The Kokoro Dancers performing in Wreck Beach July 2010

Kokoro Dance
15th Annual Wreck Beach Butoh

Dates and Venue 10 & 11 July @10.30 am & 11.15 am resp.| Foot of the #4 Trail (West of the UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Fully nude dancers clad in white makeup slowly make their way to the beach as the audience follows them. Their movements remind one of the dance steps in the Kabuki and Noh tradition. hey finally reach the water and do movements reminiscente of Esther Williams movies. The only difference: no coordination. Each one swims in individual syles.

The crowd (some audience members shed their clothes) follows them as they leave the water, moving southward on the beach, slowly, deliberately, with Tai-Chi/Kung-Fu movements. The crowd surrounds them. (Meantime, ladies carrying $5 donation boxes go around soliciting. Some give, and naturally, others don't.)

All of a sudden, there are violent movements as the dancers lie down on the sand and roll like dogs, shout and scream, then they go to sleep, wake up, continue their movements, imitating birds now, then humans, fauna and flora mix in their movements.

The music is the sound of the waves, and after an hour, the dancers slowly return to the sea, with wos and hurrahs from an applauding audience, appreciative of this performance. I'm ready for a swim myself, and I ask one of the performers as they leave the water, "How's the water?" And he answers, "Just right.".

It was indeed a beautiful warm day, and the tiring way up to Marine Drive is another long, hectic story.

Wreck Beach Butoh was first launched in 1996 by Jay Hirabayashi and Barbara Bourget – founders of the veteran butoh company, Kokoro Dance. Fifteen years later, it has become the signature piece for Kokoro Dance offering audiences and participants alike a dance experience specifically created for Wreck Beach, Canada’s first and largest clothing-optional beach.

© 2010 Ed Farolan