Preview:  Yumi Umiumare


Where: fortyfivedownstairs

When: September 28 – October 7

Call: 9662 9966


Preview: Stephen A Russell

Self-styled Butoh punk princess Yumi Umiumare cuts a striking figure as she pulls some fierce poses in her reflective silver kimono. 

Unafraid to tackle the hard stuff, she brings the latest instalment of her ongoing DasSHOKU series, SHAKE! to fortyfivedownstairs as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, exploring the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that shook Japan last year.

Mashing up the edgy Japanese street-dance style Butoh with elements of cabaret, Umiumare dumps cultural stereotypes, crafting something new and unique that finds light in the dark places. 

“There was a big shake in the Earth, but I feel like at a human level it also hit on a very deep level, emotionally and psychologically,” she says. “That triggered me to think about what does the shake mean? It’s not only the physical Earth, but also, as humans, we shake – sometimes for joy, sometimes out of numbness.”

She travelled to Osaka a week after the disaster. “It was raw, the national psyche,” she says. “There was an amazing amount of people helping out. I was moved.”

The broad spectrum of her experiences feed into the new performance. “It’s a bit funny, a bit scary and a bit sad,” she says.

Teaming up with regular collaborators, Osaka’s renowned Theatre Gumbo, as well as local performers, Umiumare says audiences are in for a wild ride: “a big mythical scene to start with ... a little weird cabaret ... followed by a meltdown before we reach the resolution.”

With Gumbo out of town, Umiumare has been doing the choreography via YouTube.  She hopes the resultant crazy jigsaw work will fit right with Fringe audiences.

“It’s a bit avant-garde,” she says. “It’s good to be confronting and experimental. It’s a massive visual feast; a total brain-number.”

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