Photo-Art Union Humanscape


Dreamland Dance – Ayako Kato and Jason Roebke
Art Union Humanscape)

Review by Kathi E.B. Ellis

Entire contents copyright © 2015 by Kathi E.B. Ellis. All rights reserved

Dreamland is an intimate listening room tucked back from NuLu’s Market Street.  Dreamland programming is expanding from its original commitment to music to include other art forms and, on Saturday, this included Chicago duo Ayako Kato, dancer, and Jason Roebke, double bassist.

The brief program introduced the disappointingly small audience to an intense movement and aural experience through two pieces. In the second Kato and Roebke were joined by Dreamland manager, and musician, Tim Barnes.

As the lights dimmed, from the darkness there was a flutter and scurry of sounds and musical notes emanating from the double bass, interspersed with significant silences. Kato manifested into the performance space in a way that was both subtle and strong. The performances continued both in parallel and in dialogue as sound and movement contributed to the journey.  Kato’s ballet background was self-evident in the strength and discipline of her movement, her modern training bringing innovative body-shapes and torques to the performance. Roebke found moments at which he and his double bass changed positions, altering his relationship to the space and to the dance. His performance was visceral and full-bodied, engaging with the moment, the instrument, and Kato in equal measure.

The second piece included some unique percussion, as Barnes introduced a dead branch of leaves into the soundscape. These scrapes and rustles contributed compelling rhythms to the performance, as he manipulated it on a variety of surfaces. In a space this intimate an interesting sensory experience for the audience was the brush and rush of air as Kato moved through the performance space – opening up an additional sense into the interpretation of the evening.

The evening began with a non-credited trio of musicians whose composition set the stage for the dance component to follow. While Dreamland’s Facebook page contained much useful information about the headliners, there was no playbill or other information provided on site, which would have provided useful context for both aspects of the evening. The elegant and eye-catching posters for Dreamland programming, of which there were several in the lobby, give little textual information about the performers. (ed. note: we have identified the trio as Bellarmine music professors Dave Clark on alto saxophone, Ben Aguilar on double bass, and Bellarmine alum Connor Waldman on electronics)

It’s to be hoped that Dreamland continues to bring avant-garde performers, and not just musicians, to Louisville. In a community dense with arts and culture, the lack of contemporary dance is a huge gap in our landscape, one which Dreamland’s intimate performance space could help populate.

Dreamland Dance – Ayako Kato and Jason Roebke
(Art Union Humanscape)

March 14, 2015

610 East Market St.
Louisville, KY 40202


kathi e.b. ellis headshot color

[box_light]Kathi E.B. Ellis is a member of the Lincoln Center and Chicago Directors’ Labs and an associate member of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society. She has attended the LaMama Directing Symposium in Umbria, Italy, and is featured in Southern Artisty, an online registry of outstanding Southern Artists.  Her directing work has been recognized with nominations for the South Florida Theatre Carbonell Award.  Locally, Kathi is a member of Looking for Lilith Theatre Company, a founding principal of StageLab theatre training studio, and is part of ShoeString Productions an informal producing collective. She has written book reviews and articles for Southern Theatre, the quarterly publication of the Southeastern Theatre Conference, and was a contributing writer for JCPS’ textbook for the 11th grade Arts and Humanities survey course and for YouthArts Tapestry, a Kentucky Arts Council publication.[/box_light]