Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wreck Beach Butoh Boot Camp 2016: Day 5

Well, we made it through to the end of the first week, our bodies stiff and sore, but more or less intact, and having learned more or less the entire piece. In the afternoon rehearsal we put Jay and Barbara's sections together and ran them through from start to finish. The work clocks in at just over an hour, with our entrance and first foray into and out the water yet to be added. But Barbara said things always speed up on the beach, and how fast or slow we are next weekend will also likely be contingent on the weather. That is, if we're shivering in the rain, chances are we'll be going faster.

I experienced more than one brain fart during the run through, and I know the quality of my movement was far from refined; however, I was pleased to discover that the overall structure of the piece is now in my body. Indeed, waking up early this morning, I was running the choreography in my head and thought I must be missing something in the opening of Barbara's section; but when I checked my notes, I had everything right.

At the end of rehearsal yesterday several of us went for drinks and as I was sitting next to Jay and Barbara I asked them about their process of choreographing independently and then finding a way to mesh their material together in rehearsal. Largely it has to do with expediency, with each of them developing and testing ideas separately in the weekly classes they teach. They are also fuelled by a healthy dose of competition. When Jay announced to Barbara six weeks ago that he'd already worked up about 30 minutes of material, she instinctively went into overdrive in order to catch up--and now, in retrospect, I can see where she was developing different phrases in weekly class. The quality of the movement in both sections is distinct, but somehow the overall tone seems of a piece. No doubt this comes from Barbara and Jay having collaborated together for so long.

Speaking of which: the two of them will be performing, accompanied by composer and musician Stefan Smulovitz, this evening at SFU Woodward's Studio D, as part of the Powell Street Festival. More details here.

Our instructions for the weekend were not to be lazy and to review the material. As next week is seven full days of intense work instead of five Barbara doesn't want us to go all doughy in our two days off. No chance of that in my case, as somehow I have signed up to run a half-marathon tomorrow.


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