Solo by Min Tanaka for Hisako Horikawa: a summary

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photo: kate sweeney

Open on Horikawa and Tanaka setting stage

She, baretop, black pants, on the ground before him, pulls up her hair.
He takes it gently from her, forms a high tail, easy.
They speak softly in trust. She settles.

Cut to her bent to him, spine up.

Tanaka ties a black ribbon to the end of her hair tail,
holds it like a leash. It is long, she moves left, away
across the platform stage.
He feeds the ribbon over a ceiling beam.
Someone takes it.

She, on her side, on ground, hair taught
black hair, black ribbon, black pants.
Wooden frame of busted paper slats and a piece of plexiglass
lean on the brick wall behind her
from the view of the camera
my view.
She squats balanced at the left edge of the stage, bowed profile, forward to the pull.
Still.

Fade out

Fade up slow: the performance

She, naked on the floor, cross legs, bent right from the pull.
Jaunty music opposes the mood; sustains it.
Her spine
curves and bones quiver.

She, sitting age-old
leans, unfolds her feminine, away from the camera.
We are at her back, the pull at her right.

She, crumbling and sculpting.
Soft, writhing. So struck by task, the body tears effort into tonic ecstasy.
Settling, shifting, never arriving, sometimes staying.
Black folded silk under her, she jostles effort.
Her body collects in fragments to pour, search.
A journey to end, sustained by the pull.

Ribbon holds the weight’s wait
of her head,
she drops, rests.

Searches a way to be, every option disrupts.
Hands curl into non-dexterous, highly-feeling stems.
Mouth and eyes closed off just past their opening.
Arms cross in front as she ticks.

Her body cannot but sustains the foci.
Music lilting loud in overtly pungent timing. It grates.

She, on her feet, squats
falls onto her ass.
Her eyes flit a single beat at the camera, behind her, toward me.

She, lays down a temple and gets up
never actually laying down or getting up.
Looks to the light source;
unfolds and refolds,
restless legs
wobble
determined.

She, falls back again.
Rotates her weight against the pull; nipples erect.

Light dims, she stirs, settles.
Cross-legs, spine facing me,
left arm swings crooked over left hip.

Light sculpts her out of darkness.
In Time, she is Form.

Moves again onto feet squatting.
Her spine is illuminate.
Dented, shiny skin.
Lights dim and brighten, the crate.

She, on her side;
the pull
she wants to stand.
Stricken to be in.

She is naked. I realize again she has been.

Find legs.
The pull is at her front now
she, opposite;
it sustains her.
Squats at the edge, ass back,
chin on knee,
shoulders raise.

She threshes;
earth upon earth upon earth,
piled again.

Toward the pull and she
grabs at her head.
Finally,
pulls the ribbon from her hair.

She, released.
But the ribbon holds, pulling strands out
her over as it goes.

Black out.

Tanaka, Min. “Hisako Horikawa Solo (plan B) Butoh dance, 1987.” Youtube, 1 Oct. 2011,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBCmUQSmWJs&list=PLJePa0k595QCrxkFGSoXhMsHZvH2uxeo . Accessed 27 Aug. 2016.

photo: cole by Kate Sweeney