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


  1. i feel gratitude
    i feel a giant hug of love

    i see pure and honest beauty
    i see slowing down, listening, momo teaching a lesson in CA-- opening of of all the eyes (a lesson i needed after spending too much time in fast moving cities)
    i see warmth
    a moment of becoming the ocean becoming one as you face the expansive blue, arms out wide sweeping in rhythm with the ocean tides
    a true giving and receiving of energy

    i see intense courage and bravery
    i see a gift being given
    attention to sparkling detail

    i see grace, connection to the heavenly bodies and the hypnotic voice of the singer, connection to drum beat, to dreams coming true (how amazing the structure looks!) stretching open wide in joy almost to the point of loss of balance, but another foot always firmly grounded holding the path. i see a labour of love. i see a place that i must see in the flesh.

    these dances have held me in this moment and given me more than i have attempted to write here. thank you momo. love.

  2. love the blue sky / sea / you / connection... the music / ocean rhythm of ocean / water healing intention... moved by stillness...
    the beauty of the white crane / candles... the fragility of life and the struggle of holding on to life... the flowers / the solid bamboo...
    the transformation into heron, the reach of the wings and the tenderness of the balance... feeling the light of the fullness of the moon shining down upon it all...
    the dance of weaving the web with voice and drums transported into imaginal realms of possibility and dreams... the sanctuary coming into being woven with the blessings from so many dear friends... the portal opening towards the heavens / space in the circle of alder trees opening overhead... the dance of connection to that which is greater than us... the dance creation of a dream... love...