Today was Hino sensei's birthday. When I asked him how old he turned to, he said, "68." I was somehow taken aback by the number, not just because he moves much, much better than younger generations; I think I was simply in awe of the flow of time. His life's journey, what he has done to and for the world, is getting more and more profound as history.
Speaking of history, he and Amy had an interesting discussion today at the studio. Amy was explaining one of the reasons so-called "contemporary dancers" tend to avoid classical ballet technique. In the world of contemporary dance, the emphais is on uniqueness, originality, individuality, and newness. Classical ballet, on the other hand, has remained almost unchanged for many years. A lot of classical ballet pieces use the same choreography of the past productions. There is a very strict training system to learn its technique. The emphasis is on precision.
"Contemporary dancers want to create something new and something of their own style. So they tend to feel resistance toward classical ballet that doesn't allow that," Amy said.
Hino sesei looked a bit irritated in hearing the word "new" and said, "There is nothing 'new' in this world. None. Look at this camera, for example. It might the latest version, a new model. But if you look inside the camera, the parts that consist of it, the materials of it have been in existence since time inmemorial. They just added more of this and that to make it better. In the same way, if you look at dance, it is the human body that makes dance. The human body itself hasn't changed in terms of its constitution and organs. So, when someone talks about 'new' dance, it's either about the form or about the concept. They are not talking about the body itself. They just want to do whatever they want and call it their own dance. So, don't mind dancers like that so much. Just leave them alone."
Then Hino sensei went on to talk about the meaning of technique and why it is imortant. "Let's say that you are in the Berlin Philharmonic as a musician. The orchestra is full of different people. In order to play together there, you must have technique, and the level of technique has to be the same for all the musicians. By having technique, people can come together and communicate. If you don't have technique, you might be able to play on the street and think that you are good enough. But that's all you get, self-satisfaction."
Technique is the means not only to improve the quality of performance but also to build collective human wisdom and culture. The classical ballet technique is the fruit of many dancers' arduous efforts. "You have to undersand," Hino sensei continued, " that when you are learning the technique, you are a part of the history of thousands of other dancers. You are living as the front runner of such history and therefore have the responsibility to make it greater for the next generation." It is not about preserving it or being conservative. It is about evolving.
They discussed a lot of other equally impotant things such as expression and the power of intention. I will elaborate on them within the next few days.
Amy brought cake for his birthday. It was delicious.
For dinner, Kazuko sensei made curry udon noodle soup. It was heavenly.
Disclaimer: Budo Ballet Initiative is not associated with Real Contact Project. What you read in this blog are the personal thoughts and observations made by Yuko Takeda. They are not meant to officially document or represent the Budo Ballet Initiative project. For those who are interested in knowing the entirety of the project, please contact Amy Raymond.