Touch, Connect, and Listen
March 3, 2022
The fourth day of the workshop. Today was about deepening the work from the previous day.
Hino sensei had the dancers review the Twisting exercise in a group of three (A, B, and C). A twists B’s arm in a way that B feels a spiral line that goes through the elbow, the shoulder, the torso, the pelvis, and the knee. Then B unravels the twist by tracing back the spiral line from the knee all the way to the elbow. C is observing B to see how the line is traced back and if the line is really felt in B’s body. A is also doing the same visually and sensorially through the contact point in the arm. The form is quite simple, but the challenge is to be aware and specific physically and sensorially in the form and understand the bodily mechanism behind it. As Hino sensei went around to assist the dancers, he often reminded them to not get caught up in the form so much, but to feel what’s actually happening in the body more. Time and time again he had them touch his body to demonstrate how clear and specific the spiral line needs to be traced. It is not an imaginary line. If the spiral line is real and felt, the body naturally unravels it.
Then they moved onto the review of the Rendo (interconnected movement) exercises. Rendo involves a physical process of identifying specific points in the body and connecting them to form a line of force. Once again, the forms in the Rendo exercises are quite simple. One basic vertical Rendo exercise looks like you’re doing the butterfly stroke vertically on the ground. The line starts from the knees and goes through the thighs, the middle of torso, the Kyokotsu (a point in the chest bone, 1-2cm above the solar plexus), the shoulders, and the elbows. If the body is interconnected properly by Rendo, by the time you lower your arms, the tips of your fingers generate so much power without much muscle strength. Hino sensei watched the dancers doing the exercise and pointed out that their connection between the Kyokotsu and the shoulders was weak. So he asked them to use twisting to sensitize that specific area. They worked on it for some time, and Hino-sensei assisted them as needed. Then they tried the Rendo exercise again. And if they felt confused and lost, they would stop to identify the weak spots and try various ways to feel those points better.
The work was getting more and more specific and denser even though the content was almost the same as the previous day. I could see the eyes of the dancers becoming sharper and more alive.
Then Hino sensei had them do another Rendo exercise where two people stand facing each other, holding each other in a specific way: one hand on the back of the partner’s neck and the other arm over the partner’s arm. Then one does the vertical Rendo in place and towards the end turns the arm structure. The other person basically follows this movement. It was the same form and principle they had practiced the previous day. But today the focus was on feeling and listening to the partner through physical touch. Listening needs to happen on both sides, the one who’s doing Rendo and the one who’s receiving the force. When the listening is happening, there is no crash of forces between the doer and the receiver. In other words, there is no resistance in the movement. The two bodies are connected. Easier said than done. But this is key to understanding Hino sensei’s work- Connection and relationship.
After the workshop, I joined the dinner with Hino sensei and several other dancers. They had a lot of questions for him, and he responded to each question with interesting, exciting anecdotes. So much laughter and amazement. Listening to their lively conversations, I couldn’t help thinking how Hino sensei has been inspiring his students and how he lives his life, embodying what he teaches to them. He touches, connects, and listens to other people in a way that opens up their hearts and brings out their potential as a human being... effortlessly, without resistance.