From Program Notes:
In 1983 we premiered Grain in a small loft downtown in New York. It was a dance about how our lives—bodies, spirits, and
death—relate to an essential food (in Asia it is rice). For several years we performed Grain on tour and moved on to create other productions. In 2004 when we were in residence at Reyum Art School in Phnom Penh, not being able to present our more theatrical works, we performed a short section from Grain in the schoolyard. The Reyum children responded strongly and our friendship had begun. Though our communication was very limited, a group of older students, including Charian and Peace, decided to work with us. During the rehearsals and the tour of Cambodian Stories: An Offering of Painting and Dance (2005- 2006), we cooked and ate many many bowls of rice together, sharing stories and learning each other’s lives. For example, every day in Japan people offer a bowl of cooked rice to a family shrine to feed the deceased. In Cambodia, people throw rice balls to graves on festive days. We all seem to recognize that dead people also become hungry and need to be attended. In 2007, at the invitation of Charles Reinhart of the American Dance Festival, we asked Charian and Peace to learn Grain. It was a first time anyone else performed a dance we made for ourselves. Watching them, we remembered what motivated us to make Grain. With these beautifully hungry young friends, we wanted to create an evening of Hunger. At any age, we are all hungry not only for food but also for knowledge, intimacy, and life. In our wanting, we can be self- absorbed and sometimes even act unkindly to others. Dancing our hunger, however, we hope to not only address our desire to live but also mourn for those, dead or alive, whose hunger still haunts their spirits.
--Eiko and Koma
Read more about Hunger.