Friday, December 31, 2010
to share space, to claim that space to dance, to move, and to create no matter where I find myself. Even when I find myself in a suburban back yard with neighbors and housemates looking on.
Today while I dance I find the WOODs watching me, protecting me, moving with me, challenging me, and creating this SPACE and holding space for me to dance.
When Momo sent out the call to dance the elements, I immediately thought of how the elements dance within me. I don't think of "dancing the elements" as a metaphor. I'm not dancing like the wind, flowing like the water, moving like air. I am-- in a literal, measurable, concrete sense-- made up of water (mostly) and air (essentially) and minerals (more than just trace) and even fire ( food burns as I metabolize).
The presence of wood is a little harder to recognize in a concrete sense. But as I was dance here in the space created by the trees I can feel their presence. They create the air for me without which I couldn't live. The trees hold me. I am sustained by wood, they are in me.
I CLAIM SPACE, public space, the space in my home, the space in the city, and in the parks, and space in my time as space for movement, space for creation, space for dance.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
dance with water, ice, and wind.
At my last butoh session with Momo we worked with the various elements, earth, air, fire, water, space and wood. I find since I began butoh practice that I am continuously being challenged to see the environment around me in new ways. Concentrating on each of the elements gives me a bit of peripheral vision, so to speak.
Water is a common theme that I dance to and with. It seems very intuitive to me along with air because it is usually in motion and dynamic. Fire is almost always present in the form of the Sun, and Earth underfoot, acknowledging and paying them more attention can only help increase my awareness. Space has always touched a primal nerve with me, when I see a lot of it at once. Concentrating on the space around me, large or small, has better enabled me to see myself in relation to that space. And wood, it is a living element, absorbs a great deal of energy, and even when not alive carries on in strength.
I am still exploring these elements and what their connectivity is in relation to my dance and soul. Some of the concepts are new to me, yet I find myself instinctively accepting them. I am grateful for the opportunity to receive and learn and grow and share. Thank you all and may the new year bring us continued growth, connection, and realization.
In this dance I made an effort to acknowledge each of the elements and beings around me. A lone eagle circled above me bearing silent witness as I approached the river's edge. As is often the case water seemed to me the most obvious element, the one that most wants to express itself through me, yet all of the elements were there around me and today I shared dance with each one.
SCORES with WIND & SPACE
Like a lifetime friend or family member, like our homes and our body itself; we often take The Elements and the vital role they play in our lives for granted. This past week with the full moon, lunar eclipse, winter solstice and a 4 day retreat with the Grandmothers to practice deepening our connection with AIR; I was reminded of the profound debt I owe to all of The Elements; but especially to AIR. I do not know any being who has given me, and all humans, as much as AIR. Just think that our life itself would not be possible, no atmosphere, no breath, no motion, no sound, no voice. If we lost AIR, even for 15 minutes, nothing as we know it would BE! Grandmother encouraged me to think back upon how air brought me to where and whom I am now. I envisioned the windy storm that brought my Irish ancestors headed for New York off course to New Orleans instead and led them up the Mississippi to begin farming in the mid-west. I remembered that it was "Spirit Wind" that led me to find Butoh when I was painfully forcing myself to complete a Broadway track theater MFA at an acting conservatory in Florida. I honored the relentless and unnerving gales in Port Townsend that blew me back to live on Whidbey Island where so much richness, healing, knowledge, love and balance that is my current life would never have been possible otherwise. I could not have flown through the air on the great metal birds that brought me to Japan, New York, Costa Rica, Hawaii and so on. If it were not for the motion of the AIR all of my travels and transformations would have stagnated.
I owe a great debt to my relation the AIR for sure. Grandmother asked my proposal of how I would take responsibility for that primary relationship. My answer involved daily dance, prayer and meditation practices recognizing and offering to The Elements AND....this project, the YearOfCo11aboration with MomoButoh Dance Company because it is one way I can publicly uphold and celebrate my lifetime commitment to love, honor and cherish The Elements with my words/thoughts/actions, till death do us continue to intermingle.Last week at Centrum in Port Townsend, I attended the annual 3 day Contact Improvisation Jam. The spaces, events and company to dance with all day and night were so refreshing. After a good long lab session about the techniques of falling with grace in partnership, we scooted out to catch the wind and last rays of dusk on the bluff overlooking the Straight of Juan de Fuca. This Flocking Score was very spontaneous, totally not rehearsed or even spoken of before hand--as you can see by our actions; that our director Michal Lahav called "Beautiful foolishness." We were certainly influenced by the strong presence of the AIR in our shifting and waving flock going to and fro together as well as this vast venue of unbounded SPACE. The music was added afterwards as the wind sounds on the film were deafening and the dance matched so well with this live jazz.
After the group flocking, I celebrated and gave thanks to our unseen partner, the WIND, with a short solo/duet just between us. It is strange how much enjoyment and love I feel for the wind on one hand and on the other hand my unsettled feelings with this very same wind that drove me away from living here in Port Townsend. I guess that kind of ambiguity and paradox is the nature of any long term committed relationship, and certainly with this one I have with the WIND.
"For a dancer, God is Space." -Yoshito Ohno
I consider SPACE to be the consciousness and awareness that we have of ALL The Elements in life and dance. If it were not for SPACE we would not have the context for our creations. Although MomoButoh Dance practice often occurs outdoors and in all sorts of elemental and day to day locations, the traditional dance studio SPACE with a wonderful WOOD floor remains a most heavenly canvas for creation in our profession. During this moon of The Elements; I see the countless ways that WOOD and SPACE have contributed to my being but, with our dark wet Pacific Northwest winter weather, the simple indoor studio SPACE with a WOOD floor to dance upon with others who wish to share that experience has been the most necessary and precious gem. A dream I intend to realize in 2011 is the creation of a MomoButoh Dance Studio. It is an actual place, build by hand, with a floor made of wood, it is circular or oval, light filled, cozy and spacious; it is set in a beautiful & private natural area with plenty of room for a group to train, retreat, perform, dwell and rest. Please help me hold this image and work to realize it this coming year so that we can begin retreats and training here in 2012!
A couple of weeks ago I attended a workshop with Karen Nelson about Improvisation for Performance. We learned and eventually performed the Tuning Score and Single Image Score originally conceived by Lisa Nelson. The videos below are excerpts from our public showing of the practice that included dancers and witnesses crafting the performance experience they desired by calling directions aloud during the dance. All of the scenes begin with the dancer entering with eyes closed. Mostly we had to sense the SPACE using our perceptions of sound, touch and motion from the response of the WOOD floor and furniture. If you listen carefully, you can hear the distinctive creaks and calls from witnesses. The call "Pause" means just that and "End" means to clear the space altogether. The call "Play" means to continue with the action, "Reverse" means to go backwards from that point; "Report" means to offer a verbal report of one's current experience; and "Replace" means to take the place of another person. Then at some point the vocal call "Open" means that the visual sense is brought into play or "Closed" means it is denied again. I loved how this score heightens dancers skills of perception and imagination by limiting some options such as movement and sight. When re-crafting the live experience into video it was fascinating how the practice seemed even stronger somehow on film given the relationship to the media (video & audio players) that was the origin of the metaphors of "pause," "play," "reverse" that we were exploring.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
This past 6 months since master Kazuo Ohno passed have been deep ones for soul searching and development. I had to take a rest from the computer for a while to regroup, recharge and revision the direction to take with MomoButoh. I spent three days and nights just prior to his birthday in October in dark retreat for deep visioning and prayer. I was laying in a hut upon the EARTH without light, movement, food or water. Upon emerging just before dawn, I danced awkwardly with this new body, a new life. (See film below) Thank you dear ancestor sensei for providing the ground, the foundation upon which I dwell (and especially your precious gift of your fabulous long underwear!). May these daily dances build upon and reach beyond the foundation you created for us all. .
Monday, December 13, 2010
What does it take to survive? What is our most precious resource? Basic questions like this applied to The Elements Project are what stimulates me to action today....and every day (thanks to attending a "Dance Making for Performance" workshop with Karen Nelson using the Tuning Score this past weekend).
Sent to Boulder Contact Improvisation community by Lindsay Sworski.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
The core of the 11/11 Salmon Restoration Project is our process of mating & dying. At this point we arrive at a spiral HOME where our collective sex & death leads to stillness and then rebirth. It is the essential re-turning point from/to which the salmon will always return. This film is taken at that point along our journey; perhaps the most potent experience of group unity and transformation as well as the densest sensual and emotional impact for all participant/witnesses. In our full body/soul surrender to this cycle of life; we intend to re-member all beings who have been injured by our human ignorance & greed. Please view this short film and share your comments about our emerging YearOfCo11aboration. If you feel resonance with this work and would like to participate more, receive our daily posts and/or be an on-going witness to share this global project; please add your email address in the form on upper right. Thank you.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Today we welcome a new member to our MomoButoh Dance Company inner circle. Her name is Misty Hannah and she currently hails from Cork, Ireland. I am very happy about her joining us, please take a momomoment to greet her as soon as you can.
Returning home; after Salmon Spawning having immediately many days of travel to Truckee to see grandson Sage, to Costa Rica to be with grandson Antuan; my life is filled with family and taking time for my dance, my integration is a balancing act, ritual needed.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Photos of 11/11 Ritual Butoh Dance Pilgrimage to Mile 11 at Oyster Creek by brooke.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
After many years of pressing onward as a "unique" individual performing artist and instructor; I have come to realize that what the world needs now is GROUP mind...."Let's do it TOGETHER." Although each of our personal contributions --(sending powerful ripples in the great ocean of consciousness) are absolutely critical; truly great & powerful REVOLUTIONS in art, spirituality and culture are NOT going to happen from a single human being. This is why we have formed the MomoButoh Dance Company Collaborative Projects & Performances. We hope you will explore, engage and perhaps join our collaborative circle. AND, most importantly, we are not just collaborating with HUMAN BEINGS....but ALL BEINGS in our projects--like the leaping salmon, swooping eagles on 11/11 and this cloud image that appeared above a daily dance.
In this vein I have an exciting 11/11 related FISH story from awesome stone artist Krista Guss (of the Illumination Project) to tell and a powerful & inspiring quote from the awesome sound artist Brian Eno to share.
From the latest outpouring of EnlightenNext Magazine comes this to ponder:
Throughout his forty-year career, British musician and record producer Brian Eno has collaborated with some of the most innovative rock musicians of our time, from David Bowie and U2 to Paul Simon and the Talking Heads. And he's learned a lot about "genius" in the process. To Eno, genius is as much a product of the vibrant culture surrounding individuals as it is of the individuals themselves. In a speech he gave at the 2009 Luminous Festival in Sydney, Australia, he discussed his new term, "scenius," which he defines as "the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene":
[When] I was an art student . . . I was encouraged to believe that there were a few great figures like Picasso and Kandinsky . . . who sort-of appeared out of nowhere and produced artistic revolution. As I looked at art more and more, I discovered that that wasn't really a true picture.
What really happened was that there [were] sometimes very fertile scenes involving . . . all sorts of people who created a kind of ecology of talent. . .So I came up with this word "scenius." . . . And I think that's a more useful way to think about culture. . . . Let's forget the idea of "genius" for a little while. Let's think about the whole ecology of ideas that give rise to good new thoughts and good new work.