Monday, June 27, 2016

Wreck Beach Butoh Boot Camp 2016: Day 6

Week 2 and but for the stressed IT bands as a result of yesterday's half-marathon, the body is holding up. I do wish I were getting more sleep; I think, paradoxically, all of the physical activity makes it more difficult to fall into immediate and sustained restfulness. Then there's the fact that I keep rehearsing in my brain at night all of the choreography we've learned (in between worrying about everything else I have to do this week); Barbara thinks the choreography-as-counting-sheep idea is actually a good thing, as it will embed the movement even more thoroughly into our bodies. But if the rehearsing of it in one's mind over and over again actually prevents one from ever dozing off, then surely that defeats the purpose.

Speaking of the choreography, having learned all of it by the end of week one, Barbara today proceeded to do what she apparently always does (at least judging from last year and from more veteran participants' testimonials), which is revise it. Most of her edits were minor and involved jettisoning various phrases rather than adding others. However, there was one major new move she gave all of us that had me more than a bit flummoxed for several minutes--a variation on the boxed monkey step that in the third iteration she now wants us to do with alternating raised legs. While Barbara's demonstration of the move seemed reproducible enough, the count she gave for it struck me as counter-intuitive, and it wasn't until I figured out that there was essentially one extra step for nothing included in her count that I was able to get how to alternate the raised legs. Not that this accomplishment means that the movement is any more fluid or that I am now an expert. I wish I could commit more intuitively and fully from the get-go to the choreography Barbara and Jay give us, but there is something about my overly analytical nature that tells me I have to get it right before I can actually do it.

Of course there is no time or room for second-guessing in performance on the beach. Which is both the beauty and the terror of this process.

In the second half of this afternoon's rehearsal Barbara also let us in on how the first section of her choreography will unfold in two separate circle formations, one contained inside the other. I'm part of the inner circle, with Barbara as leader, which means the choreography as she claims to now have definitively set it will inevitably change yet again on the days of performance. Because Barbara has a habit of spontaneously changing her mind and also, though she'd likely not admit it, simply forgetting some of the phrases that repeat. As Bronwen whispered to me at one point after I queried the dropping of one move, being in Barbara's group means you follow Barbara, not what you learned in rehearsal.

Today was also eventful because just prior to entering Studio 1 at 1:30 pm one of the students in another class at Harbour Dance dislocated her shoulder. The cries of pain were truly arresting, as were those that accompanied the resetting of the poor girl's shoulder a half hour later when the paramedics arrived. My throbbing IT bands seem positively benign in comparison.


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