Thursday, June 30, 2011

Meetings with Remarkable Beings

Each day holds opportunity to cultivate lasting connection, awareness and memories that can nourish and sustain us for a lifetime. This photo is of one of those precious meetings with my beloved Sensei Kazuo Ohno. We were in Venice Italy for his performance at the Biennale; just after this photo was taken pigeons landed on his shoulders and, as usual, he danced with delight and delicacy.

Although butoh is often sourced from areas of stress, challenge or pain; for a daily dance practice to thrive it feels essential to regularly dwell in nature based spaces and relationship situations that are alive with beauty, deepening connection, truthfulness, unity and balance. Sometimes it takes special effort to find sustaining connections and experiences like these...but they are always available somewhere.

When in Los Angeles for the UCLA butoh symposium in May, I was feeling drained by the hype and toxicity, struck by how many people in this sprawling city have literally become their automobiles. Comments like "her Merc cut in on my Beemer" or "gas taxes are killing my 9 mpg " are commonplace. Thankfully, in Venice Beach my cousins provided a cozy little room and some very needed rides and companionship to discover some oases of natural beauty, playfulness and peace among the insanity here. One evening we attended a gathering with delicious raw food, dj music with wildly dancing youth & live painting by my friend radhika. The last morning, I brought some plant medicine tea and a healing song to offer to the ocean here as a prayer for purification, balance and well being. This film (camera by my cousin Julie) is part of that dance.

11 Japanese refugees who are friends from the area of the Tsunami are going to arrive soon to our town. We are seeking housing & life supports for them as they attempt to immigrate. They are seeking refuge as they have lost their home; even having to leave their elder mother behind. This is just one little story of so many life/death struggles that inspired our local Benefit for Japan at St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Clinton on June 4. I danced three pieces to live piano, opera and koto. This one in film below is in honor of the father/daughter relationship, the crane/heron, the bamboo in the moonlight and the Japanese "Shining Princess" folk tale. The other two pieces were about Cherry Blossoms and the Phases of the Moon. It was a remarkable evening of meetings with virtuosos of opera, piano, song and sushi making! A chance meeting with the exquisite songstress Ariana Saraha was another highlight.
After meeting "fusion artist" Ariana on the ferry deck, we had an opportunity to collaborate with song and dance. Here is a film of our improvisation with the trees, forest fairies, web of wood, hoops of drums, voices and balance of body, soul & spirit.
Thank you for witnessing and your reflections in the comment area below.
Special BIG THANKS goes out to the wonderful beings who have attended our first 2 Somatic Building Internship weekends. With ease, enjoyment and togetherness we completed what we thought would take 4 weekends in just 2!! WoW!
"Blissfully Amazing!!....John & Momo, you two are so inspiring, so awake and alive with the beauties of life. It has been an honor to spend time with you on Whidbey Island. You have been such an extraordinary example of living a life in faith and trust in Universal flow and not only that but mastering your crafts with such humility!"
"My experience with the flower was so beautiful. It was so soft and communicative. I am truly learning that every energy has a "voice" or something to share, and if we come at it with loving, accepting energy, we will receive just that."
-Shelly -masseuse & dancer age 23

"The somatic/movement work were new concepts for me but explained well and I enjoyed learning new things about myself."
-Gary -builder age 56

"As I was pleasantly surprised with how the work process was eased by the somatic/mindfulness exercises....{One of the greatest gifts was} your examples of creating your own way of life and successfully following it."
-Steve- builder age 70
Please consider joining us for one of our Somatic Building weekends this summer/fall. Results have been amazing! Here are a few comments from participants. Everyone has been very satisfied with their time here. Contact Momo to schedule (July 23-24; Aug 27-28, Sept 3/4 & 24-25, Oct 1-2 & 8-9) is limited to 6 per weekend and ALL is FREE of charge.
"The food was my favorite!...made with love and consciousness....a totally amazing paradigm of hosting a workshop...I love this house....comfortable, homey, quiet & beautiful...John is a wonderful guy to work with; patient and cheerful. I deeply appreciated honoring the inside and outside of the body experiences....Construction was a deeply satisfying blast!"
-Nori -momobutoh company member age 21

"The sensory walk was very focusing and made me more aware of senses other than sight, and my balance. I also liked the sense of everybody working together toward a common goal."
-Rev -momobutoh company member age 43

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quest Within and Without

Great Spirit sent me out West
because I was still asleep and clue less
(hiding from me
and my destiny)

I ran thru trails of every kind
floating on rivers and fighting the tide
inside of caves and outside of them too
saw Lions trapped in a las vegas zoo

burned thru the rubber in the soles of my shoes
my heart set ablaze as
I danced with the Winds of the West

What was shown to me?
Creatures of every kind- skunk, roadrunner, mockingbird, swallow, vulture, hawk, owl, bat, lizard and moth were there! (to name a few) so were circus freaks, ravers, hidden cameras, spirit of john, george, ringo, & paul, street performers and life transformers!

I bore witness to a desert scorched by wildfires.

My Aunt was my travel companion on this portion of my journey across country, and she took me to Carlsbad Caverns.
We wanted to watch the flight of the bats.
After a long and late day of driving we finally arrived at our destination. As I drove our beat up volvo up the curvy terrain we saw nothing but black scorched earth, charred cacti, and barren land. Signs every few feet reminded us of the EXTREME FIRE DANGER!
After parking, we made our way to the outdoor theatre to watch the mysterious bats exit their famous cave. The crowd whispered in anticipation as it grew darker, the bats' sonar clicks grew louder, and the feeding time approached.
"the bats! the bats! I see one! mamma a bat! Look! the bats!"

Slowly, but surely, the bats began to take flight out of their cave.
Just as quickly as the anticipation had built among us, it began to die.
Instead of thinking "Where are the bats?"
The collective thought seemed to be "Is that IT?"
People grew restless and bored, sure they had been drawn to another tourist trap and got up to leave.
But I had seen pictures of the bats in flight and knew this was not the norm.
The entire museum, in fact, had been shut down two days prior to our arrival.
We found out that many of the bats had left Carlsbad- and left for good. There was little to no food to be found, and the park rangers doubted if they would ever return.

This was all due to the monstrous wildfire that had overtaken the land. What started the fire? Surely it was Mother Nature herself. . . but no.
I learned that the cause of this particular fire was indeed a human.
Someone had thrown a cigarette butt out of their window, despite the warnings, and had in turn damaged an entire eco system in the blink of an eye.

This story, to me, represents our carelessness as Humans here on our ONE earth.
I began my dance the next day in the desert wearing a bright sundress, a bit dolled up and carrying my straw hat that reminds me of Momo.
I wanted some beautiful dance pictures in the expansive desert.
Shortly after exchanging with my Significant Others, I realized it was not going to be that kind of dance.
I changed into my shirt that reads: GIVE ME SOMETHING TO SCREAM ABOUT and stripped down to shorts and bare feet.
I handed the camera to my aunt, and allowed her to become a part of my dance as the photographer.
This was another first for me, sharing my dance with my family in such an intimate way. It brought us closer together and i am so thankful for our deepened connection.

So. That is the story of this particular dance in words. I would like to let the images speak now. Please feel free to let me know what you see!

a special deep thank you to my buddy Art/Rev, and of course our Dear Momo

Monday, June 27, 2011

11 and up

from 11 and up ascending transcending trending

breathing watching birds silence mist caress

white touch so lush wind whisper trees witness


vastness mountains beyond trees watching

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Significant Plants & Animals

"Make me sweet again
Fragrant and wild
And thankful
For any small thing."

Our current theme is Plants & Animals so MomoButoh practice partner Patricia and I vowed to engage at least one Significant Plant &/or Animal relative each day in a butoh dance exchange. So far, so good. We have engaged with trees, humans, sticks, roots, snails, flowers, anemones, herons, whales and spiders among others. Each relative has a message, a gift, a challenge to share. Each evokes a unique dance from us. Snail/Slug moved SO slowly and was SO extremely sensitive to my presence and every move. I've been especially interested in how one relative introduces and leads to another. For example, today when I was dancing with a purple Azalea, a black & white spider dangled along and joined us too. Azalea wanted her old dry blossoms scratched off to make more space for the bright fragrant fresh ones. Spider was reminding me of my grandmothers. Then the Rhodie next door wanted to be included as well asking for some root food. This led us to a great action of making an entire new vegetable garden and planting a tree in our yard, all in 24 hours in pouring rain. Those plant relatives sure are strong motivation coaches!

Sometimes these SOs have mysterious synchrony & connections. One day, while dancing with with some seaweed resting on a large stone. I inadvertently sent a Great Blue Heron into flight, which in turn led me to finding a beautiful rock with "1111" unmistakably inscribed on it. I came home to communications from company members and it turns out GBHs are communicating among our MomoButoh members all over the place this week. Carolyn, who is in Florida said they are showing up by her daily, Patricia was stalked by one in Vancouver, BC, Misty Hannah (who is stepping away from the company toward other activities now) sees one regularly in her neighborhood in County Cork, Ireland. One showed up in a student's drawing yesterday, without conscious intention or prompting from me, after her butoh exploration of 4 senses: One-der, Touch, Life & Movement.
We are all relatives, all connected and in this web of dynamic exchange and if we listen, each being has a great deal to share with us. A daily Significant Other butoh practice helps to awaken consciousness & connection with abundant allies and friends each offering unique resources to inspire soulful life/art.

These films are from recent dances with Plant & Animal relatives whale & alder tree roots, lawn grass, anemone, barnacle, cottonwood and cacti....What better way to get acquainted? With other, with self, with all creation...all our relations.

Apologies for the immense backlog of dances & films. I have been scrambling to catch up; processing and posting them in "chunks." Thank you for witnessing and sharing your reflections through your comments below.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

spruce connection

This past weekend I went to an area in the mountains I have been visiting at least once a year for the last five years.

I really love this spot, it is one of the best places in the North Cascades that I know of accessible early in the hiking season. And lots of plants and animals to connect with.

While I was here I chose a particular tree to connect with as a significant other, this lovely spruce on the edge of a vast space.

Just before starting my dance, a mountain bluebird came by and performed a dance of his own, hovering hummingbird-like just off of the ground. It felt like a welcoming gesture to me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Experiences in Rewind

So being in Germany for a month was an experience in of itself. It was there that I really became initated into MomoButoh Dance Company. Being that I didn't have the luxury of posting videos nor taking too many of them because of electronical differences between Europe and the USA, I am now ready to post some videos that were taken during my stay in Bonn, Germany. As Butoh has recently plopped into my life I am already noticing the differences in how I interact with my day and surroundings. Every moment is an opportunity for art, creation, and expansion. Butoh for me (as I am learning and trying to grasp what it really is...) at the moment is a way of life, a practice. It is another word for "improvisation in the presence of Now". It is a deep exploration of what is always present and there: we enable our bodies to interact with this presence-allowing movement and stillness to possess us.

This video was inspired by the theme of the month of connecting with plants or animals as our significant other- this process in general has become such a rich experience and a really grounding one at that. It is always so amazing how one simple interaction with a plant, a simple dance totally shifts my energy back towards my heart. A simple dance brings my whole being into the now.
So this video is more of an expression of the totality of all of my significant others surrounding me in that forest as opposed to one particular focus.


your eyes are my eyes

Highlights from the May 28 phone conference of the MomoButoh Dance Company in one minute forty-eight seconds.