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Go Deeper

The second day of the workshop.

The day started with a Q&A session. Since Budo (martial arts) he has been studying is based in the reality of life-or-death fights, someone asked if he had ever been in a life-or-death situation himself. His answer was yes. Three times. What did he do when his life was at stake? -- the dancers were all ears. Hino sensei shared a few gripping tales of his close call with death. The common thread in all his stories seemed to be the strong, clear intention/purpose of connecting with the opponent(s), which ended up saving his life.

Then he asked the dancers, “We all tend to look at two puppies playing with one another. Why do you think that is?” A bit confused by the question, they answered, “.. because they are cute?” “.. because they are unpredictable?” “.. because they are so engaged with one another?” Listening to the dancers, Hino sensei said, “Go deeper in your observation. Why?” Then he listed another example, a crawling baby. Our eyes immediately get engaged with the baby moving across the space no matter what's going on around the baby. We just watch them whenever they are there. Why?

After a few minutes of back-and-forth with the dancers, Hino sensei said, “We watch a crawling baby because the baby has only the simple intention of going to a certain point. The baby is the intention itself. And because of that, we can see the baby’s body clearly.” And then he went back to the example of the puppies. “It’s the same thing. And with two of them interacting with one another with such clear, simple intention, we can see a relationship clearly, too. We can see a real connection.” The intention of connecting to the other and the relationship with the other are the crucial elements in Budo for survival. He then said that it could also be applied to performing arts. Hino sensei summarized the Q&A session by telling the dancers to be the kind of dancer who embodies such clear intention and generates a real connection on the stage. That way you don’t have to try to make the audience watch you. With that kind of intention and connection, the audience will watch you no matter what you do.

The rest of the day went rather intensively. They worked on the connection between the Kyokotsu and the elbow just like the previous day during the first session. In the second one, the exercise of twisting was introduced. By twisting the arm, one can feel the sensation of a spiral created in the arm. Once it is felt, you can unravel the twist by tracing back the spiral. The whole second session was spent on twisting. Since the dancers are very good at replicating the form he shows them, Hino sensei kept reminding them that the exercises were about feeling not about the form. He went around assisting them to show the difference between focusing on the form and focusing on feeling. The visual difference was subtle, but the kinesthetic and sensorial difference was huge for the dancers. And once they felt the difference, they started to realize how specific, precise, and extremely difficult the exercise was. They kept on practicing with each other for the rest of the day.

They were going deeper and deeper into their practice.


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