Durante décadas Kazuko Hirabayashi e Ethel Winter foram o rosto da técnica Graham na famosa Juilliard School de Nova Iorque. Ambas eram consideradas mestras de alto gabarito e de grande qualidade pedagógica na área da dança moderna.
Miss Winter transmitia uma face “gentil” e “lírica” de uma época mais “primitiva” das vivências de Martha Graham, enquanto Kaz representava o vigor e a maneira desapaixonada de encarar aquela divulgada técnica. Ela juntava, ainda que involuntariamente, um toque de sensibilidade japonesa – algo cerebral – e uma exigência e disciplina muito apreciadas pela maioria dos seus alunos. Kazuko, que tinha um olho de lince, nunca se coibia nas aulas de dizer aquilo que era melhor para o aluno, ainda que não fosse, exactamente, aquilo que ele mais gostaria de ouvir para suavizar o seu trabalho. Deliberadamente puxava pelos jovens artistas até aos seus limites e essa era a maneira de os testar física e psicologicamente, avaliando as suas capacidades de prosseguir uma carreira profissional de sucesso.
A verdade é que Ethel Winter e Kaz forneciam em conjunto um ensino único e da maior qualidade possível numa escola famosa pela excelência artística e pedagógica.
Cada uma à sua maneira era uma referência do ensino da dança moderna, fora da antiga Escola da Companhia de Martha Graham, de que Kazuko Hirabayashi foi directora.
Ethel deixou-nos em 10 de Março de 2012, com 87 anos, e Kazuko em 25 de Março de 2016, com 82.
Kazuko Hirabayashi, a Japanese-born modern-dance choreographer who was even more widely known as an exceptional teacher and mentor to many leading dancers, died on March 25 at her home in Harrison, N.Y. She was 82.
Her death was confirmed by Daniel Madoff, a friend and former student who had been a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. He said she learned she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2012, the year after she retired from Juilliard, where she had taught since 1968.
As a choreographer, Ms. Hirabayashi came to early notice in the 1960s with a highly personal style that combined American modern dance and some ballet with a Japanese theatrical sensibility. Yet her own creativity in the two companies she founded and directed was eventually overshadowed by her international reputation as a teacher whose depth and dignity inspired extreme devotion from students at the Juilliard School and elsewhere.
“I would not be where I am today without Kazuko,” said Terese Capucilli, one of the most acclaimed dancers in Martha Graham’s company after the 1970s, who studied with Ms. Hirabayashi at the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase College.
Ohad Naharin, now director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel, and Robert Swinston, a major dancer in the Merce Cunningham company, were among “the hundreds of hundreds of individuals Kazuko helped to find their own way,” Ms. Capucilli said in a recent interview.
Mr. Madoff, also a former student at Purchase, said, “She told you what you needed to hear, not what you wanted to hear.”
Kazuko Hirabayashi was born on Oct. 18, 1933, in Nagoya, Japan. She received a bachelor of science degree from a college in Japan before coming to the United States in 1958 and enrolling at Juilliard. Martha Graham and members of her company taught there at the time along with other modern-dance figures like José Limón and the ballet choreographer Antony Tudor.
Ms. Hirabayashi later taught the Graham movement technique at Juilliard, Purchase, the Alvin Ailey school and abroad.
In 1965, she formed a troupe, Triad, with Richard Kuch and Richard Gain, two Graham dancers, and in 1967, she founded the Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater. At various times, she was director of the Graham school and director of the Martha Graham Ensemble, a junior troupe.
As a choreographer, however, she used her own more lyrical version of the Graham dance idiom. Reviewing Ms. Hirabayashi’s “Mudai” in The New York Times in 1972, Clive Barnes wrote: “The work is delicate, yet strong, passive and unflustered. Nothing seems done simply for effect.”
Ms. Hirabayashi is survived by two sisters.
Agredecemos ao jornal NYT e a Anna KISSELGOFF