Apocalypse now

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 January, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 January, 1996, 12:00am

IN their strange, mesmerising performance for the Fringe Festival the dance group 66B from Tokyo explored the powerful imagery that can be created by computer video graphics projected against the human body, all to the accompaniment of loud heart-thumping music.

Computer imagery on three wall-sized screens showed the world gone haywire, the earth on fire and the mountains going through meltdown. Holocaust images of fire and destruction were thrown against the walls, appearing between the silhouettes of the audience.

The group didn't need to show those pictures of skulls: the fire was enough to remind us of the more terrible events of the century. Two female dancers created strong shadows against ever-changing pictures of clouds, squares, eyes and dots. One moment the silhouettes would look like witches, another like gods.

Tetsuji Yamazaki appeared as a clay man, head shaved, dressed in only a small loincloth. Against the smoothness of his body, stripes and netting and raspberry bubbles from a computer projection assumed intriguing new shapes.

Those were the better moments. Sometimes the group relied too much on technology and too little on technique. At moments, as the dancers writhed slowly in their spotlights for just too long, I was reminded of a nightclub gone horribly wrong. But the performance as a whole left a strong impression. If Xtasyzm is the future of butoh then I want to watch it happening.

Xtasyzm, 66B, Fringe Studio, January 9-10