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Day 8: Do It For Real

While waiting for others in the lobby of Chassé Dance Studios this morning, I saw a group of mothers with thier babies huddling. Right next to the lobby is a dance studio where a ballet class was happening. One of the mothers stood up with her baby and walked up to the window of the studio. The baby looked at the dancers inside with such curiosity. Maybe someday she might become one of them...

Today at the studio, Amy and Hino sensei focused mostly on reviewing what they had done so far. There are only a few days left for the one-on-one research and practice. Amy needs to somehow summarize her experience of working with Hino sensei and share it with others as the result of the project. He advises Amy to stick with her process and how she has changed and not to put so much emphasis on capturing his method and philosophy. "It all comes down to what you want to do with the method and how you use it."

The main point of the review was stretch and twist. The movement of the human body consists of those two actions and their opposites: stretching & loosening, twisting & untwisting. When the body is being stretched or twisted to the maximum, it generates a tremendous amount of power and potential for movement. All you have to do is to loosen or to untwist. But in most cases, we are not stretched enough or twisted properly, which causes us to "move artificially" in order to execute certain choreography. To make choreogpraphy look as organic and spontaneous as possible, you need to know where and when stretches and twists happen and "let the body move," let the body loosen or untwist on its own.

Amy showed Hino sensei one of improvisation technique in contemporary dance. She told that it was first invented by William Forsythe. It is called "Avoidance" where you contort your body to get out of the way of the movement of a certern part of the body. For example, the elbow moves closer to the torso. The torso moves to the side so that the elbow can keep going on its circular orbit.

Hino sensei did the technique. It looked dynamic and "real."

I think that that is one of the things that make Hino sensei and his work so valuable to dance techniques. We can come up with all kinds of great ideas for movement and its effect. But we tend to lack practice to make them real. Hino sensei's approach is to make the movement the movement of the whole body, not the manifestation of one's thinking process. For example, if the elbow is to move in a circle, it shouldn't look that "I'm moving my elblow," one's intention. The elbow has to move on its own due to the careful, specific construction of the stretch and/or twist.

"How can I to do it for real?"--This is where practice begins. To put it bluntly, it is about making a fantasy a reality on a physical level.

I did a little bit of some twisting exercise myself. Kazuko sensei assisted me to twist more. It was so hard and taxing on my body that even though I did it for less than 30 minutes, my body was exhausted. Made me hungry and want to go to sleep.

But how excitng to work the body like that! To practice for real!

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.

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