Dance Workshop Description (2014)

DANCE WORKSHOP: « Make Visible »

Dance is like an apparition. It appears as if out of a void --- it does not explain, nor make meaning, nor bring salvation --- but it makes appear a world that is ordinarily invisible.

A large part of our reality is invisible to us because it is outside of our perception. We cannot see what we do not know, but the imperceptible can sometimes manifest itself as a phenomenon. Like a ripple on water by an invisible wind, the unseen has a way to make itself known. This phenomenon, when it occurs through our body, is dance. Such dance has possibility to change the perception of an audience --- it transforms their physical status and shifts their sense of time. By transforming their perception, we transform their world. We do not create dance, we create a world.

This kind of dance is not about ideas and concepts, but it is a true observation of where we are, and who we are. This workshop introduces a concrete physical approach towards this way of dancing, through various physical, sensory, imagery exercises and guidance.

Some foundation subjects will be 1. Shift in time. 2. Training the body as a 'whole self’, the Thinking Body 3. Emergence of motivation / Intense listening 4. Meaning of externalizing a dance, and the role of the consciousness and intention.

1. Shift in Time
In dance, perhaps it is not of importance that we find truth of what is time and space. Rather, it is important that we can forget the assumptions that we normally carry about time and space, because they bring us great limitations in our awareness. We hope to even forget that we have a certain knowledge of time and space. Since in dance we have no obligation to "function" in daily life or society, we are allowed to forget our knowledge while that we dance. If we forget and simply listen, one might discover that actually it is not so easy to say there is any separation between time and space, or that there are distinctions between past, present, and future.

Normally in daily life, we live in what one might call a horizontal linear time --- often more for convenience.
Our culture and society furthermore reinforces our linear way of considering time, as they place so much value on what we accomplish, what we achieve, and what we acquire while we are alive.
We humans are born at a certain moment, and we all die at a certain moment. Then, inevitably we grow a strong sense of a starting point and an ending point, and we create a linear timeline with a limit of time against which we are struggling. We place the past behind us, and the future ahead of us -- an image that is horizontal.
Our consciousness is often living in the projected future or in the past memory. Our consciousness strays far away from our awareness of our bodies and the environment that the body inhabits --- then our sense of the world is vague. We live in a world filled with information and ideas that are not directly connected with the embodied self in environment. Without any awareness, we put on "ideas" and "what we should do/be" onto our bodies. This external plastering is in contradiction to the body and environment.

One of the ways how to shift out of the illusion of linear time is to live inside the time-space of the body itself, and to listen to our environment that is an extension of our bodies. To live the time-space of the body means to bring the consciousness to the level of the "matter" (matter/energy) that makes us.
With or without life, all matter exists concretely in its own time-space, and they do not have illusions or ideas about what time or space should be. Matter is true to the properties of its own materiality, it is honest to the forces of the environment, and it has no cross-motivations. We often make a mistake to treat matter as only "things" with no soul or spirit. We must re-think what we mean by soul or spirit. As we observe the matter of our body, we will notice that without any of our conscious intention, it is already being moved by its own nature and by the nature of the environment. What is this nature, the natural law… for a dancer it is not necessary to answer --- but whatever is this nature, we can allow it to manifest in our body as movement and presence. It will appear as if it is an invisible force/desire/design. That which we observe happening to us as if by a result of some remote will --- I believe that is closer to the expression of our true self.


2. Training the body as a 'whole self'
The prerequisite to dancing is to train the body, just as a pianist must train the fingers to be able to play and a painter must train their hands to use the brush. As any artist would know, to play the piano requires the whole self and spirit to be behind those fingers, and the same for the painter's brush. It is the same for the dancer's body. It is imperative that we understand our body in "whole". The body is inseparable from motivation, and motivation is inseparable from environment.
Furthermore, our body movement cannot be abstracted from our action (latent or active) to serve the motivation.

Physical training must be done with awareness --- in this sense, real Physical Training is also a Awareness Training.

We will come to understand about our own self-image, ground forces, our gravity center, use of the body with the least unnecessary tension. We will train to achieve a sensitive body that can listen intensely, a strong body that can support our desires, a weak body that can reveal the truth, a fragile body that exposes the vulnerability, a transforming body that can shift the tonus of the skin and the flesh to alter textures and weight, an attentive and precise body that can emit our desires to a certain direction or to harness an action.
We often use images in the training --- image training requires the body, imagination, quality, atmosphere, inner self, and outer environment to be treated as one entity. It helps us to understand ourselves in "whole".


3. Motivation
Physical training and understanding motivation should be treated as one.
By motivation, we consider it in a larger meaning than our personal conscious motivations, but as motivation of circumstance --- combining the self as a whole with all its personal history and history as a human race, and the circumstance and the environment. One should not confuse motivation with our personal feelings. Rather, if we can imagine that the motivation of the outer world (the environment) can manifest through ourselves, if we position ourselves to empty and to listen.

Motivation is a desire, and desire has a direction. This is one of the most fundamental principles to understand. To propel, to face, to offer, to direct ourselves towards our desire -- it means to place ourself behind (in support of) the desire. When the body is (physically) placed behind the direction of our desire, the body is in direct trajectory between the ground and our desire. The ground supports us from underneath in our actions towards our desire --- then our desire will appear as if it had welled up out of the ground and through our body. Dance will then emerge from the ground.

Knowing what is a motivation comes with training our awareness --- to listen with all our senses available. This listening is a physical listening to everything that is outside and inside. One may think that motivation and truth must be inside of us, and therefore that we should listen inward. This is only partly true. What is a larger motivation comes from outside our consciousness, outside our physical body. However, it can only be observed (noticed) as manifestations in our body. By listening outward, we will observe that we are being moved by some remote will --- as if by the motivation/desire of the world. We are being moved, and it resonates with what we sense as our own profound desire --- it is an emergence of an expression of the true-self. Intuition and conscious intention --- together, in duality, they make appear and concretize a certain desire that has its roots in an origin of all things.
Dance is an expression of this desire. This desire may have no meaning, as any phenomenon may have no meaning. But one can choose to give us to want meaning in order to live. Dance is, in a sense, a vehicle to know one's own self.

4. Externalization
However profound our dance feels inside, if it is not externalized it cannot be shared with another. We must study how to externalize.
We often have misconception that our dance ends at the surface of our skin. This is not true. By bringing our attention to the outside world, not only do we receive from the outer environment, but we deliver our inner environment outward. It is often an act of opening or exposing outward.
Furthermore, the dance must be placed where it can be noticed and be appreciated. Even though the dance-work itself might reside in the realm of the unconscious and the unknown, one needs consciousness and intention to present the work Without a surface to place the paint on, one cannot make a painting. It is our work to understand what kind of surface we present our work on. We place our conscious eye outside to watch us. The conscious eye is an observer -- it is a bridge that delivers the dance to the public, and it anchors the dance of the moment onto the space which the dancer and audience both inhabit. As dancers, we must exist simultaneous in the time of our own dance and in the time of our audience. We must be present in our unconsciousness and in our consciousness.



Dance Workshop Description (2008)

DANCE WORKSHOP: « Sculpting Time »
--dance laboratory for fragility and strength of physicality, materiality, and spirit

"The basis of my dance is quite simple.  It is an attempt to be true to the environment at each instant, and thereby to let the environment to manifest itself in the body as presence, physicality, and movement.    

I found that this requires at first two principal elements.  
The first is to be able to sense the environment concretely. This requires certain reducing of noise coming from one's own self, opening of oneself to the outside intensely, and giving up of one's own want to express.   
The second element is to be available to be moved by the environment. This calls for knowing one's own body mechanism, strength, limit, center...., to be able to distinguish the subtle gradients of one's presence between black and white in one's nuances of properties such as  texture,  weight, density, and  light/darkness, and lastly to be able to give up following movements that come from one's own motivations and impulses.

I came to believe that, through this basic attempt, one comes closer to the expression of true-self. "
- Moeno Wakamatsu

Workshop Structure


Part I: Foundation:
Physical training for: awareness, strength, flexibility, sensitivity and concentration

Part II: State and Presence:
Exercises to:
-increase sensory awareness, open to new perceptions of time and space;
-inhibit compulsory actions and allow spontaneity;
-practice body mechanism to support states of expression.

Part III: Erasure and Becoming:
Using images and instructions of action to:
- erase functional/social self;
- alter ordinary boundaries between the self and the outside world to acquire more direct communication and way of being;
- make time and space visible, and allow inner desires to manifest outward.

Part IV: Solo Dances
free dance or with theme


Make the self disappear and make visible other things -
Dance is not only of the body nor only of the mind,
We are being danced by something larger, for which one can only yield and become available.
Our conscious minds and our expressions are too small
to come close to the essence, even of a single falling leaf.
Then, do not try to understand, but surrender and let us be not the creators, but the created.