Photo: Javier Cambre

On a chilly December evening in Williamsburg, I stepped into Momenta Art, with audiences huddled around a solo dancer, trancelike, swaying her body as if she’s a tree. Her gazeless eyes told us that she moved according to the music, the surroundings, and her intuition. It was a dance movement which I haven’t seen since my days in Japan — Butoh. The minimally dark installations by Nina Lola Bachhuber provided a surreal universe to the performance artist/dancer Pamela Herron.

“In conjunction with Nina Lola Bachhuber’s Nachtschatten (Nightshadow) currently on view at Momenta until December 19th, Pamela Herron will be using Bachhuber’s installation as a reference point to move through and mirror the environment as she performs Butoh, the “Dance of the Shadow”. Originating in Japan in 1959, Butoh is a dance movement famous for combining grotesque imagery, socially-difficult topics, and extreme environments with a modicum of play. The dance is traditionally performed in white body makeup and features highly stylized  movement unique to each performance. Bachhuber’s surrealist sculptures reveal dark obsessions. They entice the viewer to reflect on existential states of mind, pagan ceremonies or secret societies. In her own surrealistic, minimal aesthetic, Herron’s approach to Butoh takes on a similar ritualistic character. Dancing between concealment and revelation, she transforms darkness into light. It is in this transformation that harrowing fears, playful exuberance and disquieting frailty fuse together.”

(images courtesy of Momenta Art)