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Dem bones, dem Live Bones

Jun 24. 2016
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By The Nation

Japanese choreographer Kaiji Moriyama offers a lesson in human anatomy as part of the International Children’s Theatre Festival
Japanese solo dancer and choreographer Kaiji Moriyama, described as one of the most talented dancers at the 2001 edition of the Fringe Edinburgh Festival 2001, will wrap the International Children’s Theatre Festival 2016 this weekend with his innovative show “Live Bone” at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.
The unique performance with upbeat music by composer Kohske Kawase and artist Kodue Hibino’s stunning costumes inspired by human internal organs explores the metaphorical expression of bones. The three creators are a powerful tag-team on the Japanese children’s TV show “Karada de Asobo” (Let’s get movin’!) on NHK. “Live Bone” is themed on body parts, their functions and soul and conveys a broad message covering life and death.
“We all have bodies, from children through to adults. I want to demonstrate how important the body is for everyone,” Moriyama told The Jakarta Post back in 2014 when he premiered “Live Bone” in Indonesia. 
“With this performance, I think I can communicate with the audience. This communication happens through movement, through the body, not through language.”
For this show, Moriyama comes out on stage clad in a surreal skeleton costume featuring a long tail and enormous skull. He shocks and delights audiences with his visceral and energetic movements. He then proceeds to work his way through all the organs of the body, fluidly adding and removing different costumes as he showcases flexible bending movements and sharp, sword-like choreography. Audience members of all ages from babies to the elderly connect instantly with Moriyama’s performance and easily engage with all the concepts being presented.
Moriyama began his career with a musical theatre company in Japan, later moving to the world of professional choreography. He won critical praise for his performance at the 2001 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where he was described by Kelly Apter of The Scotsman as “One of the most talented dancers at this year’s Fringe. It’s worth going for him alone.”
He was selected to represent Japan at the Little Asia Dance Project with his piece “Lamazuella”, and later performed it in Australia, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul and Tokyo. In January 2005, his US solo debut “Katana” (“Sword”) was reviewed by Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times as “a dance of amazing concentration by an amazing dancer”. 
A multi-disciplined artist, Moriyama has appeared in high-profile TV commercial films, and his first film project; “Cha no Aji” (“The Taste of Tea”), directed by Katsuhito Ishii, was the first Japanese film to open Director’s Week at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. 
“The learning process through drama encourages children to use their imagination, creativity and physical ability, and helps them understand about the relationships between things around them including communication via oral and physical language,” says drama therapist Channaphan Thannarat. 
“This supports children’s physical, emotional, social and intellectual development, and helps strengthen analytical skills and reasoning ability through using the imagination in combination with logic.”
Language is not an obstacle either, as 70 per cent of the communication is through physical language.
“By observing with open eyes, ears, and hearts, we can certainly understand each other. The benefits from getting parents to learn together with their children is that it will help the parents to understand their children’s interests, skills, strength, and weaknesses, as well as enrich the family bonds. However, parents needs to make sure that their involvement will still allow the children to learn freely rather than forcing them to do things as expected by the adults,” she adds.
 n “Live Bone” will be staged at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) this Saturday and Sunday. Kaiji Moriyama will also host a children’s workshop at Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts. Chulalongkorn University on Thursday.
n To book tickets, call (081) 441 5718 or (099) 009 3172. For more information, visit

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