Monday, July 6, 2015

Wreck Beach Butoh: Second Performance

Waking up to yesterday's hazy orange dawn was a bit of a shock. As was discovering, once outside, a thin layer of ash covering the cars on the street. The wild fires burning in the interior and along the coast had blanketed Vancouver in a filmy layer of acrid smoke. While the sun eventually shone through yesterday and it became very hot on the beach, we couldn't help looking with dismay at the north shore mountains, which were becoming increasingly obscured by the sooty air. Our chalk white bodies against that vista must have looked eerie.

As for the performance itself, Barbara kept delaying the start because she wanted more available beach on which to move. In the end, we cut things pretty close, as by the end of the piece the tide had already started to come back in. That said, I was very pleased with how things went. I was more relaxed this time, which meant I wasn't over-thinking the choreography or my place in the group; instead, I could concentrate more on embodying the quality of the movement and giving myself over to the feelings associated with it, and with the site. The audience was maybe a bit sparser than on Saturday, perhaps put off by the smoke; but they seemed no less enthusiastic in their response, and one man, on leaving, said to us that it was the best WBB yet.

It has certainly been an amazing two weeks: I don't think I have worked so hard, nor learned so much in such a short amount of time. As Barbara would say, the experience is not for the faint of heart, and as  dance pedagogues she and Jay certainly have very different styles (holy understatement, Batman!); but those styles, when put together in the studio, are combustive in the best possible sense, sparking a desire among everyone in the room--from the newbie community movers like me to professional dance artists like Molly--to inhabit the choreography to the best of their abilities.

That's the kind of fire I can get behind and, schedule permitting, I'll be back again next year.


No comments: