Original Source

MAUREEN FLEMING: “Waters of Immortality”
February 20 & 21, 2009, 8:30 pm
Jarson-Kaplan Theater, Aronoff Center for the Arts 

"Watching choreographer and performer Maureen Fleming is like watching a magician… [she] astounded the audience with stunning imagery…part dance, part sculpture, and part dream.”

- The Baltimore Sun


MAUREEN FLEMING’S "Waters of Immortality” is a masterstroke of flowing, fluid physicality and imagery.  Maureen Fleming uses her remarkably pliable body the way a painter wields a brush, transporting us by the power of her images to new realms of myth and meaning. A master of Butoh, the minimalist movement development in post-war Japan, Fleming creates a spellbinding form of multi-media visual theater she refers to as surreal movement poetry. Her collaborative performance will offer insights into notions of ‘immortality’ and question racial hierarchies that often stifle human potential and divide peoples.

“Waters of Immortality" is a multi-media tableau integrating dance, three-dimensional video projections, still photography by the legendary Lois Greenfield, compositions by Philip Glass, and Japanese bamboo flute music. Fleming transforms live performance into a universal language that connects peoples, cultures, and art forms. She provides a sensory examination of the feminine archetype inspired by the evocative symbolism found in the writings of Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Japanese shakuhachi master Akikazu Nakamura and pianist Bruce Brubaker perform live as Fleming juxtaposes her singular movement with three-dimensional video projections, surround sound, and lighting by Christopher Odo.  Through Fleming’s intense and beautiful interpretations, audiences are drawn to contemplating what is universal about the soul’s journey.

photo by Lois Greenfield
“Waters of Immortality” also poses a question to the audience regarding the future of mankind. The destructive waters currently threatening numerous species, including mankind, raises questions regarding the values that have lead to the creation of these waters. Through a seamless juxtaposition of art forms, boldly celebrating unrelenting discipline within the regenerative feminine, Fleming’s new work presents questions regarding contemporary notions of immortality and the values surrounding these notions.

Fleming, an American born in Japan, has studied in depth with the masters of Japanese Butoh. With the discipline of a classicist and the imagination of an iconoclast her choreography explores the archetypal feminine through elemental solo moving images.

Musician Akikazu Nakamura studied under Katsuya Yokoyama and several masters of the komuso shakuhachi tradition. While still grounding his roots in the classical tradition handed down by komuso monks, Nakamura has delved into different musical genres including rock, jazz, and contemporary music and is one of the first shakuhachi players to make use of the circular breathing technique, which enables him to breathe in as he plays the instrument, thus ensuring a continuous sound.

Acclaimed for his subtle mastery of the classical repertory, Bruce Brubaker has become a champion of contemporary American music, particularly the works of composers Philip Glass and John Adams. Brubaker is creating a new role for the pianist. He is highly regarded for his innovative programming, often combining music with other media.

“Maureen Fleming  …seemed to transcend the material world and enter a realm of pure spirit… wondrous choreographic metamorphoses.”

- New York Times

Maureen Fleming’s performance is sponsored by the National Performance Network.