Yasushi Shoji

I’m not quite sure how I encountered this starkly spare and beautiful short, directed filmed, and edited by Kenichi Sasaki of remarkable dancer Yasushi Shoji, but it is a small gem of a dance film that speaks for itself. As a dancer, Shoji has a subtle but powerful command in his posture and presence, and a movement range that is at once intuitively human and expressive and highly technically accomplished, mixing street moves and classical lines. I love the location – obviously somewhere in Japan – and how the palette and light is reminiscent of fresh rain.  And I love how the use of inanimate objects and dripping water augments the overall ambience and sense of place, in particular the way the film’s drum score is augmented by the sound of the dancer’s feet, scraping and tapping on wooden or metal floorboards.

Multiple Yasushi's paint space with movement
Multiple Yasushi’s paint space with movement

Towards the end of this film (which seems to have no title besides the dancer’s name) there is a gorgeous crescendo of sound, movement and editing that packs a punch and takes my breath away. Besides being a beautiful dance short, it’s a simple reminder of the power of film in its ability to take us elsewhere, condense time and space, and marry sound, image, and movement to create a poetry of score and story.

Water and soap help create  a sense of rhythm and ambience
Water and soap help create a sense of rhythm and ambience


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