Memories and impressions from Saburo Teshigawara's Luminous

as seen at Sadler's Wells 11. october 2003, jotted down the next day. I had watched the piece without taking notes and without any intention of writing about it. Writing this down was half an experiment to see what had left an impression on me, half an attempt at capturing a piece I found remarkable. The notes are somewhat messy and incomplete, but try to follow the chronology of the piece.

Of course these random notes in no way does the performance justice. Nevertheless writing them down helped me "process" my impressions and slowly gain new perspective and a deeper understanding of what I had seen. The performance became - for me, and perhaps intended - an exploration of what it physically means for us to have vision, and to be aware of other people's vision or gaze. This was explored through the constant experiments with light-shadow-darkness, the opaque and transparent panes, glass and walls that could capture shadows like on film, and above all through the juxtaposition of a blind dancer and those with vision. This juxtaposition made us aware of a physical self-consciousness in the seeing dancers and their relation to space.

Performance notes

Teshigawara starts, sudden in light, one arm slowly lifting. Unfolding his amazing smoothness of movement. Boxes of light, silhouettes, glasspanes, reflections. Others on stage are annoying, I only want to watch him. White, balletic lady reaches up behind glass, black actor speaks about wind.

Light comes and fades. Light towards audience through several panes in air.

Moving in boxes of light: shadow-play in line of boxes by two dancers. Shadows of four hands replicated in multiple boxes mesmerising. Teshigawara in front of four glass panes that rise to waist height. Multiple reflections. Standing for a while before walking through glass being lifted.

Black man catches glass pane on way down. I thought he was an actor but he can move too!

Row of girls charlestoning forward with spinning arms. Twofront - one back, alternating. Funny. Odd black costume.

Stewart Jackson (blind) joining, spinning. Smiling un-selfconsciously. Less articulate than Teshigawara. Uses torso mostly up/down, less twisting. Teshigawara walking forward while curtain closes - fantastic timing.


Hanging marionette turns human. No support for arms. Mask. Christ-like cross position initially. Table-like feature on stage floor. Fluorescent person on stage, leaves shadow-marks on "table" which becomes a wall. Two more fluorescent walls move through space, mutate the room. Black actor says confusing, depressing text. Odd, fluorescent costumes and limbs (feet!) appear around.Gimmicky marionette comes down. Flashes intensify, fluorescence of costume. Mabushii! (Japanese: very bright/sharp light). Last time two walls are joined in front, white dancer in front leaves shadow mark. Like Hiroshima! Negative turns positive again. Music mix and match section: dancers enter with different kinds of music, different dance style. Now line up at back, switches on floor, white lady dancing in cacaphony. Like everyday life: soundmess.

Long, gorgeous dancy section. Twos, unisons. Black actor speak about not eating oranges in moonlight, weeping money and "we are such stuff as dreams are made of".

Female solo, simple but beautiful. Breathing trio. Black man reading about sun and moon, looking for his tomb.

Teshigawara re-enters. Sudden change to classical music. Long, calm solo. Suddenly he drops everything and just walks towards us, picks up again. Occasional bursts of speed.

Stewart Jackson enters. His movement develops into a 8 or s-shaped path. Amazing sense of space. Three panes of glass standing at front of stage. Near-duets. Contrasts in articulation, expression, presentation, stems from reflection of perception. Running in circles. Finally standing, facing us, light fading.


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