Saturday, July 2, 2016

Wreck Beach Butoh Boot Camp 2016: Saturday Performance

What a difference a day makes. A later start time, warmer temperatures, and even some sun: all combined to make today's performance much more pleasant than yesterday's undress rehearsal. In fact, I would hazard to say that this morning approached near ideal conditions: not so hot as last year, but also no really gusting winds, and with the sea mercifully calm. There are contradictory reports on what it will do tomorrow: Jay says it will be even nicer, but the paper is predicting a chance of showers; and Bronwyn (spelled correctly this time!) says that westerly winds will push in colder air and water. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I'm just happy that the call time on the beach is even later.

Speaking of the beach, Jay and Barbara remapped our trajectory across it before the start of today's show. Following the end of Jay's section we now move further south on the teeter-totter walk, rather than north, as we did yesterday, to form our circles for the start of Barbara's choreography. Having walked us through all of this before we started putting on our make-up and doing our warm-up, there was nonetheless some dispute between Barbara and Jay near the conclusion of our opening swim about where exactly we were to alight on the beach for our dragging and rolling sequence. The shouts back and forth between them ("Jay, we said here"; "No, Barbara, we said over there") got quite loud, though Dana, Molly, Irene and I confirmed via Molly's partner, David, on the car ride home that no one in the audience could apparently hear.

Those of us downstage (that is, facing towards the cliffs) during this sequence made sure to position ourselves closer to the audience so that folks further upstage weren't rolling back into the water. However, there were tiny tide pools dotting the sandbar on which we were performing, and I somehow managed to position myself right smack in the middle of one, which made for lots of wet muckiness and water in the ears during the rolls. But I have to say, I did like the sloshy, suction-y sound our bodies made when they slapped over these pools as the rolls sped up. By the time we moved into the turning handstands it felt like the spiralling of my body had succeeded in digging a two-foot well, so deeply did my palms sink into the sand.

I think the performance went very well. I made a slight mistake in the choreography at the start of the dual circle sequence, and the timing of the two circles crossing was a bit off. But collectively we remembered to include all of the movement this time, and overall my balance was much better today than yesterday--no doubt because I wasn't shivering so violently.

I just wish there had been more people watch us. Jay said it was probably the smallest audience they'd ever had--perhaps as a result of this year's performances falling on a long weekend (and also not being tied to the Dancing on the Edge Festival, as they had been last year). Here's hoping more spectators come out tomorrow. But even if they don't, and in spite of all the pain and toil over the past two weeks, Sunday will be the culmination of a truly sublime experience.

That's the gift that Barbara and Jay give us each year through WBB, and while it may be hard to explain to friends and partners and family ("You're doing what?!," my niece Erika, a dancer herself, asked me when I told what I was doing this long weekend) why we do this, I certainly don't regret signing up for a second year.


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