ROKO KAWAI, from Philadelphia, is one of many hyphenated Americans exploring her heritage; she’s also a fine dancer and a perceptive observer of cultural differences. She begins her solo Daughter Tongue by stepping slowly backward, her back to the audience, uttering an occasional syllable. When she turns to face us her mouth works in big, silent shouts and cries; we don’t know what she’s saying. Using a voice-over as well as Kawai’s own spoken words, Daughter Tongue eventually expresses in gut-wrenching terms the price of silence, whether self-imposed or enforced by society. Kawai’s Pink Seaweed, a duet, explores stereotypes of Eastern womanhood with its formal arrangements of two women; in Bell Tree Sketches, Kawai and musician David Forlano use various props–wooden dowels, metallic bowls, a bell tree–to examine human relationships and the connections between dance and music. Other works on the program are the minimalist Earthquake and Won’t Ever Be More Japanese. Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 2 at the Marjorie Ward Marshall Dance Center of Northwestern University, 1979 South Campus Drive in Evanston; $5-$9. Call 847-491-7282 for tickets and information. Next weekend Kawai and local dancer-choreographer Marianne Kim will present two free events: Friday, May 30, at 4, a lecture-demonstration in the dance studio of the Chicago Cultural Center; and Saturday, May 31, at 2, a performance of their collaboration The Other Woman in the Claudia Cassidy Theatre of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Call 773-907-2192 for information.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Roko Kawai by George Bezushko.