Friday, 27 November 2009

My 2nd character

People may think that dance is a form of theatre or drama without words, but it is not true. Dance is broad and I am talking about contemporary dance. And still contemporary dance can be broad. Some works requires dancers to be certain characters if the work is based on a story. These days it is becoming more popular to use voice or language with dance performance, therefore, dance is becoming closer to theatre. And theatre may borrow some knowledge from dance, so theatre is becoming closer to dance too. There is no clear boundary.

Yet, I have been realising that the crucial element in dance would be its sensory experience. Talking from my own experience, dancers spend years and years for training, which at first seems to aim at gaining dance techniques with extraordinary control over the body movement. And if an experienced dancer keep exploring moving their own bodies, it reaches to the point where the body is integrated with the mind. One can think with one's body, but one's mind. The body thinking is based on one's experience through the life since one's born. The experience is the knowledge.

Creative process or any creative activities involves this kind of knowledge. It is like sediment in the body, and as we try to create something, we dig into the body and some of the sediment rises up on the surface. If the disclosed particles are distilled well enough, they would have power to communicate with others and the viewer.

This is my idea of body, movement and performance that come from somatic perspective.

Now, when I am asked to create a character, it is very difficult to me. I need some sensory information to form myself and my movement. Some may be able to create a character based on emotional information (which I think is more theatrical approach) but I am not familiar with the approach.

In Ukiyo, each performer is supposed to have two characters. In the lab last Sunday, Michele reminded me that ancient Japanese believed gods in any creatures and objects, and the spirit transforms a form of creature or object into something else.

From my limited knowledge on Butoh, I know transformation is one of the main issue they are dealing with in their performance. I am not particularly Butoh dancer but I find myself agreeing with their philosophy now and then. This time, I met Butoh again.

Something interesting to see in performance is not two different things; A and B, but the transition between A and B. And it is a real challenge for the performer because s/he needs to understand the transformation and its motivation fully and embody it.

I like this challenge and it is real worth exploring, as I believe powerful convincing performance as the result.

I wonder if there is any space for me to do this in the Ukiyo.

In lab on Sunday, Oded suggested us three performers to focus on the clattering sound of my red sleeve. The clearer focus made the performance more interesting and meaningful.

I even don't have words to describe my first character but the red sleeve is the only thing I am holding onto for the performance. All my performance there is inspired by the red sleeve.

In order to create my second character, I have to start from here. How does this red sleeve that makes clattering sound transform? To what?
I am going to collect visual and audio samples that relates to the red sleeve, and I will see where it goes.

I am happy to share this process with the team, especially Michele, Oded and Paul, so that we can work on other aspects of the work at the same time and they would have more interrelationships.

See you in Tokyo in a week time.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Japanese Traditional Music 3- Super Kabuki

And here you are. This is a contemporary version on Kabuki theatre. Everywhere in the world, there are attempts to create contemprary interpretation of something traditional. Super-Kabuki is established by a senior Kabuki actor, ISHIKAWA Ennoske III in 1986. They use a classical Japanese epics but not from the ones from traditional Kabuki. The performers are still well-trained Kabuki actors but the stage settings and techniques are more challanged.

Japanese Traditional Music 2- Ondekoza drummers

I put this video of Ondekoza, a Taiko drummers orchestra, so that you can see the musical instrument. This band belong to the same category as Kodo, more widely known taiko drummers who often performs abroad. But I like Ondekoza more since I feel more space and details in the music than Kodo.

Traditional Japanese Music- traditional Kabuki dance

Johannes asked me about traditional Japanese music in Kabuki theatre.

Kabuki is a kind of musical theatre that consists of dance, music (though dancers and singers roles are completely seperated) and acting to tell a story, often a love story. All the performers are male and traditionally a son follows the father's foot.

Here is a very classic traditional dance piece Sagi Musume (Heron Maiden) performed by my favorite admirable Kabuki actor, BANDO Tamasaburo.

It may seem slow at the beginning (at least for me). But I'd advise you to watch till the end becuase there is a surprise!

So this was just a tird of the piece. If you like, you can see the following part.

Then the last part.

How did you enjoy?

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Rite of Spring

I suddenly remembered a production of Stravinski's ballet Rite of Spring which I saw more than 20 years ago. What was really interesting about that production was that it consisted of a sequence of short solos by different dancers (perhaps there were a few duos in there). I rememebr that is was very powerful with the choreography of each short section very impressive (I still remember the experience).
The reason I mention it here is that it is possible to have a powerful, dynamic performance based on dance solos. In the last meeting I observed (and I think some agreed) that the individual contributions are good but the interaction between the dancers is less strong. We didn't really consider the option of embracing the one-dancer-at-a-time option at all. Maybe it's not for us, maybe it's not for this piece. But, I think, we should give this option a thought.
I was hoping to find some documentation of the preformance I saw somewhere (and I might still trace it) but in the meantime I found this: