Darkness Odyssey Part 3: Non-Opera, Becoming (April 3 – 6) presented at New York Live Arts (NYLA) is Yamazaki’s latest installation. In this version, like the others, the cast is made up of a diverse group of contemporary dance artists: Jennifer Gonzalez, Kotze, Taketeru Kudo, Nishimura, Sinandja (Alain) Dakonyéme, Connor Voss and Yamazaki. For the New York Times Gia Kourlas wrote, “In his dances and in life, the choreographer Kota Yamazaki believes that a person needs to be fluid, like water…You have to keep flowing, so people of different backgrounds can have a freer exchange,” Yamazaki said. Nishimura, added with a laugh, “It’s very Japanese.” Following this, in Darkness Odyssey Part 3… Kudo, a Butoh performer embodies an animal in his movements, the Togolese Dakonyéme is remembered for his fast footwork, Gonzalez and Voss for commitment, Kotze and Nihimura their deep concentration, and Yamazaki for his sublime presence. For example, at the top, without knowing that the show officially began, Yamazaki darts into the bare space, cutting and piercing through the air; he is mesmerizing. Also, for a really long time, midway through the evening Yamazaki holds magically still against the back wall, while duet partners change and rearrange continuously downstage. Throughout the evening the others offer versions of quick or slow solos, jaws relaxed, and may mumble sounds as they move trans-like throughout the space. Every once in a while they might join and sweep through a unison duet, or share moments of discovery in their personalization of Yamazaki’s vision. But the truth is they borrow from each other, and blend into each other while holding their own individuality. And, as is Yamazaki’s intention, in each of their bodies, the possibilities seem endless.
Darkness Odyssey Part 3: Non-Opera was commissioned as part of NYLA’s Live Feed residency program. Darkness Odyssey Part 1: Expose Your Feet To The Dry Lights premiered in 2016 in Japan. Darkness Odyssey Part 2: I or Hallucination premiered in 2017 at Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) during a BAC Artist Residency with contemporary dance artists Julian Barnett, Raja Feather Kelly, Joanna Kotze and Nishimura.