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.