Saturday, February 20, 2010

below the earth

Last night (after my dance performance with MomoButoh Company), awakening this morning, and also my current inner state - from the dark of night with twinkling stars in the raven black sky, to the first light of the sun rising and spreading it's radiance on the bamboo outside the bedroom window, to how I was feeling on the inside... all sparkling.

I loved having the time last night and this morning to digest the performance and integrate the depth of the experience with my butoh mentor, Momo. I think it is so valuable to reflect and share the experience of the evening - from the logistics behind the scenes, to what our personal experience's were of our dance offerings.

I enjoyed performing with others immensely as it gave me courage, especially with such talented butoh dancers as Momo, Joan Legge and Nala Walla. I am not sure what my performances looked like to the audience, but, at times during the performance while on stage I could feel my lips quivering out of an emotion surfacing from the depths. I wasn't performing a rehearsed routine in the form of memorizing certain steps, but was embodying ( to the ability I am able to at this point in my experience) the depths and the essence of dances I had performed in the previous year and was bringing them into the present (as Momo has often said is so important while performing).
I know I have so much to learn to be able to perform with the depth that is required of a butoh dancer, but I feel fortunate to be learning from such a gifted dancer / teacher on this journey into the depths.
Momo and I went on a morning walk in Fort Warden Park and were struck by the beauty of our unseasonally early spring - pink and white blossoms bursting open on trees like flower fire-works exploding. Momo wanted to take me to the old naval bunkers / gun batteries in the park where she has danced in the past amongst the cement forms and metal doors and window shutters.

I was surprised that there are many underground, cavern like rooms and passageways that allow public access - what a joy! The underground cement bunkers have amazing acoustics and I was awestruck by the echoing quality within them. The sound that you create echoes long after you have stopped creating it - I could feel the vibration in my cavernous heart space deep within my chest, but, it felt like the sound was already there in the walls just waiting to be expressed outwardly - and that our voices were freeing the sounds from their cement temples of silence...

“To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.”
Wendell Berry

I felt honored to have Momo vocalize for me in one of the cavern rooms for my practice. Although I was feeling very 'light' inwardly after the previous nights performance, I was moved so deeply by this sound chamber in the dark, at that particular moment I was drawn to embody with dance the feeling of awe for the sound emanating from deep within this cement cavern and from deep within my own cavern of the heart...
The Art of Literary Exegesis

They argued, the three of them,
for three long hours-- were arguing
when I, eventually, went home--
over the "meaning" of the poem.

It was almost morning.
There were dozens of morning birds,
gray doves, and when they sang,
their meaning and their love

were not in words.

Sam Hamill
Thank you for viewing / reading this blog. I hope it is some way inspiring you.

There is a movie in the black space below.
Filmed by Momo
Visit my butoh mentor's beautiful blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill

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