Saturday, March 14, 2009

Condors at KLPac

images by Haru

Brainchild of Ryohei Kondo, Condors has conquered their homeland turning the Japanese contemporary dance scene on its head. In fact, tickets for one of their performances in Tokyo were snapped up the very day it went on sale! And it doesn’t stop there – Condors Mania has spread all over the world and the troupe often performed to sell out shows overseas as well.

Wherever they go, their performance always sends audiences spinning through amazement, shock, and laughter. From their trademark Japanese high-school uniform outfits to their liberal use of shtick and overblown video imagery, this zany bunch redefines what a dance performance can and should be! The troupe is also notorious for its satirical treatment of Japanese pop culture.

Reviewer Jennifer Dunning wrote, "If there had been an applause meter on the premises, the meter would have very likely swung off the high end...An irrepressible, irreverent bunch of nicely ill-assorted sizes and presences, the men were impressive in their comic timing and knowledge of dance styles” (2000, The New York Times).

Conquest of the Galaxy: Jupiter premiered in New York City in 2001 to great success and toured to Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, Costa Rica, Chile, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore and, of course, Malaysia. As a follow up to Jupiter, Condors premiered Conquest of the Galaxy: Mars in Europe in 2007 and it toured successfully to London, Paris, Rome and Brazil, gaining them legions of fans along the way.

Like Jupiter, Mars is made up of short scenes in omnibus style and integrates commercials, animation film, short plays and of course, dance. Since its premiere, Condors has updated and added new materials to Mars. The KL audience will have the opportunity to see the improved version of Mars. On the surface, the scenes seem to be meaningless connected but at the very end, it will bring back nostalgic memories and remind you of the things that are important in life.

The dance troupe is led by Artistic Director and Choreographer Ryohei Kondo. Kondo has danced with a wide range of leading choreographers such as Kota Yamazaki, Kuniko Kisanuki, Toshiko Takeuchi and Doug Varone. His choreography credits include The Fingers are Too Fat to Reach (1998), Love Parade (1999), Dream in a Dream (1999 – collaboration with Japanese traditional dancer Sengiku Bando), the film The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001 - directed by Takashi Miike) and a stage production of Faust (2004 – directed by Akira Shirai).

Kondo is also active in organising and hosting dance workshops all over Japan. In recognition of his work, he won the Terayama Shuji Award at the 4th Asahi Performing Arts Award for most promising young artist.

Condors solid track record include Kissing the Sun Series I-V (1996-1999), 2000 Virgin (1999), Spring Man (2000), Light My Fire (2000) and 2000 Darling (2000). Their collaboration with the Bel Canto Orchestra, led by French musician Pascal Comelade, at the Yokohama Landmark Hall (2000), was critically acclaimed.

Apollinaire Scherr commented "...when the flabby men and fit men, tall men and short men, men who can dance and men who, adorably, really can't, appear on the Tokyo stage in nerdy schoolboy uniforms as the Condors, the girls show up in droves and shriek happily...The Condors seamlessly blend dance numbers with video, puppetry and physical theater." (2001, The New York Times).

Show Details

Show Title: Conquest of the Galaxy: Mars

Presented by: The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur & klpac, with the cooperation of The Embassy of Japan

Preview: 19 Mar @ 8.30pm – RM20 flat

Show: 20 – 21 Mar @ 8.30pm - RM50, RM30 & RM20 (dance schools, JFKL members, sr. citizens, disabled)

Venue Pentas 1, klpac

Web | |

ABOUT CONDORS - contemporary dance company

Condors, the all male dance company that has turned the Japanese contemporary dance scene on its head, is electric, sweaty, outrageous and hysterical.

Ryohei Kondo started the company in the fall of 1996, and barely a year later its performance from the "Kiss the Sun" series at Theatre Fonte in Yokohama was a major success, gaining much attention from presenters and sponsors. The next year they opened the Tokyo Globe Theater's spring festival with a continuation of the "Kiss the Sun" series. The dance press enthusiastically reviewed the performance, which also set ticket sales records for the theatre. Later, this huge successful show was broadcasted on three separate occasions on SkyPerfect TV, the Japanese satellite television network. Soon Condors was in high demand and touring throughout the country.

In December of the same year, Kyoto Art Complex 1928 commissioned Condors to create a new piece for the inauguration of their new theatre. This was followed quickly by a tour of several venues in Tokyo and Osaka area. The Tokyo shows sold out on the day they were put on sale, leading to quick arrangements for additional performances. In January 2001, SkyPerfect TV continued to demonstrate the popular enthusiasm for the group by broadcasting a special feature on Kondo Ryohei and his work, and in the following month Condors' run of performances at the famed Apple Theater in Shinjuku drew sold out audiences every night. In the mean time, audiences in other countries were also catching "Condors mania."

In January 2000, they took their first trip abroad to the showcase at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference in New York. The New York Times said, "If there had been an applause meter on the premises, the meter would have very likely swung off the high end" and called them "wonderfully nutty" and "an irrepressible, irreverent bunch of nicely ill-sorted sizes and presences" (January 15, 2000). They immediately received inquiries from a number of presenters, and in the following year returned to the US for performances in New York and Los Angeles. These performances also sold out, and were enthusiastically covered by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and other local press. Condors continues to move on to new territory, and will be performing in various countries throughout East Asia in the fall of 2001.

Wherever they go, Condors performances always send their audiences spinning through amazement, shock, and laughter. From their trademark school uniform outfits to their liberal use of shtick and overblown video imagery, this company redefines what a dance performance can and should be. It may seem that they are more interested in presenting a highly entertaining performance than pushing the boundaries of performance art or presenting refined technique. Nevertheless, once the show is over and the laughter subsides, it becomes clear that what they have really done is redefine dance performance, its audience, and how it can be viewed. Many speak of creating a new form of dance for the 21st century, but Ryohei Kondo and Condors are doing it.



Post a Comment

<< Home