Merging dance, multimedia and live Taiko drumming, Shay Kuebler’s Karoshi (which is a Japanese term that translates literally to “death from overwork”) physically and visually depicts the clash between extreme societal pressure to conform and personal fulfillment. The five male dancers propel each other to feats thought impossible of the human body.
Kuebler, who has performed before at ArtSpring with Vancouver’s 605 Collective, brings this unique vocabulary of contemporary and hip hop dance combined with martial arts to turn out a high kicking, karate chopping, back flipping sensational performance that Salt Springers will not want to miss.
Exploring the idea of extreme working conditions, Kuebler takes anger-management to the next level in this explosive and darkly funny program set to the tone of suffocating pressures of Japanese business in the early 90’s.
Kuebler’s years of studying karate, strongly influenced his dancing and gave him a lifelong fascination for Japanese culture. In 2011, Shay visited Japan for a month long immersion in dance, martial arts, Taiko drumming and all things Japanese. Kuebler drew on these studies to create Karoshi.
“In working on Karoshi, I was fascinated by the extremely honorable values like dedication, discipline and respect that I learned as a child,” says Kuebler. “When pushed, these same values could actually damage a person.”
Part b-boy, ballet & contemporary dancer, martial artist, Kuebler’s Renaissance style is hard to pigeonhole. One could define him as one of the most dynamically physical dancers on the Vancouver scene. He pushes his physical capabilities by training intensively on a daily basis.
Could this type-A behavior be considered Karoshi?
“It’s the balance that’s really important,” says Kuebler. “It is really the mental break rather than the physical break that is the end result of Karoshi.”
As well as performing this incredible piece, Shay will be teaching a community dance workshop called Contemporary Movement and Dance Theory on Sunday, April 6, 1-3 pm at Cats Pajamas Studio (104 Langs Road). He will teach the participants how all dance techniques can reinforce and strengthen each other. Registration is open to dancers of all experience levels, ages 12 and over. Preregister at ArtSpring by phone 537-2102 or in person. The workshop fee is $20.
Tickets to the performance on Monday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. at ArtSpring are available by calling the Box Office at 537-2102 or online. Adults: $23; Youth: $5.
*And bring a plate to the show! It might become famous! You won’t get it back, but it could be used in the performance. (Plates made after 1970 preferred.)