It matters not whether Japanese rice-farmer-turned-butoh-dancer Naoyuki Oguri, 32, dances nude, in a genital sock or in black jacket and baggy black pants left over from high school days: His pursuit of purity--junsui--is stunning and clear. That and more was evident in Oguri's solo improvisation at La Boca Sunshine Mission on Friday night, accompanied by Adam Rudolph, percussion/world music whiz.
Oguri, a former dancer with butoh great Min Tanaka, began his subtly shifting body sonata hugging the small performance space's open windows. With his back to the audience, clad in a black suit and a pair of work boots, Oguri took the tiniest of steps to Rudolph's austere gongings. Shifting his weight from side to side, curling and uncurling his hands, Oguri was at once rooted to the ground and teetering backward.
Waves of rhythmic riffs coursed through the air as Rudolph moved from cymbals to congas, African drums to wind instruments, as well as hardware-store pipes and rubber bands. Oguri, his bare chest glistening under the jacket, crossed his arms before sweeping them in circles over the floor, balancing on one bent leg.
In this first of three free-form programs, Oguri proved a human slinky one moment, a stiff Borofsky sculpture the next. When shoes and jacket were finally removed, one welcomed the chance to gaze upon the malleable form that occasionally resembled a marionette manipulated by a coterie of opposing forces.
Even in stillness and silence, which the evening also encompassed, the skin-headed man with the beatific face filled the space with a sense of wonderment.