Contemporary Dance + Noh with "Left-Right-Left" at Japan Society


Noh, theater, contemporary dance, Japan Society, NYC, Japan, Yokohama Noh Theater, Luca Veggetti, Genjiro Okura


Friday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. – Followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception
Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m. – Followed by a Q&A with the artists

Japan Society – 333 E. 47th Street (between First and Second Avenues)

Admission: $35/$30 Japan Society members

Japan Society presents the North American Premiere of Left-Right-Left, a contemporary dance work with Noh music conceived, directed, and choreographed by Luca Veggetti and co-commissioned by Japan Society and Yokohama Noh Theater. As part of Japan Society’s Fall 2017-Winter 2018 Performing Arts Season, this work arrives as a featured event in the NOH-NOW series coinciding with the Society’s 110th anniversary. Left-Right-Left will have two performances in New York: Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Known for his longtime devotion to Noh theater and its significant influence on his work, Italian director and choreographer Luca Veggetti, in collaboration with esteemed Noh musician Genjiro Okura, Grand Master of the Okura School of kotsuzumi small hand drums, explores the point of intersection between Japan’s 600-year-old tradition and today’s efforts in dance in Left-Right-Left. The Japanese government recently nominated Okura, who acts as this production’s music director, for the title of Living National Treasure.

This new work, a reflection of these artists’ deeply rooted sensibilities in both East and West, is performed by three leading Japanese dancers: internationally revered butoh dancer Akira Kasai; contemporary dancer Megumi Nakamura, a former member of Nederlands Dans Theater; and butoh-trained dancer Yukio Suzuki. Noh musicians Okura (Noh small hand drum) and Rokurobyoe Fujita (Noh flute) will accompany the dancers. Child Noh actor Rinzo Nagayama will recitee passages from the traditional Noh plays Okina and Hagoromo in English, newly translated by foremost Japanese literary and noh scholar Dr. Donald Keene, Professor Emeritus of Columbia University and recipient of the Order of Culture as awarded by the Japanese government.

Left-Right-Left is a translation of the term sa-yu-sa, referring to the direction of movement on a Noh stage. The structure of the piece is inspired by the oldest Noh play/sacred ritual Okina, a three-part dance of celebration and prayer for peace and prosperity symbolizing man’s time on earth. Accordingly, Left-Right-Left is performed in three parts, each of which features a different dancer paired with musical accompaniment by two Noh musicians and text passages recited by Nagayama, with interconnecting interludes. This new work by Veggetti evokes an ancient, primitive ritual, beginning with a quiet tone, and soon gathering momentum, as if a spirit intervenes – transforming the performers as they seem to shed their own age, gender, and individual identity.

Centered around dialogue and exchange, Left-Right-Left developed through an artistic exchange which began in February 2015 when Veggetti had his first residency in Japan hosted by Yokohama Noh Theater, where he workshopped with Okura.  Before a second residency at Yokohama Noh Theater in summer 2016, Veggetti met and exchanged ideas with all three dancers who would eventually become part of the project. This production explores Eastern and Western aesthetics and art practices, as well as tradition versus innovation, by utilizing the unique and timeless stylization of Noh as a tool to express contemporary life and art. Left-Right-Left, with Lighting Design by Clifton Taylor and Costume Design by Japanese fashion designer Mitsushi Yanaihara, arrives at Japan Society directly following its September 2017 world premiere at Yokohama Noh Theater.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit Japan Society’s website or call the Box Office at 212.715.1258.


Related Event:

Noh Music Workshop with Genjiro Okura

October 14 from 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

Japan Society – 333 E. 47th Street (between First and Second Avenues)

Admission: $45/$35 Japan Society members.

Genjiro Okura, Grand Master of the Okura School of kotsuzumi (small hand drums), leads a workshop on the unique musical accompaniment found in traditional Noh theater. Using “air” drums, participants will learn typical rhythms and calls that help to narrate the rich Noh stories.  Maximum 30 participants.