Gwyneth Leech
DANCE REVIEW; Suffering And Rebirth Dramatized By Flamenco

March 17, 2000
New York Times

Flamenco, Butoh, African, tap and modern dance were skillfully combined with speech and acting in Shigeko Suga's ''Shiku Hakku: The Eight Sufferings,'' which Indalo Artists presented on Sunday afternoon at the Club at La MaMa.

The production examined forms of human woe, and the action was both allegorical and grittily realistic. Dramatic vignettes were juxtaposed with danced outbursts, most of them derived from flamenco. Given the work's grimness, the relentless flamenco stampings and clappings came to symbolize inescapable doom. Some dramatic scenes concerned lonely individuals. In others, groups taunted outsiders.

A particularly effective sketch featured Alan Spaulding as a fellow who tried to do a jaunty tap dance while talking about his life. Yet as he mentioned his problems, other dancers burdened him with objects and his tapping grew heavy.

Throughout the production, Gwyneth Leech drew portraits of the cast in India ink on sheets attached to the space's walls. But near the conclusion, she depicted mothers and babies. Kumi Kuwahata danced a solo in which she seemed to be giving birth and people in shining robes approached her joyfully. The moment suggested that despite the world's miseries, new life can offer new hope.

The cast included Minouche Waring, Atsuko Kino, Mami Nakae, Bergin Michaels and Ms. Suga. Ms. Nakae, Ms. Kino and Mr. Spaulding created some of the dances. There was additional choreography by Maria Alba, Mieko Sieto, Elena Andujar and Masahiro Kunii. And Yukio Tsuji was a guest artist in an original percussion score by Yoshitaka Shimada.

The production continues through Sunday in the intimate cafe at La MaMa, the theatrical complex at 74 East Fourth Street, East Village.