Japanese choreographer dances with glass 

Putting modern dancers on a stage filled with glass may sound dangerous. But in the expert hands of local Japanese choreographer Takami and her MoBu Dance Group, the combination promises to be nothing short of magical.

Viewers can rest assured that there will be no life risking in "Illusion," onstage Friday through Sunday at Project Artaud Theater, because this is not Takami’s first performance with glass. Last year, she worked with glass artist and set designer Kana Tanaka, who created glass raindrops to sway over the dancers and reflect the light, all sans bruises or cuts.

In "Illusion," Takami again collaborates with Tanaka; this time, the dancers will perform among stalk-like glass sculptures that fill the stage. What better way to create a dramatic spectacle of optical illusion than with glass and light?

Takami uses reflections and shadows, but she says the piece is not only about physical illusions, but also human emotions. Her style of dance, which she calls MoBu, combines Western techniques of modern dance a la Martha Graham with concepts borrowed from Japanese avant-garde style, butoh.

While Takami finds that Western dance emphasizes the external and has prescribed techniques, butoh is about internal expression and discovering your own body. "It’s much deeper than just a dance to me," she says.

Takami, who has lived and performed in San Francisco since 1991, trained in jazz, ballet and even martial arts.

"Illusion" is an hour-long performance without intermission. Takami wants viewers to immerse themselves completely into the world she and her dancers create. To help them set the mood is Jorge Bachmann, whose "organic" music was composed using sounds of nature he collected and digitally rearranged.

Takami says "Illusion" explores various emotions through different scenes. But she does not expect everyone to see exactly whatshe meant through her dance. She only hopes viewers will feel something and use their imagination. After all, one man’s illusion is another man’s reality.

IF YOU GO 

 "Illusion"

Presented by: Takami & MoBu Dance Group

Where: Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 9-10; 7 p.m. Feb. 11

Tickets: $22 general, $18 for students and seniors

Contact: (415) 602-8557 or www.brownpapertickets.com

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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