Dairakudakan- VIDF Review

Gothic Japanese performers. Spirits mourned in blood petals. Chained humanity forever in self-destruction.

High brow art I’d been excitedly anticipating, especially with its revered reviews and standing ovations. But on the night of the performance, I found myself deeply disappointed. Amidst the crowd of older Caucasian art connoisseurs, I was probably one of the only 20 something Asian women tired of the same old Adam and Eve storyline.

Of course the alternate universes involved devilish women. Of course the fruits of choice manifested sin. And of course the red head with the apple won, leading to the ultimate loss of humanity. The rest of the performance mainly showcased a timeline of Western behaviours, from the disco-era with their notorious drug use, to the apron, suit and tie appropriation of the nuclear family.

Humanity’s exaggerated carnal desires and sacrificial rawness is represented in the nude performers dusted in powder. Our inability to achieve inner peace leads humanity to its own demise. Even without the chains, we are incapable of freedom. Oh, and of course the show ends with a touch of unnecessary French, once again validating that culture’s mark on art prestigieux.

The crowd applauses the high-brow performance.

So what? I get it, the human race can be pretty fucked up. But repeating the exact same biblical storyline that all Westerners grew up learning doesn’t really stimulate my mind. Especially if the dancers are mostly just moving side to side, up and down, with hardly any impressive technique.

Perhaps the repetition of the same slow movements are symbolic of humanity constantly repeating history, hardly learning from the same mistakes. If that’s the case, then the show itself repeats high-brow art’s recycling of similar storylines: the glorification of abusive human behaviour.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. I will say that the gothic makeup and eerie soundtrack created the perfect environment for suppressed turmoil. After all, there’s a reason most people cheered at the end of the show and the New York Times praised the direction. But I’m sure I’m not the only millennial sick and tired of artists glamorizing abusive cycles, rather than extending our imaginations to higher actualizations.

I’m not the only millennial sick and tired of artists glamorizing abusive cycles

After all, the very fact that we recognize our own cannibalism is in itself progressive. What I don’t understand is why we don’t take it a step higher, and do more than accept the behaviour: we can reject the behaviour. We can celebrate construction instead of destruction. But all the standing ovation told me is that many art connoisseurs are appreciative enough in merely acknowledging the fact. Huh.

Maybe I am one of the only left embarrassed by what we continue to deem as high-brow. Maybe I’m just too cynically optimistic in the cynicism. Or maybe I just missed a major lesson. A lesson in the average dance representing the average human lifespan. In that case, I guess I should say, “Thank you,” to all those involved. Oh, excuse me.

Merci beaucoup.