Turn down an alley called Suzuran (meaning “Lily Bell”) in residential Ogikubo just west of Shinjuku Station in central Tokyo and you’ll find APPARATUS, the studio of the world’s leading contemporary dancer and choreographer, Saburo Teshigawara.
Opened in July 2013 as the creative hub for Teshigawara’s dance company KARAS (which means “crow”), the studio is home to a permanent exhibition of the company’s artistic posters and stage photos, and is open year-round for dance workshops and lessons, and for screenings of videos of the troupe’s performances.
In addition, a precious but well-kept secret of APPARATUS is that people can go along and, at a very reasonable price, witness early takes of Teshigawara’s latest work-in-progress in what the company calls its “Update Dance Series” that features new programs almost every month.
Although these live pieces are usually performed without any stage sets or colorful costumes, they offer exciting — and often amusing — gems of insight into the core imagination Teshigawara imparts into his aesthetic works.
After further updating, some of these pieces become longer programs for bigger theatres, while others may blend into different works.
Now, in what will be the 46th instalment of the “Update Dance Series,” Teshigawara and his dance partner Rihoko Sato are set to tackle Igor Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka” from 1911 — one of the great Russian’s musician’s three major compositions for ballet.
Intriguingly, Teshigawara commented recently, saying that in his new, 60-minute work he aims to express the loneliness of the human condition through his interpretation of that lovestruck puppet — and also the cruelty of people in general.
“Petrouchka” runs June 15–23 at APPARATUS, a 3-minute walk from the West Exit of JR Ogikubo Station. For more details, visit www.st-karas.com.