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A dance tribute to Japan's "godfather of anime"

Published on Oct 15, 2012 11:58 AM
Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's TeZukA pays homage to the late "godfather of anime" Osamu Tezuka. The performance will be staged at Esplanade's annual da:ns Festival 2012. -- PHOTO: HUGO GLENDINNING

Award-winning Belgian dancer-choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui had just started creating his dance homage to the late "godfather of anime", Osamu Tezuka, when the fateful earthquake and tsunami devastated northern Japan in March last year.

Cherkaoui, 36, was rehearsing with his dancers in a Tokyo studio when its walls began to crumble. He tells Life!: "It was quite a big shock. For some dancers, it was very scary, for others it was almost funny. When you're in it, some people get very quiet, some people start to laugh, there's thousands of ways of handling it."

Cherkaoui's way of handling the natural disasters turned out to be the contemporary dance work TeZukA. Borne out of both tragedy and hope, the sprawling two hour long work will be staged at the Esplanade's upcoming da:ns festival on October 27 and 28.

The work blends Tezuka's original illustrations with video art by Taiki Ueda, set to an original score by composer Nitin Sawhney. Four musicians, 11 performers and a calligrapher will trace the physical evolution of Tezuka's drawings, from a line on a page to fully-fleshed characters.