Eiko’s “A Body in a Cemetery”

American Dance Festival presents
A Body in a Cemetery
Choreographed and Performed by Eiko Otake
Thursday, August 12 and Friday, August 13 at 7:00pm
Maplewood Cemetery in Durham
(Information on performance location and parking will be shared with attendees on the day of the performance)
Suggested Donation $15 per attendee*

ADF respectively requests the audience to wear masks at Eiko’s performances. ADF’s COVID-19 protocols are currently being updated and will be shared in advance of the performances.
View the program here!
*North Carolina-based K-12 dance educators are invited to attend the performances as guests of ADF. No donation required. If you are a North Carolina-based K-12 dance educator, please reach out to lexi@americandancefestival.org for registration details.

Please read our COVID-19 protocols for outdoor performances here.

What is a cemetery? The details, various life/death markers, plants, land, and visitors to a grave or to the whole cemetery are what make a cemetery. The details are the essence, the practical and conceptual core of mortality of both ends, visiting and visited. Seeing and being seen. Here, time is absorbed into the land, but it continues to grow, always passing. The graveyard marks death as much as it marks the traces of the past lives that lived, breathed, and labored. Attending death is a way to learn about death. By the time death happens upon oneself, it is unlikely that one can fully grasp the reality of death. Visiting a graveyard provides us an occasion in which we can collectively learn about death. 
I have no intention to offer a theatrical production. My performance announcement is my promise to be there to offer my body for the time together with other visitors. My lone body will mark the place and the time when audiences can gather to meditate on how landscapes hold not only the deaths of people throughout history but also the flow of constant lives and deaths of all species. We will observe the cemetery carefully and actively so we can hear the transformation of lives and deaths. By doing so, I will fully sense the cemetery. I hope the audience members will do the same.
Throughout history and recently, many people have died. Some deaths were unacceptable, very upsetting. In Japan’s medieval theater Noh, the dead come back to tell the story of the betrayal they suffered. By listening and empathizing with the dead, it is believed the upset spirits of the dead will calm down and regain their dignity. Can we imagine listening in such a manner?
There have been so many upsets and unknowns. In coming to rehearse and to perform, I made a point of leaving my upsets at the gate, promising myself to pick them up on my way home.
Eiko Otake
ADF dedicates these performances to Susan Broili.

ADF is very grateful to the City of Durham for allowing these performances to take place.
Eiko Otake’s ADF residency, workshop, and performances of A Body in a Cemetery are supported by The Jones Dance Education Scholarship.

Photos: William Johnston