NOTAWAY – Quest for Freedom

March 1-3, 2013

NOTAWAY – Quest for Freedom 

Notaway

Inspired by the quintessential American novel,  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain,  NOTAWAY is a complex, multilayered work blending choreography and musical compositions with improvised music and dance.

A multi-discipline project by Oguri.

Two solo dancers, Oguri and Yasunari Tamai (Japan)
with live music by Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet
trumpet/composition – Wadada Leo Smith
piano – Anthony Davis
bass – John Lindberg
drums – Pheeroan akLaff

Arial, sans-serif;”>Saturday March 2, 5:00pm/8:00pm
Arial, sans-serif;”>at the Electric Lodge
Arial, sans-serif;”>Venice CA 90291http://flower2013.brownpapertickets.com/

Body Weather Laboratory and Arcane Collective present Flower of the Season 2013. Now in its 9th year,  Flower of the Season produces outstanding dance within a deeply considered, minimal yet encompassing approach to space and theatricality. This year, the series introduces the exquisite work of Yasunari Tamai and Oguri. Music composed by Wadada Leo Smith. Live music performed by Wadada Leo Smith‘s Golden Quartet.

Oguri’s dance is not a literal retelling of Twain’s story, but takes inspiration from Twain’s treatment of universal themes. Among the most important is the journey on the Mississippi toward freedom that Huck and Jim make. “I see this quest for freedom as the essence of the book, ” Oguri says. He is also attracted to the character of Huck. “Huck himself is an intensely physical being and he improvises his way out of the problems that he and Jim encounter,  Oguri says. “As a dancer I connect with these aspects of his character. When Huck says that he will risk going to hell to free Jim, I admire Huck for his ability to make crucial decisions in the moment. He understands that we have no choice in life but to escape slavery and obtain freedom.” Twain’s masterpiece also inspired Oguri to ask Tamai to be part of the project. “There are so many important ‘twins’ in the novel,  he says. “There’s Huck and Jim, but also Huck and Tom Sawyer and even secondary characters like the Duke and Dauphin. I felt a second dancer was critical.”

Oguri asked his long time collaborator Wadada Leo Smith to compose music for the project, in part because Smith was born and grew up near the Mississippi River. Like Oguri, Smith sees the desire for freedom as a key to the novel, as well as to the dance and his music. “For me, every action we make is toward freedom, ” Smith says. “The Mississippi River, which plays such an important part in the novel, is a powerful symbol of that notion of freedom.” In addition to a newly commissioned piece, Smith and Golden Quartet will also perform several of Smith’s other compositions with a theme of freedom that Oguri has selected for the new dance work. Smith’s compositions incorporate improvisation, just as the dance does.“Improvisation is freedom in action,  Smith says. “It is the glue that holds the piece together.”

This project is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Metabolic Studio and the Electric Lodge. Produced by Body Weather Laboratory and Arcane collective.