Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December, Modern Dance and Japanese Art

December is here and the cultural fare Around Wellington is abundant. Seems everywhere I turn beauty abounds. Art, dance and music surprise and await admiration and enjoyment.

My first cultural surprise occurred in a modest church, just north of the Norton. One Sunday morning, while reporting to my accompanying post, I passed its warm brick facade, (bricks actually salvaged from the chimneys of the historic Royal Poinciana hotel), walked through the solid wooden doors to find a roomful of modern Japanese artwork greeting me. Seems Memorial Presbyterian's pastor, Randy Bare, a serious art enthusiast, was responsible for the exhibit by Sadao Watanabe .

And what an exhibit it is!

Watanabe (1913-1996) specialized in a stencil and dying technique that he learned from fabric dyeing masters in his home country of Japan. He applied the method, called katazome to special paper instead of fabric; kozo (paper made form mulberry trees) and the roughly textured momigami (kneaded paper). Seasonally appropriate, his works focus on biblical themes. Shown here is his Nativity.

Watanabe's uses the mingei approach, characteristic of the mid-century Japanese folk art movement. His unique and engaging prints have been shown at the Vatican Museum, the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and the White House.

Generally speaking, places of worship don't double as galleries of world-class artwork. But because of the minister's  love for great art, Pastor Bare arranged for this exhibit from an organization named  CIVA to run through December. It's open Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm and Sundays, 9am to 12pm.

My second cultural surprise was to learn that a renowned dance company is utilizing the same room as Watanabe's exciting exhibit! (The hardwood flooring of this room, by the way, was also from the old Royal Poinciana Hotel..) The church's Great Big Room not only houses wonderful prints, but is also the rehearsal venue for Klein Dance company. Demetrius Klein has been a Palm Beach County dance fixture for over twenty-five years. (My son took tap classes in his Lake Worth studio). Here, surrounded by this wonderful artwork, Klein's company is presenting a December 4th and 5th performance called "Elbow" open to the public. View Watanabe's exhibit at 7pm, dance performance at 8pm.

An excerpt from their press release tells it best:

Asked about the new work, Klein said, “I’ve been listening to Elbow’s album [Build a Rocket, Boys!] since its release several years ago. I’d already created two works to two of the songs and I thought, wouldn’t it be great to complete the other eight songs?

“The album functions like a score, not thematically, but the music has an arc to it… a sense of completeness.

“This work delves into how to make partnering that is new, and not romantic in nature. It’s more about help, trust, and support. We integrated some movement from past works as well.”

Tickets are $20 ($10 for students with ID and seniors). Please contact Tracy at 561-758-8726, email dkdcdiyprojects@gmail.com, or visit dkdcdiyprojects.org for more information or to purchase tickets.

Demetrius Klein Dance Company ... is South Florida’s oldest modern dance company. Mr. Klein is a celebrated choreographer whose awards include the Hector Ubertalli Award for Artistic Excellence, a Choreographic Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and several grants from the MacArthur Foundation.

So friends, come get a double dose of culture in one night; a two-for-one artistic experience. Enjoy the season's offerings this weekend and all December long.

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