American Dance Festival, Week 2

June 18, 2008

Week two of the American Dance Festival has been officially named Spill out like Water. These words have surfaced in every situation I’ve been involved from basic conversation to the philosophies of artistic discourse. It started with Dairakudakan—I chose to do the Butoh piece. Butoh is a Japanese art from that originated in Post World-War II Japan. Dan Hermon says, “It’s a dance that has as much to do with meditation or martial art training as it does to dance in the conventional sense. It’s a directing of energy to the audience from the surroundings, the environment and the audience themselves as much as from the mind of the individual performer.”

The Dairakudakan Dance Company developed its own approach to creating Butoh drama. It lies in three (seemingly basic) principles. 1. Collecting elementary movements to develop ones awareness of daily behavior.  2. Understanding the idea, that something or someone possesses the body. 3. Believing that the body is not separate from the space around it. In each of these principles, there are exercises that help students to better understand how the experience of Butoh is created. Standing with our feet in parallel, we clear our minds by sending our energy, thoughts, and focus to our core, the pelvis. We are then asked to use our imaginations to fill our bodies with water, nothing but water will inhabit inside our skin. On command, we will begin to allow the water to spill out from the top of our heads, leaving our bodies empty, lifeless and vulnerable for possession. This experience has been the highlight of my time here so far. It’s like an outer body experience, but more so a transgress meditation I plan to use in my own process of making dances.

In the Trisha Brown Repertoire class I am taking, Abigail Yager, (known by me as Yager Bomb due to her explosive charisma as a dancer and her life changing and influential fire for dance processes,) we are learning Solo-olos. Just as a note, Trisha Brown, founding member of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962 and company owner in 1970 is known for her exploration in movement ideas, structure and collaborations. For Solo-olos specifically, the dancing focuses on function, precision, and communication. The movement should Spill out like water…. weight followed by breath, negotiating balance, followed by breath, interrupted by momentum, lead by the function of the creative process.

Spill out like Water
, has been a week of absorbing—no pun! Information is just raining and everyone is excited to get damp. Performances this week included the Trisha Brown Dane Company, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, John Jasperse, Eiko and Koma, and Zvi Dance…all inspiring all soaked in the well of dance rain. See you all next week!