By Anna Seaton Huntington
Seven young women in the final stages of preparing for the Echoing Passages performance on Friday, July 10 at the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City’s Historic Theatre, recently invited sculptor Masayuki Nagase to the Black Hills Academy of Dance Arts studio near Canyon Lake to see their work in progress.
Under the leadership of choreographer and dancer Sara Olivier, (right of Yuki, above,) the dancers have worked to collectively interpret the meaning behind Passage of Wind and Water. They’ve blended their understanding of the sculptor’s metaphors and themes with their own impressions and responses to the work and choreographed several dances to express the whole.
The dancers are part of the larger Echoing Passages Arts Collaborative that encompasses a group of South Dakota artists working across disciplines — dance, film, poetry and music — to create work inspired by Passage of Wind and Water.
The upcoming Echoing Passages performance is the second in a series of events planned to unfold alongside Yuki’s work in Rapid City, culminating in a major performance in 2017.
When Yuki visited the rehearsal last week, the dancers were working on “Bone and Sky Stories”. Dressed simply in tights, tank tops and bare feet, the dancers moved to contemplative flute music by Brian Akipa and sounds of thunderstorm.
The dance explores, in two parts, the final three sculptures in the Badlands Garden along Main Street that Yuki completed last summer, "Regeneration" and "Flow". The dance also sets up a thoughtful transition to the Black Hills Garden along Sixth Street, where Yuki began working this summer and where the overriding visual metaphor changes from wind to water.
“Bone and Sky Stories” is a communicative meditation on our common binds to landscape, the forces of nature and time, and to each other. As the dancers move together to explore human pain and conflict and the process of mutually shaping the future, you can see Yuki’s stonework expressed through human movement.
Last month, the dancers traveled with filmmaker Randal Iverson to Spearfish Canyon, where they created dance and film in the landscape that is a central focus of Yuki’s and the Collaborative’s work. The film will be screened as part of Echoing Passages along with a choral poem written by South Dakota poet Christine Stewart-Nuñez from shorter pieces submitted by community members.
After the Echoing Passages performance at the Performing Arts Center, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., join all the artists, including sculptor Masayuki Nagase, for a casual reception at Main Street Square, 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Both events are free and open to the public.