chapter  1
5 Pages

Introduction

WithLynn Matluck Brooks, Joellen A. Meglin

This chapter discusses a live performance constructed out of a gaze trained upon the past, and more specifically about dance as a means to memorialize. It moves between the self-contained present Valery described in 1936-which was paradoxically the year of La Argentina's death, at the age of forty-eight, of rheumatic heart failure-and the past leaking into the present impressed upon the retina by visual memory that becomes, over time, a fragmented representation. The chapter argues that Ohno's evocation of Argentina stands in dialogue with Valery's essay because Ohno's performance is Bergsonian in its conception. In Admiring La Argentina the then seventy-one-year-old dancer performed his memory of seeing the flamenco dancer at the Imperial Theater in Tokyo in 1929. Ohno's cross-dressed performance-an elderly Japanese male dancer performing a forty-one-year-old Spanish female dancer-sets tensions into play. Ohno has discussed his evocation of La Argentina as part of a narrative of origins in several senses.