A few months ago, shortly before the Tokyo premiere of his «Double Silence,» Japanese choreographer Saburo Teshigawara had said that if you isolate yourself in a place without any sounds, the only thing you can make out is your breathing and your heartbeat. He added that listening to such sounds amid silence is nothing other than the realization you are alive. A cult figure In his homeland, he is honored as a cult figure, probably because he is the only Japanese artist to meet with such fame in Europe – not just as a choreographer, but also as a set and lighting designer as well as a music composer for his own productions. His second project for 2009 is «Obsession – Un Chien A,» a duet that he performs along with Rihoko Sato and which is inspired by Luis Bunuel’s surrealist 1929 film «Un chien andalou» (An Andalusian Dog). The performance is set to open the 15th Kalamata International Dance Festival tonight and will be staged again tomorrow. In his 2007 solo «Miroku,» Teshigawara explored the feeling of human movement in time. In «Glass Tooth» (2006) he covered the stage with broken pieces of glass so as to reflect «fragmentary moments in time,» while in «Here to Here» (1995-2007), one of his more important projects, he called the audience to an «act of higher concentration.» In «Kazahana,» which in Japanese means «snowflakes drifting with the wind in a clear blue sky,» he delved into the relationship between beauty and time. Teshigawara says that there are no ideals in dance. He believes that dance is not simple, but that it can be made simple and then become complex again – clarity is what matters. On the occasion of his very first appearance in Greece, he spoke to Kathimerini. You have said that one of your company’s aims is to look for a «new form of beauty.» Yes. This kind of beauty is mostly based on the idea of a challenging spirit that focuses on experimenting. Beauty is not something that can be defined according to certain stereotypes nor is it influenced by an artist’s perceptions. It exists within the permanent values that we come to learn during our lives. What is the most important part of your work as an artist? It is the struggle between my own perceptions and conformity. Dance for me is a search, a struggle, a contradiction but also absolute joy. Where do you place «Obsession – Un Chien A» in your career? I have my own obsession – it is the human body. It came before this piece and it is my starting point for everything. Kalamata International Dance Festival, tel 27210.20186/20307, www. kalamatadancefestival. gr. A versatile artist Born in Tokyo, Saburo Teshigawara studied plastic arts and classical ballet. He started choreographing at the age of 28 and founded his company Karas in 1985, along with dancer and musician Kei Miyata. He received his first international distinction in 1986, at the Bagnolet International Choreography Competition. He is considered to be one of the choreographers who reshaped the image of dance in modern Japan. Apart from being a fascinating performer, he also has a holistic approach to his works, designing the lighting, the costumes and the sets as well as choosing the music all by himself. In his shows, he creates a complete artistic universe in which he manages to express the deepest feelings and the most abstract concepts. One of the main themes that can be seen throughout his work is that time exists only through human movement.