Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wreck Beach Butoh Boot Camp: Day 7

So we now all have a sense of the complete structure of the piece, beginning with the statues and progressing all the way through to our concluding duets. We haven't yet performed the piece from start to finish, instead splitting things up into two halves yesterday. Maybe it's my new butoh sense of time, but I actually have no idea how long the piece is--close to 50 minutes or so I think. But when Barbara joins us as our metronome (as she did briefly yesterday), that may well stretch even further. "No one gets ahead of Barbara," to quote another of her maxims.

We practised our gallumphing cat/cow beasts quite a bit in the afternoon, as it is the point in the second half when group 2 (which is actually group 1--don't get me started) has to catch up to group 1 (formerly group 2). On the beach we'll be travelling in just one direction (west, I think--there was also a lot of "Who's on first" bickering back and forth between Jay and Barbara about direction yesterday); but in the studio we have to go back and forth across the room on all fours, gradually accelerating until we find our partners. It's a killer on the joints and quads, and because we didn't do it right the first (or second or third) time, Barbara had us run through it until we were all quivering pools of sweat.

But in our circle at the end of the day Barbara also offered praise, thanking us for how hard we had worked and assuring us that the piece would be beautiful. It's not exactly my pedagogical style, but I do admire the way Barbara works--or, perhaps more to the point, the way she makes us want to work. She has a vision of what she wants her dances to be and she is uncompromising in achieving that vision, including in her motivation of community dancers like me to raise our standards to hers and those of the other professional dancers in the room, rather than the other way around.

Two more days of rehearsal (including today, Canada Day), and then it's our "undress rehearsal" on the beach on Friday.


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