NEWS: Project Godie @ All Saints Church | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Vangeline

From Tannaker’s acrobatic troupe in the 1870s to Emperor Takugawa’s friendship with Lord Armstrong in the early 1900s and Crown Prince Akihito’s visit in 1953; to the Nissan and Komatsu companies operating in the region today; plus the strong links between several universities, Japanese culture has had a significant part to play in the North East and it’s being celebrated in a brand new creation.

Project Godie is a fantastically creative mash-up of arts; using dance, music, film and literature to celebrate the oft-forgotten bond between the Geordies and Nihonjin (Japanese). Named after the prematurely deceased infant son of performers from Tannaker’s troupe, Project Godie will utilise one of Japan’s most intriguing and dark art forms, Butoh.

The main precept of Butoh is unnatural and random body movement, a concept developed reflecting the unimaginable scenes following the atomic bomb’s destruction of Hiroshima.  However, the dark roots of Butoh should not detract from its beauty; the dancer is dressed and painted entirely in white (the colour worn to funerals in Japan) which immediately gives them an other-worldly feel, and performs their jerky dance to music, improvised on this occasion by Adam Denton and his duo Trans/Human.

Project Godie is a fantastically creative mash-up of arts; using dance, music, film and literature to celebrate the oft-forgotten bond between the Geordies and Nihonjin

Butoh’s literal translation is ‘dance of darkness’, and it’ll be performed as part of Project Godie by dancer Vangeline. The recruitment of the critically acclaimed French artist is something of a coup, she has performed internationally and on film in The Letter, receiving plaudits not only from industry experts, but also from the co-founder of Butoh, Kazuo Ohno, who she has worked with closely to perfect her art. To some it may seem like she has taken an overdose of MDMA, but the level of craft and skill needed to create these mesmerising portrayals of pain and angst is mind boggling. The congratulations for persuading such a star name in the art should go to Nicole Vivien Watson, Creative Director of Newcastle-based Surface Area Dance Theatre Company, without whom this fantastic opportunity would have been lost.

This is a truly unique venture and while it features a Japanese dance, it is very much connected to the shipbuilding yards of Elswick and other aspects of the deep history between our region and Nippon. What Project Godie promises is an unmissable chance to witness something brilliantly creative, enthrallingly unusual, educationally historical and internationally local.  There are only two dates – Friday 12th and Saturday 13th August at All Saints’ Church on Lower Pilgrim Street in Newcastle – so don’t delay!

Project Godie takes place at All Saints’ Church, Newcastle on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th August.

 

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