Coexisting during troubled times
The word "profound" is one not usually associated with the longtime underground dance collective Giinko Marischino.
Considering its origins as an improvisatory dance group of co-creator Sami Akuna's House of Chandelier (and Akuna's drag-queen alter ego Cocoa Chandelier), there's a quite a distance, conceptually speaking, from the Fusion Waikiki nightclub to the ARTS at Marks Garage and "Coexist."
Presented by Giinko Marischino
Place: The ARTS at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave.
Time: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Tickets: $20 general and $15 students, military and seniors
Call: 550-8457 or visit honoluluboxoffice.com
Giinko's newest project is more serious in tone, as the choreographed collection of pieces explores different responses to our current times of conflict, while still maintaining a glimmer of hope for the continuing survival of humankind. Incorporating video, sound and the spoken word, "Coexist" will also feature guest artists.
Portions of two dances, "Afterlives" and "A Piece for Peace," have already debuted this month at the Hawaii State Art Museum on First Friday, the monthly downtown gallery crawl.
DURING A WEEKDAY rehearsal in the Ong King Art Center space, choreographer Tamara Li and dancers Summer Parthlon and Elizabeth Grote went through the opening section of "Afterlives," a somber and meditative Butoh-influenced work that begins with a deep soundtrack of Tuvan throat singers.
"It's something I originally choreographed back in 1999," Li said. "I was going internally into myself to come up with imagery of what people were feeling during the Kosovo-Yugoslav war. When I went into meditation again to re-choreograph this piece, I came up with this one move, with arms akimbo, that a friend of mine said looked like that famous Abu Ghraib prison torture photo."
Working off of Grote's overall concept, Li said "Coexist" showcases "five choreographers with different ideas on how to express the theme. ... But the way we work together, it becomes a seamless flow that happens naturally that's greater than the sum of its parts."
Amid what Grote calls "the fluid hierarchy" that is the collaborative work of Giinko Marischino, she offers a duet - set to Joan Baez singing the famous Irish anti-war song "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye" - called "Broken Existence." It's a dance that resonates in her personal life.
"I correspond with a friend of mine who's now in his second mission in Iraq, and he wrote that 'we live a life of a broken existence here,' which is where I got the title and inspiration from for the dance.
"This particular program is the most ambitious for me," she added. "It has a lot of personal meaning for all of us. I think Hawaii really needs this."
"Coexist" is certainly one of the most highly choreographed and structured projects Giinko has done, "because we usually fly by the seat of our pants when we dance," said Parthlon, who, with Akuna and co-creator Malia Oliver, performed together in Cheryl Flaharty's IONA contemporary troupe.
"We think of Giinko Marischino as a place of healing and community," Grote said, "where we make our visions and ideas a reality. It gives me and my community a chance to be creative."