is a graduate of Julliard and has incorporated traditional Japanese dance with contemporary Western movement since 1970.