Friday, July 1, 2016

Wreck Beach Butoh Boot Camp 2016: Undress Rehearsal

The water turned out to be quite warm. It was getting out that proved most bone chilling, as by that time (around 9:30 am) a wind had picked up and it had started to sprinkle. The first part of Jay's choreography, where we dragging and rolling ourselves across the sand was a special kind of torture given the pools of water we were forming with our bodies, and then promptly rolling over. Poor Irene, who was in the back row, closest to the ocean, said in the car on the way home that every time she had to roll west, or upstage, it meant she was plunged back into the surf--which musn't have been pleasant.

Just when I thought I had my shivering under control, another wind would come up that would send my body into spasm yet again. At a certain point my fingers and toes started to go numb, which meant balancing in the sand (especially when walking backwards) and flicking ones hands proved extra tricky. Everyone's teeth were chattering loudly, and Brie said at a certain point she thought her jaw had locked. Barbara said she couldn't remember the last time it had been so cold for the undress rehearsal, and she must have been in a lot of discomfort because not only did she find it difficult to eat afterwards, but she also gave us no notes--which is more or less unheard of. At the end of the piece no one bothered to go back in the water to wash off the white make-up; we just dried off and wore it home, with Bronwen looking the most ghostly among us.

Despite all of this, and despite the fact that we were far from perfect, I did lose myself in the elemental experience of it all in several moments. We danced for over an hour, but it felt like the time flew by. In addition to official videographer Chris Randle, photographer Peter Eastman, and Tuan's wife, our audience included a lazily swimming seal and a great blue heron, who set off in flight from his perch on a rock just as we were emerging from the water to begin the opening of Jay's section--as if saying, "Yes, alright, you now have my permission to move in this space." And by the end of the piece, with our bodies a camouflaged tapestry of white make-up, brown sand and pinky-orange skin, it did seem that we had merged in some fundamental way with the natural landscape.

Which is why, I guess, we do this. Notwithstanding this fact, I do hope that, as forecast, the sun does emerge tomorrow and Sunday.


No comments: