The performance combined dance and painting to tell the stories of the Cambodian people. The stories, performed by an older Japanese couple, Eiko and Koma, and by a younger Cambodian pair, Charian and Peace, spoke on themes both universal, like love and old age, and also Cambodian, the sufferings under the Khmer Rouge and its legacy.
Each of the huge canvases, forming the backdrop to the open-air performance, depicted a stylized Cambodian woman with one hand raised, fingers arrested in a dance movement. The performance began with the four dancers painting one such canvas laid on the sandy ground of the church cemetery. During the performance, the dancers moved so slowly and yet so expressively that their movements seemed to aspire to the condition of painting.
I thought Koma was a particularly charismatic performer. Of the Cambodian teenagers, Charian showed such masterful control over his body that his dancing became, not gestural, but muscular.
Cambodian Stories Revisited
An Offering of Painting and Dance
Conceived and Directed by Eiko & Koma
Lighting Design by Tim Cryan with Eiko & Koma
Art works created by the Reyum Painting Collective
Music Direction by Sam-Ang Sam
Technical Direction by Tim Cryan
presented by Danspace project, in association with Asia Society
St. Mark's Church East Yard
131 East 10th Steet, New York, NY 10003