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.


Anonymous said...

thank you much for the information you posted about the kabuki plays, and the music in these plays/contemporary stagings of these plays.

Most interestingly, now, you write down your thoughts on movement transformations and "character," and I understand well, what you say about the transformation between the movement scenes in which you perform, asking what another ( a second character) might be like..... It is "RedMutant" that you are exploring in UKIYO,...... its sounds, colors, textures, the way you move, with/through it, the way it makes you respond to the other tones and colors in the space and in our imaginative world, the space you shift.

our "moveable world" (Ukiyio) is about shifting space, maybe shifting ground (in virtual space, no gravity; in our real space, gravity is there and yet we can make things virtual, you can dance an image that makes your audience think they float, they hover, they sink, they fly.

how did you imagine moving the breath of the space? or hold breath? you can push the audience to feel faster, slower, to feel the lemon in their pockets heavy, to raise the blush on their cheeks, make them feel their legs, standing or bending, you can provoke them, as you bring feelings out of your movement experience, and their experience.

we have not often talked about inner motives as i leave these to the individual dancers to find. I will be happy to work more with everyone on this, and also you need to let yourself be surprised by yourself. I noted you did not want to reenact the avatar choreography, which i asked you to. Maybe you don't like it, but it can bring back memories and the distortions of limbs and feet can also evoke a movement against the norm, provoke unremembered possibilites, something unpredicted. The "norm" would be what the factory and the automative industry and the automative choreography of certain forms require. the butoh approach to understanding how movement comes-in, moves-in, is surely different,say, from the "predermined execution of highly coded form, such as the coded form in traditional noh or kabuki, i suppose.

if you know Kabuki, why not play with stretching these movement forms and sounds (voice), in-forming our choreography-emergence as a whole, heating us up.

think of a heating room, steam room. how could we generate the 'smoke language" (the fog language)?
can you generate smoke with red? i am sure you can.

In this work, we are more interested in potentials and experimentations of the sound body, how far can you distribute your red form? spread it, lose it, sprinkle it, mash it up?

If the sleeve can be taken off, or extended, or shrunk, how would you do this? if the wires come off , what happens? if your scene (character) is working with red, could you imagine drawing a long line of "red" (real and imagined) along the white hanamichi? do you want to work with an additional red substance (red flour?), red metal, red brick?

I don;t mind if we call it something else than character.

I hope that all perfomers, working with Michèle and me, will push their limits a little bit here and there, and collaborating with Caroline and Olu & Oded will give us more to work with (sound, other images/rhythms), and so also with Doros and Eng Tat and Paul on the in-betweens, the intervals between movement image and projected photographic image....


katsurabbit said...

Dear Johannes,

Thank you for your thoughts.

I will come back to this post again and again at some points as I develop something in the performance. Now I see a limit of discussion on creation. What you say makes sense at a certain degree, but it does not immediately create anything in myself. I need to work step by step, really experiencing and convincing myself.

I am hoping there is lots of time for me to do this in Japan.