Malta Kano, TX Premiere
The Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater
Asia Society Texas Center
1370 Southmore Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77004
Friday, April 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM
Malta Kano, TX explores the domains of film and live dance through a unique world premiere by one of the country’s leading contemporary ballet companies, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. The program will include a screening of the dance film Malta Kano, TX, and a dance performance which will be recorded live.
Co-created by Dominic Walsh and artistic collaborator Frederique de Montblanc, Malta Kano, TX blends eastern and western influences combined with a unique soundscape by Loup Mormont. “While creating new pieces during my choreographic career I have often thought, ‘This would be a wonderful moment for film,’” says Dominic Walsh. “I shape scenes cinematically as I put together a narrative work, and have wondered before if details get lost on the stage.”
The creative venture is a thematic nod to Haruki Murakami’s equally inventive novel, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. The premiere highlights the elegant architecture of Asia Society Texas Center, which serves as a backdrop for the film.
Details About the Program
The evening is divided into two parts. First, audiences will watch a semi-complete premiere film screening of Malta Kano, TX. Next follows a dance performance by the film’s lead dancers, Domenico Luciano and Hana Sakai, which will be recorded live in the theater.
Audiences should note that cameras will be present in the theater and their likeness may be recorded from a distance during the final portion of the evening.
Tickets are $15/Asia Society Texas Center Members; $25/non-members
Available in March 2014 in person at ASTC, online at www.asiasociety.org/texas or by phone at 713.496.9901.
About the Film
Co-conceived by DWDT Artistic Director Dominic Walsh and Belgian artist Frédérique de Montblanc, this innovative dance film is set to feature Japanese ballerina Hana Sakai and Italian danseur Domenico Luciano, who last performed together in 2012’s Uzume.
Combined with a unique soundscape, the film’s story is brought together through the underlying theme of “East Meeting West,” and captures the beauty and poetry demonstrated by the integration of cultures. The new work also highlights the elegant architecture of Asia Society Texas Center, designed by Japanese master of line and grace, Yoshio Taniguchi, which serves as the film’s backdrop.
The film will premiere on screen in Asia Society Texas Center’s Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater and will be followed by a supporting “final act”—a live, on-stage performance by the film’s main characters, portrayed by Luciano and Sakai.
In addition to de Montblanc—who previously worked as set designer, video artist and co-conceiver for DWDT productions, Titus Andronicus and Firebird—the film’s creative team includes, French Director of Photography Romain Ferrand and Belgian composer Loup Mormont.
De Montblanc last collaborated with DWDT in 2009 on the creation of Walsh’s Firebird, in which Igor Stravinsky’s famous score became the soundtrack to the intimate story of a couple going through a crisis after many years of marriage.
The current project builds upon the foundation created in Firebird by furthering the company’s exploration—through space and movement—into the impact that the domestic and mundane, everyday life can have on the body and the psyche.
In part, the film is also a nod to the novel The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by highly celebrated Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The plight of the novel’s central character caught the attention of Walsh and de Montblanc who immediately saw parallels between the novel and their plans for the film.
In the Murakami tale, protagonist Toru Okada is in a state of transition between jobs, which becomes the detonator for a mind-blowing inner journey. His story seems to come about as a long and strange lucid dream. It begins in a suburban setting, but soon enough the reader’s sense of location seems to evaporate as the character begins to think of his wife as a fantasy or ghost. Within his conscious mind he creates images of her, as if he may stop loving her without these recreations.
This dream-like state was particularly evocative in terms of creating movement and imagery for Walsh and de Montblanc’s film. Through both cinematography and choreography, viewers are faced with the challenging question of presence as in the novel.
In the film, Asia Society Texas Center’s beautiful building helps to set the stage for this dream-like state. Precisely lit by Ferrand and reframed by de Montblanc, the film captures the building’s many celebrated architectural elements—including the sometimes-steamy Elkins Foundation Water Garden. The water garden is prominently featured during a scene in which the thoughts of Luciano’s character “transport” him to the terrace while he is making a cup of tea. He watches the steam rise from his tea pot and begins to daydream of dancing among the steam. The film shares his daydream with the audience as he dances a pas de deux with his wife, elegantly portrayed by Sakai, in the mist rising from the pool.
The film marks DWDT’s second collaborative effort with Asia Society Texas Center, who is generously providing support for the production. The two organizations first worked together in 2012 to bring the world premiere of Walsh’s critically praised Uzume to the stage.