Treaders in the Snow
review by Lori Ortiz
On this hottest day of summer the cool fjords of
Actually, Seraphita, played by Mana Hashimoto, is only enamored of God. Always looking heavenward, this spiritual and hermetic role seems made for the dancer, 5 years blind. In her stony absorption, she is resigned but also kind. Seraphita has suffered from an unspecified illness that advanced with the effort of being Seraphita; the ailment also perhaps necessitated a hermetic existence. Her light burns dim. She lies in the small mound of her black cloak. Then disrobed by her two friends pulling on the sleeves, she joins the earthly creatures for a time in white. Onishi tempts, spinning the curved lines of the material and female world, but Seraphita, lifted upward by her own extended arm, is in seeming correspondence with the heavens.
Low toiling movements seem divinely derived, and/or aquired from Graham training. Eiko of the performance pair Eiko and Koma, identified their own low-to-the-ground movements as possible vestiges of village rice patty farming. With faster circular arm swings the tempo picks up and movements become more forceful. Hashimoto sets the rhythmic and repeating gestures in motion from her singular world. Finally Onishi and Shikano lie in exhaustion. At the sight of Seraphita 's assumption, they sit up and look on together. The troupe takes on Balzac's picturesque cult novella. His Norwegian villagers pore over volumes of Swedenborg's theosophy during a long icy winter. Through the tale, Balzac may have sought respite from Parisian life. Similarly, the Japanese-American Treaders, in this 2001 dance, aim for nothing less than the spiritual healing of war torn cities.