Saturday, 9 July 2011


TONIGHT I HAD THE IMMENSE FORTUNE OF ATTENDING A PERFORMANCE OF 'CRYPT' - A SITE-SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE AT THE CHRIST CHURCH CRYPT IN SPITALFIELDS INVOLVING SOUND ARTISTS NICK PARKIN AND Z'EV AND DANCERS MARIE-GABRIELLE ROTIE AND HOLLIE MILLER.  HOLLIE IS A FRIEND OF MINE FROM SCHOOL WHO INVITED ME TO WATCH HER DANCE, AND TO BE HONEST I HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT.

THE PERFORMANCE ITSELF WAS ENTIRELY IMPROVISED BUT HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY THE POST-WAR FORM OF JAPANESE DANCE KNOWN AS 'BUTOH' (OF WHICH ROTIE HERSELF IS A KEY INTERNATIONAL PRACTITIONER AND TEACHER), AND SO THE MOVEMENTS EXECUTED BY ROTIE AND HOLLIE WERE VERY ERRATIC AND FOR A WORD GROTESQUE, AND ACTUALLY MADE ME FEEL EXTREMELY TENSE AND UNCOMFORTABLE.  THE ACCOMPANYING SOUND WAS EQUALLY AS UNSETTLING, ATTACKING THE FULL RANGE OF HEARING, BUT THERE WAS SOMETHING EXTREMELY DELICIOUS ABOUT THE WHOLE THING.

I USE THAT WORD BECAUSE IT WAS A FEELING OF MULTI-SENSORY SATISFACTION.

THE SPIRIT OF BUTOH IS ONE THAT EMERGED FROM FRUSTRATION AND CRITIQUE WITH/OF THE CONTEMPORARY DANCE SCENE IN JAPAN (TO PARAPHRASE WIKIPEDIA), A SPIRIT OF REVOLUTION.  AS I WATCHED THE IRRATIONAL BUT HYPER-CONTROLLED MOVEMENTS OF THE DANCERS I WAS CONSTANTLY AWARE OF THIS UNSETTLED BUT DELICIOUS FEELING OF BEING PUSHED FROM MY COMFORT ZONE AND BEING ASKED TO QUESTION WHAT I THOUGHT OF AS 'DANCE'.  THE AESTHETICS OF ORGANISED MOVEMENT.

HOLLIE HAD TALKED TO ME ABOUT HER EXPERIENCE IN HER PROFESSION OF BEING CONSIDERED PURELY AS A 'BODY' (TO A GREATER DEGREE THAN WOULD A MODEL, WHO IS ADDITIONALLY A 'FACE'),  AND THE PROBLEMS OF THE DISCONNECTION FROM HER SELF THIS UNDOUBTEDLY ASKS.  I POSED THIS PROBLEM TO ANOTHER FRIEND OF MINE, ANDREA (WHO SHALL BE MENTIONED ON HERE AGAIN SOON), AN ARTIST AND FELLOW DREAM INTERPRETER/JUNGIAN ENTHUSIAST, WHO SIMPLY WROTE DOWN JUNG'S FAMOUS WORDS:

"THE BODY IS THE MERE VISIBILITY OF THE SOUL; THE SOUL IS THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE OF THE BODY."


IT IS INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT FOR ONE I THINK TO PUSH BOTH TO THE LIMITS OF THEIR CAPABILITIES IF ANY GROWTH OR TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF ONESELF ON ANY LEVEL IS TO BE ACHIEVED.  A FEW WEEKS AGO I SWAM UNTIL MY LEGS SEIZED UP.  THE FOLLOWING WEEK I SWAM SO HARD INTO THE WALL THAT I ALMOST BROKE A FINGER (I BRUISED A JOINT).  THIS WEEK AT CIRCUIT TRAINING I LED THE CLASS IN 50 CONSECUTIVE BURPEES THAT MY WALK STILL SUFFERS FROM.  BUT THIS WEEK I WAS ALSO DEALT WITH AN EMOTIONAL BLOW WHICH UNDER ANY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD HAVE LEVELED ME, BUT INSTEAD SPARKED A FIRE WITHIN MY MIND, AND REMINDED ME OF WHAT EXACTLY NEEDS TO BE FOUGHT FOR (AND AGAINST) IN THIS INDUSTRY.

THE BUTOH TONIGHT HAS REAWAKENED A SENSE OF FRUSTRATION, OF REVOLUTION AND SUBVERSION.  THAT OLD SYSTEMS OF BEING, THINKING AND MANAGEMENT MUST BE CHALLENGED, AND CHANGED.  THEY WILL DIE WITH THEIR MASTERS.


"ALL THAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING."

- EDMUND BURKE, c.1770

   



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance.
Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air.
Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being.
In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me."

H. Melville, Moby Dick, 1851

duane said...

thank you my friend : )

you would have loved the butoh

d x

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