A Dance of Vaporizing Bodies, With a Nod to Butoh

“Anything, Kota, anything!” she said.

It can take Mr. Yamazaki some time to find the right words, but once he does he gets to the essence. “Her body can easily transform,” he said. “Also, it looks transparent — like light can penetrate it. Sometimes her dancing looks like the wind that blows.”

Ms. Nishimura, who truly is a remarkable dancer — and one who performed with the pop artist Sia — smiled. He passed the test. These are edited excerpts from a recent conversation with them.

One element you’re working with in “Hallucination” is stillness. Why?

KOTA YAMAZAKI It makes you think of nature.

MINA NISHIMURA It’s very still, but things are happening. One day, we went to the park after rehearsing, and we were all like, “Oh my God, this is what’s happening in the piece.”

But the stage won’t look like nature, will it?

YAMAZAKI Half of the floor is covered by aluminum sheets. That also helps to make an unreal atmosphere. Thomas Dunn, the lighting designer, is a magician.

NISHIMURA He has strong ideas to use really bright reflecting light. The dancers will almost go blind. There is no landmark you can hold onto. Also, we are creating the universe as one group. And it’s not like we are looking at each other, so we have to heighten our listening skills.

YAMAZAKI When Thomas saw a rehearsal, he said, “If someone’s ego pops up, this world may crash.” In this piece, every element coexists. I like that.

Is the whole dance still or that one section?

NISHIMURA When Kota keeps watching the still world, he also has a desire to break it.


Mr. Yamazaki

Nathan Bajar for The New York Times

YAMAZAKI I am still in the process of breaking it. If I wanted to make something vaporize or evaporate, I think it’s necessary to boil it before that vaporizing happens.

What is a vaporizing body?

YAMAZAKI I’m thinking about an image. [Laughs]

Did you watch “Lost”? I watched only the last-last episode, and in “Lost” all the characters were supposed to be dead, but in the very final episode they meet at church in this very bright light. In my imagination people kind of vaporize in the very bright light, like a mirage. They become a mirage.

Kota, you’re a runner, and you’ve written about the connection between dance and running. How does it affect your art?

YAMAZAKI When you’re running it’s never the same, even though it looks like right-left, right-left. Running is ever evolving, ever changing — you are going through landscapes and weather. Everything is different all the time, which is very connected to my vision for dance.

NISHIMURA Kota almost exaggerates that difference. He does different steps while running. Sometimes his way of running looks like dancing a little bit. Kids or dogs kind of chase after Kota.

I want to see that. How did you two meet?

NISHIMURA When I was in college, I was a member of a kind of dance club in Japan, and the coach of the club was one of Kota’s dancers, so I went to see him perform. We were friends for quite a long time.

When did you become a couple?

NISHIMURA We started dating 17 years ago. Kota was older — like my dad’s age almost. Also, I thought Kota was gay.


NISHIMURA He was always really shy and quiet, and he was the artist who I respected. He was kind of a mentor for me. Our dynamic kept changing. I think in the beginning, it was a little bit more of a daughter-father kind of relationship. It sounds very wrong, but it had that kind of feeling. I was really childish and very kid. I was like, “Oh my God, you’re so cool!” Kota, I grew up.

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