Bending Reality and Infusing Culture

By Alison Baumgartner

Bending Reality and Infusing Culture

Hailing from Japan, enra (intentionally spelled without capitalization) will put on a show like you’ve never seen before on March 22 at The Lincoln Center. This performance, which is also the first of enra’s US tour, will deliver a multi-sensory experience that involves precise timing and movement, combined with breathtaking effects that seem to bend space, time, and reality.

That’s what makes enra’s craft different from other arts performances. “Instead of only being dance, or only being video, the core essence of the performance is that it is composed of both these elements,” says Kazunori Ishide, Lead Performer of enra. The performers and the imagery on-screen are in tune with one another, creating a whole new piece of art.

From a myriad of dance styles to rhythm gymnastics, juggling and Chinese Martial Arts, every number is in harmony with their different skill sets. “I think enra’s strength is that all of our performers have a variety of skills and talents,” says Ishide.

With the different styles of dance and video imagery, there is one thread that runs through each of enra’s performances: there is always an element of Japanese culture infused into every piece, making it a truly unique experience for Western audiences.

For pieces like LIQUID, it’s very easy to see the influence of Japanese culture in enra’s work. The black calligraphic brush strokes on a stark white background, coupled with the simplistic, yet complex physical movements harkens to the enso. The enso is a simple circle created with a single brushstroke, which expresses a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.

And what enra creates is truly breathtaking.

Though a piece may not seem obviously Japanese, Ishide says that elements of ma (negative space) and wabisabi (transience) permeate their work. Wabisabi is a Japanese concept that is derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence: impermanence, suffering, and lack of self. It manifests in Japanese culture as a world-view centered around the acceptance of transience and imperfection.

“Of course, we are influenced by anime, films and lots of video mediums, but we are also inspired by the whole world such as a city landscape or nature,” says Ishide.

It’s these connections that make a unique backdrop for enra to perform their art. Whether they’re navigating an underwater temple or becoming stars in the sky, there is always a sense of interconnection between wabisabi and the modern world in their work.

For those who have seen enra before, they will be excited to hear that enra will be performing pieces never before performed in the United States, as well as fan-favorites.

 “When the beauty of the imagery and the jaw-dropping talent of the performers mix, it is astonishing,” says Ishide. “Everyone will be impressed!”

Experience this mesmerizing display of multi-media performance art and culture with enra at The Lincoln Center on March 22. Seats from $15 at LCtix.com.

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