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Yasuko Yokoshi: East meets West

Yasuko Yokoshi's Tyler Tyler
Yasuko Yokoshi's Tyler Tyler
By Shigeo Kobayashi

Yasuko Yokoshi, a dancer-choreographer born in Hiroshima but based in New York City for almost 20 years, brings to Chicago a cross-cultural reimagining of Tale of the Heike, a Japanese epic that recounts the exploits of clashing Samurai clans in the 12th century. Renamed Tyler Tyler, her performance piece threads together Western post-modern styles with Kabuki Su-Odori, a stripped-down form of Kabuki minus the elaborate facial makeup and exaggerated gestures. The meditative work runs Oct. 28-30 at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.

Interestingly, Eastern and Western dancers swap roles. In one part, a Japanese dancer in a kimono plucks the keys of a toy piano as he sings The Carpenters’ Yesterday Once More. Simultaneously, a woman in a long pioneer skirt flings her body around. Recurring sounds of screeching birds and the dancers’ ever-present paper fans seem to signify the notion of history repeating itself – an idea most notable in the slow morphing of a kimono-clad warrior into a Victorian lady and then a cowboy. Tyler Tyler offers an abstract discourse on the rise and fall of empires. Furthermore, Yasuko Yokoshi explores in fresh and thoughtful ways the Buddhist principle of impermanence…the philosophy that nothing lasts forever.

Tyler Tyler will be performed Oct. 28-30 at 8 p.m. at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Tickets: $26-$30. Call 312-369-8330 or visit www.colum.edu/dancecenter.

Also playing...

Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba performs Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy. The all-female, Havana-based ensemble fluidly merges tango, flamenco, ballet, modern dance, and Afro-Cuban rhythms. Tickets: $30-$69. Call 800-982-2787 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

Bril Barrett, artistic director of M.A.D.D. Rhythms, hosts the sixth annual Chicago Tap Summit Oct. 29-31 -- a series of master classes taught by top tap artists from across the country. The program culminates in a concert, titled TAP!, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Drive. Tickets: $20. Call 773-604-1899 or visit www.maddrhythms.com.

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