A leading Japanese contemporary dancer and a Romanian choreographer premiered a collaborative show over the weekend aimed at raising money for victims of Japan's tsunami.
"Requiem. You know nothing about me" played to sell-out audiences over three nights in Bucharest.
The idea of a joint Romanian-Japanese show to honor and help Japanese victims was dreamed up by Razvan Mazilu, a Romanian choreographer and dancer who witnessed from afar the devastation of the tsunami.
"I feel tremendous admiration and sympathy for Japan, it's a truly special place and I believe dance can bring us together and help alleviate suffering," said Mazilu, who has helped popularise contemporary dance in Romania.
Mazilu reached out to Japanese dancer Motoko Hirayama through the help of the JTI Foundation in Romania. The pair did not previously know each other but had seen each other perform over the years.
"But it was like we'd known each other forever," Mazilu said.
The show was created online, through email exchanges and video sharing between the artists.
Money raised from the shows will help support victims of the magnitude-9 underwater earthquake, which generated a tsunami that struck much of Japan's northeastern coast, killing almost 20,000 people.
"The disaster in March left deep wounds in Japanese people's hearts," said Hirayama, who has also worked with the Bolshoi Ballet, the American Ballet Theater and the San Francisco Ballet.
"I wanted to support people through the power of art," she said.
The story is of two mature dancers, a man and a woman each with personal and professional issues, who meet at an audition in a narrowly lit dance studio. The music is composer Karl Jenkins's "Requiem."
"The two worlds, mine and Motoko's, Japan and Romania, masculine and feminine, start off as two parallel stories that eventually come together and intersect," Mazilu said.
The show ends under full lights, signalling a new beginning -- one of total communication, and perhaps love.
It will now travel to Sibiu, Cluj and Timisoara and the organisers hope to take it to Ukraine and Russia.
For Hirayama, the most important venue for the show would be in Japan.