Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ongoing Exchange

One of the sweetest parts of the MomoButoh Dance Company is the ongoing creative exchange, mutual inspiration and support we cultivate with one another as a team. I've been lucky to have ongoing check-ins with each member as I coach their butoh and life/art processes individually. In addition, with our group blog, "buddy system" and monthly conference call to check in with every member; we are ALL now able to develop intimate ongoing intermodal arts exchanges and keep current on the latest with one another. This kind of cyclic art dialog is surprisingly supportive and fun. Here is a delightful film by Patricia that shows innovative use of media to facilitate the process with this type of exchange. Some of Lees recent posts also focus on this "riffing" off of one another's inspiration.

Last moon Patricia told me a dream she had wherein she was watching me lovingly emerge in and out of a pool of water. We gazed into one another's eyes as I surfaced and submerged. When I was on the red rocks in Sedona, AZ recently I wanted to dance this dream image. The film below is that dance.
Patricia also sent me a fantastic little hand illustrated graphic storybook (see photo above). Today, I wanted to dance with that as my Significant is an imaginary journey with an imaginary insect. The other film below shows that aesthetic response.

This moon Patricia and I are butoh "buddies." We both want support and accountability for our daily Significant Other practice with plants and animals so we are partnering up to exchange in this way with one another. We will be reporting to one another and on the blog about how it is coming along. Yesterday was our first S.O. plant dance for the month. Coincidentally we both had just gathered "sticks:" hers, two echinacea stalks topped with dried flowers that looked like huge insect antennae; mine a sensual piece of driftwood I'd gathered some years ago on a remote Pacific Ocean beach. We entered S.O. practice and she danced with my stick and I with hers. It reminded us that the intention and usual result of this practice is awakened attention and deepened connection with others in relationship. After we danced today, we checked in and her response to her own SO practice was: "the little and the big, parallel lines twig, last year's growth, this year's promise of seeds. tightly packed and all is promise, all is a seed pod."
Music: Philip Glass
Music: Kitaro
Thank you for watching our films, for your comments and for following our blog. If you like this work, please like us on Facebook & follow us on Twitter for most current info!

dreaming of balance

"The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don't know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened." Unknown Author
My art of Patricia's dream (above)...
Patricia and I shared our dreams once again via 'skype' - drawing each other's dreams as they were being shared...
One of the images I drew of Patricia's dream was of two columns... with a whirlwind (nourishment - a green blender drink :~) swirling in the middle... books and furniture being moved... In another, there was also a strong concrete column supporting an overhang...
Patricia's art of my dream below... a dream of concern - once I made it to the top of the slippery snow covered mountain, how would I descend?
The undercurrent of the dream (and both of our dreams), however, was one of trust and letting go, and in that process, 'all would be well.'
At my last mentoring session with Momo she spoke of 'Hitobashira' - that which creates a framework, bridge, or pillar. When one dances 'Hitobashira' you gracefully enter or touch the space around you to begin, then establish your axis between poles of opposites - such as above and below, life and death, etc... From this place, you can open gateways of exchange with other beings around you (animate and inanimate) and then explore the poles of opposites... and in the uncertainty, shaking and imbalance might ensue... with the potential of eventually finding balance...
There is a also an element of stepping off into the unknown through this practice... a surrendering into the flow and / or an acceptance of a burden...
Momo's dance performance is incredibly moving, danced post the earthquake in Japan, a dance evoking the unstable earth beneath us and feelings within us....
In a friend's garden, with her outdoor furniture strewn about (aka Patricia's dream of furniture moving), I had an opportunity to dance Patricia's dream combined with elements of mine... the 'columns' becoming unstable, the desire to climb up, while being challenged by the slippery 'slope' and the final surrender into the flow...
Feeling grateful for this practice of connection and this means in which to embody the literal challenges of finding balance in life... heart-full thank you Patricia, and Momo...
Music: Yungchen Lhamo
Filmed by Momo

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

a clearing

"For a dancer, God is SPACE." -Yoshito Ohno

Before there can be anything, there must be a clearing. In this clearing a11 creation is possible. This is true for butoh as it is for life. We may have tried and tried to "make" something happen and then one day; one moment, it just was clear.

The gratitude I feel for finally beginning to realize this 20+ year dream of creating a butoh dance sanctuary is immense. It is barely beginning to manifest and already I feel clear what will come forth here. First, a clearing...then a calling...then a blessing & seeding....then a team building & sweating & working & playing....then a grand opening.....then an entering...then a being, creating, dancing, improvising, growing, moving, blossoming! Just like for a flower, this spring ground is being prepared for a spacial mandala of sacred geometry filled with dance & community to grow up, flower and offer its fruits here.

But, amidst the celebration let us not forget the LOSS....of life. The sacrifice of plants & animals here so that this vision might come forth. The feelings are mixed here of such joy, excitement and gratitude with remorse, compassion, tenderness and asking forgiveness from these relatives who's lives are being changed, and in some cases ended, because of our dream coming true. Beloved relatives, we care and thank you for your offerings and for allowing this clearing to be made. We will continue to converse with you as we dance here for a long time to come.

There will be a SEEDING ceremony and celebration here the first week of May. This is always a most special week for me because in my family, most all of us were born in this week and in Japan it is always the "Golden Week" holidays. Now it will also be the time when we will thank all who made this possible (including YOU) and SEEDs of blessing will be planted in the central foundation pi11ar for this space. Although this 11-sided dance & retreat space is designed to be totally portable, this first location is very significant. The seeds we place here in this 7-sided pi11ar ("Bashira" in Japanese) will become a time capsule of sorts that can be hatched again some generations in the future to reveal the qualities we held as ancestors. What will the world be like then? Will our butoh have made a difference?

I know there will be gifts in there from my forbears & the "roots" of butoh: Kazuo Ohno, Yoshito and the land of Japan itself. I know there will be objects and blessings from my fellow dancers, closest family and friends as well as many students and members of our company. If YOU feel called to include an object of blessing, a SEED; please let me know and I will tell you the address to mail it...or better yet, to come plant it yourself in person!

ALSO: Contact Momo asap if you are interested in joining our Somatic Building Site Butoh workshop for one or more of 9 weekends between Memorial Day & October 9th....Please consider joining us at the MomoButoh Somatic Building Site (ala work of Nala Walla & bCollective). Build sweat equity and learn mad ski11s with a superFUN team and master craftsman. Interns get FREE butoh & building instruction, all organic vegetarian meals, accommodations and bodywork on beautiful Whidbey Island. Spaces filling fast--only 4 left for Memorial Day weekend.
wilderdance photo above by tim lacey
So, this dance comes between the April DREAM Project and the May PLANTS & ANIMALS project--addressing them both.
music: Ursula Keiser, Jodlerklub Eglisau
Thank you for watching our films, for your comments and for following our blog. If you like this work, please like us onFacebook & follow us on Twitter for most current info!

sakura - blossoming dreams

on the old plum tree
blossom by blossom
the spring thaw is born


Patricia and I continued to share and dance our dreams via 'Skype'... I shared a dream I had of a woman who was dressed in a black raincoat who was stumbling underneath a street light... she then transformed into a pink blossom and was joined by other blossom-women in a dance...
Patricia shared her dream...

Patricia drew my dream... I drew her dream... with her dream woven in... with her previous dream also woven in... our dreams... dreams within dreams...
My art above...

Patricia's art below...
While walking in the arboretum on this unseasonably cold April day, I was moved to dance my dream / interpretation of my dream / Patricia's art of my dream, my art of my dream, and my art of her dream...
The petals are falling! The petals are falling!... Today, mixed with thunder, lightening, rainbows and hail-pebbles, spring's sweet snowfall...
Love this dance practice of connection... to one another and to the natural world... grateful for the beauty of mama earth that abounds...
Thank you for viewing... I hope this dance practice may inspire you to dance with the blossoms near you, before they fall like snow to the earth...
Music: Phillip Glass
Filmed by Brooke

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Significant Other Practice

"Significant Others" Workshop in Boulder
"Significant Other" (S.O.) is one of the MomoButoh training practices. It is a way of revealing the soul through the flesh and spontaneously devising meaningful improvisational dance & choreography. It intentionally enhances relationships with a11 beings through active artful engagement and conscious exchange of energy. These Others could be living human beings; any beings in the natural world; or (seemingly) "inanimate" objects who each have an essence that moves you in some way to an aesthetic response.
S.O.s can be in physical or imaginal form....such as drawings, dream images or characters.
You can go out looking for an S.O. to dance with OR....when you happen to MEET an Other that feels Significant or meaningful for you in some way.....
The 7-step practice works like this:
1. Sensually pay attention to the Other in a way that feels honorable & comfortable. This could be as simple as witnessing with eyes or more deeply engaged like touching or sharing breath.
2. Receive something tangible from the Other through your senses and imagination.
3. Offer something tangible to the Other with your body and voice.
4. Allow a free conversation and/or dance of exchange to emerge between you spontaneously.
5. Thank the other for sharing this experience with you.
6. Continue on; carrying some "jewels" & "seeds" in the form of gifts and/or challenges from the exchange.
7. Freely draw, dance, write, speak, sing, sculpt, make a film, etc... about these "jewels" & "seeds" to re-cycle & re-member. Continue to embody & share this experience as an offering to your greater community.

Please try this and let us know how it goes with a comment below!!

This coming May moon our MomoButoh Company theme will be Plants & Animals. I am encouraging all of us to regularly, even daily, dance with at least one Significant Other plant &/or animal. Then to develop a special intimacy over time with ONE plant and ONE animal that holds particular meaning for you.

This dance in film below happened when arriving to prepare for the "Significant Other" 3-day workshop I co-led with Melinda Harrison in Boulder this past February. I was very "wound up" and ungrounded after a long car/plane/bus trip from Seattle that day. This dance allowed me opportunity to intimately engage with the Significant Others (sky, stones, mountains, plants) of this new environment, ground myself here and unwind some of the tension from the journey.
Hope you enjoy! Feel free to contact me if you want to explore these practices further AND leave any comments about your impressions below. Thank you.
music by Serena Tideman.... support her "Serene Dream" Kickstarter Album Project HERE!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

axe murder

Sorry if the title is a bit shocking, I wanted to convey the shock I feel from what you are about to see.

This is off of our current dream theme, but I feel it is very relevant as Friday is Mother Earth Day.

This billion dollar Gateway project is but a drop in the bucket of all the affronts against the Earth that are taking place. But we have to start somewhere. This is in my backyard, even though it is taking place across an international border it is something that affects everybody.

I'm going to copy here the comments I wrote on this video on YouTube.

North Delta, British Columbia, Canada. Approaching Earth Day 2011.......

I, Rev, am saddened and disgusted to witness the wholesale desecration of some of the last remaining stands of trees along the urbanized area of the Fraser River; the purpose of which is to build a new carbon-monoxide spewing highway.

The ecological damage caused by this assault upon Nature, the destruction of ancient aboriginal sites, and the robbing of taxpayer pockets that this project involves is nothing short of criminal.

After the dance, saw a coyote trotting along the railroad tracks below; probably wondering where his forest has gone. Shortly before filming, met a man who had grown up in the house that once stood in the pit you see in the video. This poor fellow was on the verge of tears seeing the view shared here. I commiserate and would like to offer hope that we can make a difference; that we can put our energies together and stop these things from happening if we are able to make our voices loud enough to be heard by the short-sighted profit-mongers responsible.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lee's Raincoat

I danced Lee's dream of a flowering from under under a raincoat.
Struggle climbing.
Struggle resistance.
Wind and surrender.
From our continued sharing we learned that twin messages appeared in both our dreams: "All will be well." "All will be well."

Music by Azam Ali.

The effect of dancing Lee's dream is like gazing into a mirror with a mirror.
The possibilities of reflection, with the help of the other, are infinite.

With gratitude to all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Open Letter to MomoButoh Company with SE USA Tour News/Photos/Video

(NOTE: This POST began as a personal email letter to our MomoButoh Company Members only but then I thought--why not share it on our BLOG to reveal more of our inner workings to everyone who cares to witness--or maybe join us.)

Dear MomoButoh Dream Clan,

We have a date eh?

There is SO much to share!

A dream date….a date and time to share our dances, dreams, feelings, ideas, actions, intentions…..

Please come if you can to SKYPE together for our once moony conference conversation call at 10 AM PST, 11AM MST, 12 noon EST on Saturday April 23….all together now & then!

The subject will again be our dreams and visions as they relate to our butoh dance paths.

This has been a trippy time to say the least, especially with mercury retrograde….Have you been noticing an unusually high number of quirky mis-communications and techno or directional glitches? Carolyn and I certainly have as we made our way along through the maze of the southeast USA highway/byway and university academia systems. Thank goodness that April 23 is supposedly the last day of that adventure.

I feel a new wave of members about to join us….perhaps. We met and made very strong connections with a great deal of enthusiastic dancers in Florida & N. Carolina.

I think that Patricia is the only one who (sadly :-( ) can not make it for the call this time round. I will be calling folks so if you will NOT be available or will need to join us late, please let me know asap. THANKS!

Otherwise, lets arrange for our various one to one session times by Skype or in person soon. Please let me know what day/time would suit you. Now that I am back from the tour, my time is a bit more open and flexible. I will (with Lee as well) be in "moon time" from April 16-19 so that is not avail.

This moon….

Im holding prayers especially for Meha/David and their Daughter's family as she prepares to birth any day now….for Carolyn as she continues on to her not yet known living/working/life arrangement…..for John and I as we break ground and start building the FLOOR of the new MomoButoh Dance & Retreat Center…..for our non-human relations as they grapple with human created toxic stresses…..for all of us as we do our best to mitigate the effects of radiation and other poisons as well as set our sights on UNITY and BALANCE and LOVE among all beings on this planet and beyond.

TODAY (as i write) 4/12/11 is called a VICTORY DAY in the Vedic Calendar. Today is also Carolyn's Birthday….It was an honor and pleasure to share this time with her culminating in her solar return radiance today. Please remember her in your wishes. AND since it is a VICTORY DAY it is an especially good day to START NEW PROJECTS OR SET GOALS/WISHES FOR THIS YEAR. Carolyn and I stated new intentions over a birthday lunch. All you need to do is write or say the thing you want to begin today and it will be blessed and given extra added juice for fruition! neat!!

I spoke the following (among a couple other things) and thank you for bearing witness:

I Maureen Momo C Pemesal Freehill declare that:

1. The MomoButoh Dance & Retreat Center building project will be beautiful & OPEN for practice by 11/11/11.

2. At which time MomoButoh & all us "11s" will CELEBRATE the great success of co-creating in love, unity and balance a Year of Co11aboration & dancing with ALL our relations….in the space AND at Mile 11 AND at 2K seat Theater in Seattle.

Now that this great wave of touring is subsiding, i have strong wish & intention to POST the past months dances, images, stories, lessons on our BLOG. I apologize that it has taken so long and thank those of you who have continued to post when you can ….YOU make it possible to keep the flow and mutual support of our company alive! Great bow of BIG gratitude! If feels right to be moving out of being main focal point of sharing work and revealing the fu11 CIRCLE of a11 our mutual creativity, support and leadership. I want this to be the way more teams and companies function everywhere. Each of us has a vital part of the WHOLE intelligence to contribute.

Also I will be sending out a general invitation to all who have expressed interest in residential butoh training/internships and/or the building project. We will be accepting 6 "interns" over a total of NNE work party weekends over a 6 month period from late MAY- mid OCTOBER. People who want to join will reply to these questions:

What dates do you want to join us?

Open Work/Dance Party Weekends are as follows:

May 28-29.... June 4-5 & 25-26....July 9-10....August 27-28.....Sept 3-4 & 24-25.....Oct 1-2 & 8-9

Why do you want to join us for this project?

What dance movement and/or building/construction experience do you have? (none needed)

Do you have any special needs or limitations for accommodation, food, physical activity that will help us to support your participation in this project?

I invite all of our members to answer these questions too…..soon please if you want to be included as one of "the 6."

our 11/11/11 time will include an OPENING BLESSING and FIRST DANCE ceremony in the space. (It might be the day before/after depending on the actual 11/11/11 time schedule availability)

OK, I think that is enough said for now. Thank you for reading, keeping in touch and dancing freely. MOre soON….Love to you a11, mOMo….


with HUGE gratitude to A11 who we encountered along the way.....Domo Arigato Gozaimasu...O Tsukare Sama Deshita!

by momo & carolyn:

Our Charriot: "Coro11a Masa" with Siesta Key Parking Fairy.
Delicious Movement..."Touch/One-Der/Water" on Siesta Key beach.

"DailyDance: A Life of Butoh" workshop at Asheville, NC BeBe Theater April Fool's Butoh Festival 2011. Below MomoButoh's "Spring Tryptic" at Festival Closing.
Momo performs
"Still Mo-ment Rising" at April Fool's Butoh Festival closing night.

Momo performs "Hitobashira" at April Fool's Butoh Festival closing. Video below.
Carolyn Boucher, Sheri Brown, Bob Lyness & Momo perform "Flower Child."

"Touch/One-der/Water" MomoButoh Workshop in Greenville, NC at Jnana's Home Movement Studio.
"Hitobashira" Choreography Workshop with MomoButoh in the "ARK" with Duke U. dance dept. students and Keval K. Khalsa.
Close encounter with dear GBH at Duke's botanical gardens pond.

"Hitobashira" sound score by Pamela Z . Camera: Carolyn Boucher.

ruminating on our dreams

my spring is just this:
a single bamboo shoot
a willow branch
- Issa

Patricia and I felt moved to draw and dance our dreams from last week again this week... dancing our dreams of sending prayers to Japan.

I loved Patricia's drawings of my dance - a series of paint strokes that to me looked like Japanese calligraphy. She shared that the patterns she drew were representing the film of my last dance - 'dreaming, dancing, dancing, dreaming' - the horizon line of the sea and the sky, the footprints in the sand, the movement...
While on a road trip I had to stop for gas and was moved to dance this dance in the Skagit Valley. Although on a 'mission' to get to my destination, I was taken by the mood and the slow-pace of the the cattle beside a red barn. Recalling vaguely the images Patricia and I created, my movement seemed to come from a place of 'body memory...'

Inspired to slow down, ruminate, and dance this dance, inspired by Patricia's dance from last week, her art of my previous dance from last week, her dance of our dreams... and my art of her dance 'dreaming with lee' (below)... germinating seeds of our dreams /prayers to Japan...
Patricia's dance...

Art, dancing, dreaming, ruminating, creating... boundless...

Editing inspired by Rev's dance with Momo, 'parts of a whole', Patricia's 'dreaming with lee part 2' and Carolyn's 'before abrupt awakening' - a series of dreamy images stitched together... phew!
May all beings in Japan feel the the love and prayers of all of us, near and far, surround them.

Lokaha Samastaha Sukhino Bhavantu ~ May all beings everywhere be happy and free from suffering...

Feeling grateful for this practice that allows me to collaborate with others... to dance our dreams and prayers.
Music: Antony and the Johnsons
Visit our dance collaboration here: MomoButoh Company

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

dreaming, dancing, dancing, dreaming

Lately I have been feeling my posts have too many words... Inspired by Carolyn and Patricia's recent poetic posts - "before abrupt awakening" and "sharing our dreams, dancing our dreams"...
I was not looking for particular images in nature or trying to remember specifics of our dreams or art... I was spontaneously dancing with the objects that I found... the reflections, here...
... my art...
Dream... share with Patricia... walk... seeing my dream reflected back from nature... seeing my collage images reflected back from nature...
... golden shimmering flowers... branch reaching out across the sea to Japan... the sea... oyster shell 'pearls' in the sand... the lights from our hearts... branch...
... nature reflecting Patricia's dream... nature reflecting Patricia's drawing (below)... earth, dirt, water, wind... waves... wavy waves rippling out from the center...
... Patricia's art...
... branching, reflecting wavy waves of energy... dance waves... dance wavy concentric circles... spiraling into the center... the center of us all... spiraling out...
don't think... don't think...
only soul... ("No thinking....Only soul." Kazuo Ohno, Momo's butoh sensei)
... dance reflecting my dream... dance reflecting Patricia's dream, reflecting... our art...
...radiating out from the center... the hearts of us all... rippling out in all four directions... art / life / dance... no separation... connecting...
... sky...
... Patricia's art...
Love and heart prayers to all beings in Japan...

Grateful for this venue of collaboration and inspiration - thank you Momo.
Music: Moby "Walk with Me."
Photos by Brooke