AMBRA GATTO BERGAMASCO

Contemporary Butoh Dance Teaching Talks and Projects


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including perspectives: the fold and butoh dance

My interest here is to overlap Deleuze’s (and Leibniz incorporated through the lens of Deleuze) approaches to the fold, Baroque and perception to Butoh Dance.

The video lecture starts with Deleuze informing his students that the department of Philosophy wants to do experiment with video recordings. This instance bring forward the theme of the lecture: including perspectives and the fold.

Here are discussed the Baroque, Leibniz and the fold progressing into Pascal’s triangle to then tackle the problem of perspectives: (here below is a piece of text translated by me from the video lecture)

Is there a universal point of view, a universal perspective? Possible, but it does not suppress the single point of perceptions. In front of something either you say “it doesn’t matter” this being total chaos or you start building your point of view.

How to build perspectives that allow me to incorporate and order also the opposites? The genetic element is a view point – a single the view point is the genetic element.

How do we get there? Deleuze reflects on the Baroque practice of rounding corners- “arrondissement des coins“: to make folds to infinite rounded corners. All corners are rounded by the infinite folding. Leibniz does same. It takes the folds and brings it to the infinite.

In Butoh dance, is there a similar process? Can I perceive the folds in my body? to find a fold – unfolding refolding – can this imply the doing folding and unfolding through edges, warps and creation?. Hijikata asked “what is a warped body?” There is a sort of parallel between the fold and the warped body. The rounding of corners to create an inflection of variable curve in the body can be understood as becoming warped and creating the warped. This movement of breaking lines in Butoh dance and becoming warped is fundamental for creation.

Hijikata’s Butoh body-method notation details the work moved by questions that saw him engaged twenty four hours to attain the warped-body*, to dig into to, unravel and bring into dance:

“Hijikata investigated in the warped qualia through the life. he finally dig out the deepest warped qualia as his last butoh dance: A girl. The dead sister was one of the deepest warped qualia for him. Why his favourite sister had to leave from home when he was child and had to sell her body in a foreign city.
It was a unsolved mystery for him in his childhood. He investigated it through his life. And finally he could success to reverse the warped qualia as the creation of the butoh”**

While unwarping/warping we meet edges, corners, we meet folds and we unfold, and as we move, we encounter infinite bifurcations. In this regards, Deleuze looks at folds and sees a bifurcation into which the fold distributes; a low and high plane. The low plane problem is concerned with the folding of the material submitted to the infinite. Material folding constitutes the physical and elastic body that possess the capacity of folding/unfolding, implicate/explicate, envelop/develop. To fold is to involve and to unfold is to evolve our body. These are all notions that manifest in the fold.

The other level, no longer concerned with the material is the plane of the soul/anima (translated from Deleuze french use of the word âme). The folds of the soul/ âme constitute the other plane as forms of infinity or as a general genetic plane. Here we encounter two labyrinths:

Labyrinth of continuum: double-folds and develops in the material

Labyrinth of freedom develops/unfolds in the soul/ âme

The folds of the soul as infinite, and this is what interests Deleuze particularly, the labyrinth of freedom and the plane of the soul.

The low plane and the high place are located in my upper body and lower body and then turned upside-down; I have also an external and internal body, also this can be turned inside out creating a fold and a unfold of planes of soul and material. On my feet, as I try to find them in the material, I can expand, involve, evolve my physical body; while I do this, my soul aches out and avails of general and particular, materialising what the tunnel/labyrinth had in store.

Hijikata and Rhizome Lee, as written in his notation, refer to tunnels we explore in our own body while doing Butoh. We tunnel through the layers of our many bodies and the qualia that arise from there; other times, we seek the qualia externally, and we try to create a transparency in order to allow for resonance to happen within outer and internal planes and bring our bodies to involve and evolve on that fold. The tunnels are like labyrinths, they unfold in the soul.

Can there be a labyrinth that can bring us to an inflection of variable curves? Can there be a perspective that incorporates opposites?

How can we dance the variant curve of all opposites? We do it. We attempt to every time we bring outwards our warp, our fold, and fall into it yet again.

In addressing the possibility of such, Deleuze remarks on the great importance theatre held in the Baroque. Fundamental were the changing scene, scenography and its transformation from one to another. This was a basic element for the Baroque’s sense of theatre aesthetic and movement. There, a chance to witness. To witness a fix point shift, the unfolding of a fold, the transmuting from generic to one perception and to the generic holding one. This bringing to the consideration that objects are “indefinissable” (Deleuze in lecture video).

When we dance Butoh, we go from the generic to the “one point of view” to many points of view. At times all singled out at times all talking together. At times creating new planes that yet have no perspective other that being born. And at times, we are indefinissable.

Thank you for reading. If you wish, leave a comment and share.

References

Here you can listen to the whole Gilles Deleuze’s Video lecture

* here you can read more on Hijikata’s body-method thanks to Rhizome Lee and Subbody.net

** extract from subbody.net

p.s I have translated Deleuze’s words as I listened to the lecture. There is a book called “The Fold” by Deleuze.

copyright:Ambra Gatto Bergamasco©


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Zazenshin: Acupuncture Needle of Zazen, by Shohaku Okumura

Can just sitting be enough? Do we really find it difficult to do something without ulterior meaning and motivation? I found this article interesting, it resonated with some conversations had in the Zen meditation group I go and further, I related it to when I dance Butoh: do I have an ulterior motif..or do I dance for the invitation…dancing bliss, just dancing, because there is no because. What do you think? Does this relate to your practice?

Buddhism now

Zazen is the centre of our practice and also the centre of Dogen’s teaching. The Shobogenzo Zazenshin is one of Dogen’s writings in which he discussed the essential nature of his sitting practice. He wrote this text in 1242.

‘Za’ means ‘sitting’, and ‘zen’ is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word ‘chan’ which is the transliteration of the Sanskrit word ‘dhyana’, meaning ‘meditation’. A literal translation of ‘zazen’ is ‘seated meditation’. ‘Shin’ means ‘acupuncture needle’. Today’s acupuncture needle is made of some kind of metal, but in ancient times it was made from bamboo. An acupuncture needle is a kind of instrument to heal sickness. My translation of this title, Zazenshin, is ‘Acupuncture Needle of Zazen’. Zazen is an acupuncture needle to heal our sickness.

Human Sickness

Buddhism Now cover Oct 1990. Art © Marcelle Hanselaar What is our sickness? I think it is very clear. Shakyamuni Buddha said that we have been shot with an arrow…

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5 digital megatrends towards the Museum of the Future

This is a topic I am working on. Museums. This article inspired me to further my vision.

British Museum blog

Chris Michaels, Head of Digital Media and Publishing, British Museum

There is no end of digital fads that might make a significant impact on the British Museum. Every time I open LinkedIn, or read a blog, there’s something new, or seeming-new, waiting to be tried. It’s fun.

But what really matters? What are the things that take our mission of being the museum of and for the world, and reveal an entirely new dimension to that great Enlightenment aim; that find a new way to make it real?

That’s a harder question, but it’s the strategically critical one that we will try and answer in the months and years ahead.

Today’s second debate in the Museum of the Future series, Changing public dialogues with museum collections in the digital age, is a crucial staging post in the process of us starting to talk about what digital means.

In advance…

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awakening love

“The biggest coward is a man who awakens a woman’s love with no intention of loving her”- Bob Marley

This quote appeared on my facebook feeds a couple of days ago. It did something to me. (Supposedly said by Bob Marley, a signer I do love – but besides his music- I never really read much about him or his quotes).

It caught me in stillness. All my attention went to those words, in a second. I felt 100% present. I looked at the sentence again, what grasped my attention, were the words “awakening love in someone with no intention of loving”.

This happens. In every field of life. Not solely within men and women in a romantic relationship; it happens between teachers and students, masters and disciples, within ourselves. How many times have I found myself asking “Why did I do all this for?” – In a way, I was awakening my love towards something with no intention to carry it through because, who knows…

Besides these last considerations, this sentence made me reflect upon the relationship between teacher and student; I thought of the times in which  students  fall in love with the subject, but teachers do not engage further – of course, the reverse happens, students might awaken the teacher’s love with no intention to love back. I tend to favour the student in this reflection, as the teacher should know that to awaken the love for the subject in a student and deepening this love, entails knowing the art of letting go the best.

I chose Butoh, – ten thousand times-  and as such, I have those that I consider my teachers, and the dance itself as a teacher. There have been times where I have awakened the love and hid, scared and shy; there have been times where I have been awakened and abandoned; now it is a consistent awakening loving relation of many types. Both in  presence and willingness. Willing even to say “oh…cowardice is here!” and to reply to myself “well let it in and say hello, you might end up having a dance, you never know”.

I thought of my role as a facilitator of Butoh dance and realised that, when I witness participants falling into Butoh with love, curiosity, awkwardness, difficulty, when I am made witness of the awakening of their senses, coming in touch with their many bodies, and I see the stupor in front of their imagination at work, I love them even more. I love this moment. I feel so privileged. I want to love them forever. Because it is in those openings that we dance together, that we awake to one another and to the relations that surround us; we see our eyes, our lives and what it took to be here. Then, it happens, the awakening becomes a reality and life has entered yet a bit more.

Witnessing the awakening of someone’s love towards something, discloses a precious moment of human beauty.

“The biggest coward is a teacher who awakens students’ love/passions with no intention of loving them” – Ambra

Thank you for reading, Thank you for dancing

Ambra

Image: unknown artist – found on izismile.com


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Yumiko Yoshioka: a life time Butoh artist; 14-16th of November 2014 workshop in Glasgow, Scotland

Yumiko_Yoshioka_2_Danza_Butoh_cr

Yumiko Yoshioka is a butoh dancer/choreographer  of incredible artistic experience and creation. Currently based in  Berlin, Germany were she works since 1988. Yoshioka was one of the first dancers to tour and work with Carlotta Ikeda and her company Ariadone (1974). Carlotta Ikeda’s company, co funded by Ko Morobushi, was the first women’s butoh company.

“Since 1981 Yumiko Yoshioka has been alternating between Japan and Europe and has been living in Germany since 1988, the year in which she founded with Minako Seki and Delta R´ai the group tatoeba THÉÂTRE DANSE GROTESQUE, which till its break-up in 1994 successfully toured Japan, Europe und North America. In 1995 arose the TEN PEN Chii art labor, led by Yoshioka, the visual artist Joachim Manger and the American musician Zam Johnson. Its works have included: ´N. YoiN´, ´DA-PPI´, ´iki – an interactive body dance machine´, and ´TEST LABORATORY Z.0005´. The company is at home in Schloss Bröllin in the Northeast of Germany (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), where Yumiko Yoshioka is the artistic director of the butoh-related art project ´eX…it!´ and the curator of the festival ´Pro Existence´ (2004). ´furu zoom´ was premiered at the festival ´Über Schönheit/About Beauty´ in the House of World Cultures in Berlin (2005)”

One of the most extravagant  projects so far has been ´Test Laboratory Z.0005´, enclosing four dancers in a threatening 2.50 m high metallic machine. Hares, set free in the surroundings, activate one or another light-installation, which in turn activates mechanisms for opening or sealing enclosures. The body is hermetically caught then free to move in two water basins. Likewise picturesque and metaphorical, though aesthetically plainer, are the works involving Yumiko Yoshioka as a soloist and with which she regularly tours with TEN PEN Chii, while continuing her didactic work and acting as the artistic director and curator of various projects at Schloss Bröllin”- Author: Constanze Klementz gatzmaga@hkw.de (http://www.culturebase.net/artist.php?3323)

14-16 November 2014 Workshop in Glasgow

Yumiko has been a guest of Moving Bodies International touring Butoh festival in 2014 offering her workshops both in Cork at the Firkin Crane and Torino at the theatre Espace.

It is possible to join her workshop from the 14th to the 16th of November in Glasgow, Scotland. If you can, I highly recommend to join and spend two days dancing with Yumiko. It is not necessary to have any previous experience, nor being a Butoh-ist…

Click here to read more information: facebook page event

Thank you,

Love and Dance