Trajal Harrell – Sister or He Buried the Body

Pre premiere performance at the Santozeum

You should feel free to choose either title. A folksy traveling show with two possible titles made for diverse spaces of size and purpose, Sister or He Buried the Body is Trajal Harrell’s latest solo. This new work is the the other side of the coin if we flip his piece, The Return of La Argentina commissioned by MOMA (New York) and premiered at Paris’ Le Centre National de la Danse in 2015.The work is continually performed in museums and performance contexts around the world. With “…Argentina,” Harrell set out to vogue butoh co-founder Kazuo Ohno voguing the spanish dancer La Argentina. With this new work Harrell vogues Tatusumi Hijikata, butoh’s mastermind and other co-founder voguing his dead sister, who was the base of much butoh mythology and Hijikata’s vocabulary. Harrell also poses the “what if ‘the sister’ of Hijikata’s tale was in fact the African-American dancer-choreographer Katherine Dunham?” Dunham was recently discovered to have probably influenced Hijikata’sartistic practice and development of butoh. Beside the history, Trajal Harrell, performs a dance about ghosts haunting the dancing body and attempts to see how close he can get to the “realness” of old style butoh. Since 2013, Harrell has been dedicated to a long term research: linking butoh through the lens of voguing and early modern dance. This next edition to his body of work is both a departure into unknown territory and at once a homecoming.

Co-Commissioned by Gwangju Biennale, Aichi Triennale, MUDAM-Luxembourg, Schauspielhaus Zurich, Centre National de la Danse- Paris

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