In the midst of all the ballet bustle, my review of Shinichi Iova-Koga’s new solo show is also in today’s Chronicle:
“It’s always heartening, as an observer of the local dance ecology, to find a young maverick artist so gifted that audiences seem to discover him through natural buzz about his talent. Such has been the case with Shinichi Iova-Koga, who divides his time between Berlin and the Bay Area, and who founded his performance collective inkBoat in 1994.
Iova-Koga is part of the Bay Area’s butoh boom; he studied with Berkeley’s famed Koichi and Hiroko Tamano, themselves disciples of Japan’s Tatsumi Hijikata, one of the two progenitors of this darkly absurd, apocalyptic dance form. Like many of his generation, Iova-Koga has cast off butoh’s calcified cliches — the shaved head, the white body paint, the glacial pacing and practically patented look of horrified despair — and yet retained its expressionistic, grotesque essence. He’s also found a circle of brilliant avant-garde collaborators in sound and design. Call what Iova-Koga does butoh or post-butoh or whatever you want; it amounts to great movement theater. And judging from the crowds at his 2005 duet “Ame to Ame,” the word seemed to be getting out about that.
So it was surprising, Friday night, to witness the engaged but small turnout at Brava Theater for “Milk Traces.” Granted, “Milk Traces,” which repeats next month at the cozier NOHspace, is small-scale, a 75-minute solo. But each of its simple elements is deeply thoughtful and apt, from Sheila Antonia Bosco’s spine-tingling soundscape to Allen Willner’s fog-drenched lighting to Cassie Terman’s poetic fragments (printed only in the program). And the images and provocations Iova-Koga conjures with just his body and a few props amount to a worthy teaser for inkBoat’s more ambitious premiere with experimental music group Nanos Operetta coming in July, and a brilliant performance in itself.”
Click here for the full review.