Pierrot X Three
Directed by Joan Laage (Kogut Butoh) with Melissa Pasut and Rachel Sweeney
Music by Scott Adams
Costumes by Shoko Zama and Joan Laage
University of Hope faculty members Melissa Pasut and Rachel Sweeney join Seattle-based Joan Laage in a work inspired by the famous Commedia dell’Arte figure known for its naivete and tragic/comedic escapades. The black and whiteness of the costumes and the interweaving of the dancers suggest the yin/yang Chinese symbol as they alternately dissolve into each other and separate. This work premiered as a trio in Italy in spring 2018 with Kea Tonetti and Maruska Ronchi, then in duet form with Shoko Zama at the Seattle International Dance Festival and with Kea and Maruska in Italy in winter 2019, and most recently as a duet with Kea in the Paris Butoh Festival in June. The whimsical and plaintive sound score by Seattle composer Scott Adams was commissioned specially for this piece.
After studying with masters Kazuo Ohno and Yoko Ashikawa in Tokyo in the late 80s and performing with Ashikawa’s group Gnome, Joan Laage (Kogut Butoh) settled in Seattle and founded Dappin’ Butoh in 1990. Joan has performed at the New York, Chicago, Portland, Boulder, Seattle and Paris butoh festivals, and a butoh symposium at the University of California (LA). A Ph.D. in Dance & Related Arts from Texas Woman’s University, she is featured in Sondra Fraleigh’s books – Dancing into Darkness: Butoh, Zen, and Japan and Butoh: Metamorphic Dance and Global Alchemy. Joan has been adjunct faculty at Seattle’s prestigious Cornish College of the Arts. She directs Wandering & Wondering, an annual site-specific event, at the Seattle Japanese Garden and Kubota Garden. Joan’s articles appear in butō, a book recently published in Latvia. She is an avid Tai Chi practitioner with a background in Asian dance/theater and has worked as a landscape gardener for years.
Seattle resident Scott Adams is a composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist who has performed with an improv theater group, composed for full orchestra, co-written musicals, and is a recovering elementary school music teacher.
Photos by Sara Meliti and Dmitry Artamonov