Ikutani SAN

A long time ago in Japan, everything turned to darkness as the goddess of sunlight hid herself in a cave.

Her name was AMATERASU, she had a brother and a sister. Her parents were the creators of all things on the earth. After the father gave birth to his children, he passed on the torch to his offspring. The brother SUSANOO was a problematic child, instead of acting as a noble deity, he rampaged the land of his sister “AMATERASU” and deeply disappointed her. She hid in the cave, all source of light disappeared and the earth plunged into an eternal night. As all Gods gathered to find a solution, a goddess named AMANOUZUME arrived and danced in front of the cave, driven by a sensual craziness, she broke all the gods to laughter. AMATERASU who hid in the cave, did not understand why everyone could be so happy without the light of the sun. She came out to see what was happening and the sunlight shone again.

The dance is called “KAGURA”. Ichi Go stages the KAGURA as “Comtemporary Dance”.

Act I- Susanoo
Keywords: Grief, desire for recognition, misery and madness, full moon, deep black sea, vortex, brutality, hopelessness, no prospect of salvation.

The loneliness of SUSANOO, god of the seas, resonnates in Ichi Go’s personal experience.
The God went berserk, he has scattered his excrement into the sacred shrine, pulled off the skin of a horse and thrown it at his sister AMATERASU. The reason for this childish act was the hurting longing for his mother IZANAMI. He was expelled from heaven and then became a hero in the human world.
When Ichi Go moved from Japan to a foreign country, only then was she recognized as a dancer and was she able to find her identity, her own path. Therefore, she feels especially close to the mythical figure.
Ichi Go mauled and sprayed raw fish, a symbol of death, to represent the anger of SUSANAOO. Although SUSANOO is a god, he feels suffering, pressure, loneliness and abandonment like normal people do. This is how the outburst of rage occurred.
The music, an interpretation of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, represents Susanoo’s sad inner state.
Already here the audience can feel the discrepancy between classical content and modern low fi form of electronica music, between eastern myth and western interpretation.

Act II- Amaterasu
Keywords: straight lines / charisma / inspiration / serenity / mourning / new moon / white and silver.

The sister of SUSANOO, AMATERASU, is the goddess of sunlight and deeply disappointed by her brother. She is the highest goddess, but she is also persecuted. She supported her brother to the end, but she did not succeed and so she hid in a cave as self-punishment. She is disappointed with herself and withdraws inwardly.
AMATERASU’s injury is depicted with dance and projection. Ichi Go, the dancer, walks slowly into fences, which are projected, and inside she becomes more and more imprisoned. For this purpose, lines projected directly on stage are slowly spreading out of her body. This process expresses grief and inner injury.
The music here describes the sadness of the goddess as well as the sadness of the people, darker and darker, lonelier and lonelier, isolated. The cold, fragile melody disintegrates step by step, only the white noise of the noise generator remains, a lifeless humming.

Act III- Ama No Uzume
Keywords: Liberation / Curve / Seduction and Fascination / Humor and Laughter / Colorful / Obsession / Orange Red / Daybreak / Affirmative / Turn of Thought / S-Curve

At the beginning of the third act, once again drawn images are shown on the canvas. These are drawn in black and white, the pictures are moving slowly from top to bottom, from right to left. Although this scene is supposed to be the end of the world, the comic-like drawings changes the mood, shifting to humour. Meanwhile we can hear kitschy cries from toy dolls and from the musicians, which also brings this sad scene to the humorous level.
AMA NO UZUME, another goddess, marks the turning point. She has the fascinating gift of turning difficult situations into happy scenery. AMA NO UZUME turned a bucket over and stepped onto it. She danced on the bucket and kicked it, rang the bell. According to the personal interpretation of Ichi Go, she dances herself sacrificially and wildly to fascinate all the gods. However, she never exceeds the highest goddess AMATERASU. Her task was, like a moon, to reflect the sunlight. As if she herself were the sunlight reflected by the moon. The Gods are full of melancholy, seeing the reflected but not the true sunlight. AMA NO UZUME is possessed by the goddess of sunlight, the light is sparkling out of herself, an act of seductive beauty. This KAGURA dance contains obsession, but also tolerance, joy and swing. But AMA NO UZUME´s dance contains even more elements than a plain show: it has driven away the serious crisis with momentum, wrapped everything around and concentrated all energies together.
To obtain such a result, one needs a lot of energy, skill, personality and empathy. The possession of God presupposes a responsibility for the body. Possession must be brought under control. KAGURA-dance therefore only succeeds if the dancer understands her own body as a delimited vessel which can receive and transmit energy. If one looks back in history, the KAGURA dance has no form. There are some rules, for example sound or turns. But only by imitating these forms one cannot dance a KAGURA.
In the past, people in Japan believed that sound has a function of purification. Sound has energy. Ichi Go wants to find again this power of shamanism and animism, which existed before the foundation of Shinto (Japanese religion). That’s why the dancer refuses to follow the rules of the traditional forms, but search for the fundamental meaning and the very roots of it. Its a challenge for the body.
In this final scene, many different musical styles, instruments, influences converge. The first layer of songs comes from Buddhist singing Shomyo: the monks repeat monotonous prayers together. The sound clip “Amaterasu” is like a five syllables mantra. The layers of the song are stacked on these 5/4 patterns: samples of infamous manga characters, calls from the crowd at Japanese festivals, random cosmic synthesizers…
During our sessions, we also regularly invite guest musicians for this part to recreate the original environment so that Ichi Go can feel the spirit of AMA NO UZUME deep and real.