作者 Eugenia Casini Ropa Bologna大學教授
雖然重新喚起潛藏的好奇心，大家好像還是沒注意到他突然的死訊，最主要是因為所有人都被認為他早就過世了。而且命運的安排使大野先生的逝世就緊隨在另外兩位二十世紀後期舞壇「偉人」離世之後：摩斯‧康寧漢(Merce Cunningham)，以及令人哀痛，早逝的碧娜•鮑許(Pina Bausch)。在他們之間，這些舞台的傳奇產生了最震撼人心的創造經驗。但他們的消失是有刺激作用，再度引起人們的慾望去瞭解一位訃聞裡提到是獨特且無可仿效的藝術家，至少透過其他人的經驗。每個學生，舞者，朋友，研究者的第一個問題總是：「作為一個看過大野一雄表演的人，對妳而言，他在舞台上如何呢？」
And how was he, Kazuo Ohno?
excerpted from “Kazuo Ohno Chronicle of a Life Time 1906-2010” (2010)
by Eugenia Casini Ropa Professor of University of Bologna
“You don’t mean to say he was still alive?" was the phrase that sprang to most people’s lips on reading the newspapers’ announcement of the death of Kazuo Ohno, the grand master of modern Japanese dance in early June.
In a world governed by haste and immediacy, where news and events are confused and consumed in a flash-second, where images need to be obsessively repeated in order to leave the slightest trace in our collective memories, the slow, silently wasting away final years of an ancient, Asian dancer were not deemed newsworthy. It was simply as as though he was no longer alive. Even among those many insiders, dance critics, theatre directors and impassioned theatregoers reigned a sad uncertainty, even a certain indifference, regarding the fate of somebody who until not so long ago, they enthusiastically applauded. While the various events held to mark his 100th birthday in Italy, as well as in other locations throughout Europe, fleetingly revived his popularity, notably in student and cultural circles, these celebrations were almost like the last nail in his coffin. Kazuo Ohno subsequently became history and devoid of significance, an artist only to be discovered in his archives.
Some eleven years have passed since Kazuo Ohno’s last public Italian appearance in Venice; even on that occasion not many were fortunate to see him perform on-stage. In recent rimes, Butoh performances, with which Ohno’s name has invariably been identified in Europe, have become noticeably all-too-rare, particularly in Italy. Nowadays, it has turned into a specialised form, practised by young dancers as a means of personal, poetic, and technical enhancement, as well as a form or aesthetic representation. For those under forty, — or even for many of those older — Ohno’s existence had been relegated to nostalgic phrases uttered among friends, or disconcerting images seen while browsing through a book, all the while somehow underpinning vague impressions of a distant culture.
Reawakening a dormant curiosity, his unexpected death took everybody unawares more so for the reason he was presumed already dead. Circumstances were such that Ohno’s passing came in the wake of the departure of two other ‘greats’ in the dance world of the late 20th century: Merce Cunningham, and the painfully premature death of Pina Bausch. Between them, these stage legends engendered some of the most striking creative experience. Their disappearance acted as a stimulus, and renewed the desire to get to know, at least through the experience of another, an artist, whose obituaries referred to as unique and inimitable. Invariably everybody, students, dancers, friends, researchers would follow the first question with: “For you, as somebody who saw Ohno perform, how was he on-stage?"
What they really want to know was how Ohno danced, how he moved on-stage, and particularly how was it possible that such an elderly man could fascinate his spectators to such an extent that their eyes twinkled on seeing him perform, and were to twinkle yet again as they recalled witnessing him on-stage. At this point, the eye witnesses become emboldened, feeling themselves privileged and yet responsible to hand-on and transmit to future generations, in the most convenient form, the memory of an artist so cherished and unique, of a man whose dance was the cornerstone of his existence and philosophy, and whose small, ageing body miraculously manifested the universe’s vital energy, and until the last moment of his mortal existence was ever ready to metamorphosize. Now that Kazuo Ohno has happily taken his place in death’s silent realm, the onus falls upon us to correctly grasp his true measure in the history of mankind, all the while perpetuating the mystery of an artist.