Monday, October 5, 2009

Did you see the ducks in shiroato park?

Yesterday, me and meka did a collaboration with the band Floating Room at the Culture festival in Takatsuki city`s shiroato park. It was the most fun dancing ever for me and the music was super rad. Imagine- a trumpet that sounds like a provocative call for emotion, feeling, image, story, and then a steady beat that is egging you on saying go go, you know you want to. On top of this was meka`s voice, free, expressing things human and transgressing places that instruments can`t go, and I got to ride on top of this steadily on a sunny day in white make-up and a dress i made myself the night before. Top-class fun for me.

Highlights of the performance.

Before, I painted with the white kabuki make-up in the small, dirty park toilet. There were three sinks, and I took up one of them. The festival go-ers came in and out, surprised by the white white girl. I`d say "hi" or "excuse me" and they would start a conversation with me. To about three or four of these people who were curious about me and the make up, I asked them to paint a part of my body that i couldn`t reach - like the back of my neck or back. These interactions were really satisfying, and felt like a sharing of something.

During the performance, the ground was gravel and rolled and leaped, tearing the skin on my legs and feet. After this, The music was really great and it was a beautiful scene, so I was trying my best to keep my energy turning very quickly on the inside - an intense, slow, small dance- so that there weren`t too many different things going on, and i could keep a good sense of the people watching and the people doing the piece with me. So, all of this contained energy... but then these little girls walked by with their mother, and they seemed a little curious and a little scared. I was in the middle of a painfully slow seagull dance, and i jumped up with my wings in flight and ran after the little girls. They ran and screamed and everyone laughed. I was quite far away now, and I came across a group of teenage girls who were alarmed. I chased them too, more running and screaming, I continued running and landed in my original spot and continued the painfully slow dance. This was all very satisfying for me.

In the end, I feel very ... satisfied. I feel like it was a successful dance, that I have a good command of my body and a good concept of imagery and completion of movement as well as betrayal and surprise, that I am ready to begin to learn how to be a good dancer. However, I have yet to get to the starting point of the big "P" of performance, which is all it is really about.

Performance is "a specific event with its liminoid nature foregrounded, almost invariably, clearly separated from the rest of life, presented by performers and attended by audiences both of whom regard the experience as made up of material to be interpreted, to be reflected upon, to be engaged in- emotionally, mentally, perhaps even physically. This particular sense of occasion and focus as well as the overarching social envelope combine with the physicality of theatrical performance to make it one of the most powerful and efficacious procedures that human society has developed for the endlessly fascinating process of cultural end personal self-reflexion and experimentation." (from Carlson`s 1996 essay about performance studies)

Wow. I read this and I think that this is what I like in life, and this is what I want to do in life.

I didn`t know what "liminoid" meant, so I looked it up, and it means the threshold, the space in between that is blurry. In anthropology, liminality is a "transitional period or a rite of passage during which the participant lacks social status or rank and is anonymous and shows obedience and humility" (ripped off of good old, achem). Wow- a transformative time that is a crucial part of everyday life but is not bound by the same constrictions as everyday life. A space in between. YES.
I do not know how to make this yet. Akogareteiruuuuuu.

Here`s a picture of my golden butt.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mystery of Mysteries

My writing on dance has gone through many different stages since I was a wee teenager- I think it started in the emotional poetry phase, then in college began the aspiring arts newspaper critic phase, post-college was the dance ethnographer phase, and then I by and large quit about two years ago, the beginning of the current I-don`t-know-anything-it`s-time-to-try-it phase.

Resulting in sentences such as the previous "shinto stages are rad" gem.

My school`s computer somehow does not block blogger. So, I will try to oil up these rusty typing fingers.

Kiraza performed in Sakira`s obake yashiki again this year. When Ima-san is directing a dance, she considers each dancer, their background and ascetic, and what gets them engaged. I feel that the dances are becoming more westernized as people from different countries come to the studio. At first it was a little shock, because I was used to being serious in rehearsal and workshop; then I realized that the key to dance is play, and mixing the different people and cultures makes the class very exciting and playful. For example, this year`s finale for obake yashiki was Michael Jackson`s Thriller. Now, whenever a new person and new energy come to the studio, I feel like that person lends their singular to spirit to the exercises we are used to doing every week. Come different peoples of the world! I still think that the Japanese culture and language are very informative and integral to this work though- luckily we have a very sensitive group of international people`s with some Japanese ability and desire to learn.

August was summer vacation. I went to the Dairakudakan Gashuku in Hakuba, Nagano from August 1st until the morning of August 9th. It was a very large group of different nationalities, ages, careers, and etc. The majority were probably Japanese women in the their twenties who are involved with the arts in some way. Most were beginners to Butoh, I`d say. It was like summer camp, in that there was a daily schedule - wake up at 6:30 am, breakfast at 7 am, morning running and practice until 12, lunch, afternoon practice from about 1:30 - 5:30pm (rough estimate), dinner, and an evening lecture. The morning and afternoon practice was with the senior dairakudakan company members, and they were attended by junior and regular company members, who would help out and give each person individual attention. The evening lectures were with Maro-san, and were mostly listening, but later we tried to move a few minutes based solely on his verbal instruction, not copying any form. The morning and afternoon classes were almost the opposite- copying a form, and then trying to attach a philosophy or a logical reason to it. For example, "Do tako like this," and then after we try it for a while "and feel the water moving your arms in a figure eight pattern." Towards the end of the workshop, we focussed on learning, remembering, and perfecting the movements and formations for the Kinpun Kafkas dance we performed on an outdoor stage.

The beginning of the workshop was a great introduction to the body basics of butoh, from the noguchi taiso idea of the body as a sack of water, to this water spilling and moving the body. Also, the idea of the body hanging from or being pulled by strings, resulting in movement. It felt completely different and new, even though I do these same exercises with Ima-san, and in two workshops with Muroboshi Ko. But it is something to be felt very sensitively, so each time it is totally new, or there is a new nuance of it that is discovered. After a full day of this and some yummy meals cooked by fellow classmates, we listened to Maro-san cover his dance philosophies - why do humans dance, what is dance, how does he make dance. It is exactly as interesting as it sounds. (very interesting).

Towards the end of the workshop, I had a little trouble focussing, because we stopped learning new things about the body and butoh and focussed instead on choreography for the show. I like all of these movments, but it got a little redundant. I encountered a challenge, though, that taught me a way to use my body - after the large first section of dance, I did a lift with a male partner. The beginning was exhausting, but I had to make sure that my breathing was deep and I was relaxed and not tense in order to do the lift right. If I wasn`t, it would be hard for my partner, and maybe I would fall or get hurt at the very worst. Through this, I really felt my breath pushing towards the earth and the way of bending the knees so that weight is released through the ground. And the times when to let energy fly out and when to keep it in. And then I was spun in the air covered in golden oil and lying on my side on a man`s shoulders outside in the pouring rain at night with lights shining on me and old women taking my picture and smiling. The hard work of learning choreography and doing the movement I was told to do when I was told to was all worth it for that one moment.

After this I went to Tokyo and took class with Yoshito Ohno. Dairakudakan was all about form, whereas Ohno is pure soul and feeling. I mentioned that I just came from Maro-san`s workshop, and Ohno-san said ”まろさん。 彼は何をやっているかわからない。彼は自分が何をやっているかわからない。” or something like that. Ohno`s class is he tells a little story, gives a related suggestion, turns on the music, and you go. I felt a little funny first, like it was emotional movement and I would look silly the way that self-gratifying dance that "feels good" is sometimes too inward and communicates nothing. But then I kept listening and moveing, and I could see the beauty in his words and movements. And I started to see the value in earnestly trying to follow his verbal suggestion. "Roses are blooming from my fingertips, I am going to my limits, ahh." He stopped us, and said "You are performing in a theatre in front of a tough audience of the best dancers - they are so flexible and strong, they can do every movement, they`ve seen every movement. And you have to dance for them. You have to dance in a way so that they see you and understand `ah, this is his limit.`" I tried. I couldn`t move. Something inside of me was endeavoring to move, however, and resulted in tears running from my eyes.

I came back to Kyoto and did a performance with some Bliki Circus members in ZEST shopping mall. My dancing was different. A part of me felt more free, more into the dancing as a result of Maro-san`s lecture and Ohno`s words. A part of me felt like I merely imitated some of the good dancing I had just seen. Well.

Natsuon summer festival, Takarazuka tunnel event, and an Urbanguild kinpun show later and I am sitting at school. Work can drag on and on, as I wake up at 5:30 am, leave school at 5:30pm, go to some plan after school (usually dance related), get home at 11pm or 12am, and then do it again the next day. I have figured out where and at what time it is relatively safe to sleep at school. I want to keep learning dance and talking to people.

Today I visited the brass band club and made them laugh by doing kamome.

More should be mentioned, especially the all-so important details of what Ohno and Maro said. However, my notes are not on me. Lately I am reading Mikami-sensei`s phd about Hijikata. Very very interesting. A very well-written and informative thesis/ book. It is a treat.

Put these all together and what do you get... butoh, i suppose. Can anyone in the newer generations invent verbal imagery, philosophy, and works of a similar magnitude as these dancers? I haven`t seen that much out there, I suppose. But for dance to stay alive, it seems like the dancer/choreographer has to unconsciously change what they are given - do it their way, imbue it with their life and spirit. Or it becomes a copy of a copy of a copy. I suppose that`s stylish and postmodern, however... I want to see who else is out there.

Next is a performance this Sunday at Takatsuki`s shiroato park. I want to think up severe verbal imagery and a traveler character, and use the base body that I learned from Ima-san and have been reading about in the Hijikata thesis.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Kiraza performed at Matsuo Taisha in the beginning of May and it was very fun.
Shinto stages are rad.

Yes, it happened.

6.27 (sat) EXORCISMS
Caitlin Coker(dance)
杉浦梢(video, performance)
S.C.F (video,music)
OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00adv.2000 yen with 1drink / door. 2500 yen with 1drink

In May, I was invited by Andy of S.C.F. to perform in this program. It was a very big deal to me. Urbanguild is my favorite event space, and Nii Yumiko (the third name down) is one of my favorite dancers of all time. The invitation was to do a 30 minute solo dance in collaboration with a wicked awesome sound/video piece composed by S.C.F.

It was scary- how would it turn out? (The other performers are also seniors to me, and it is a Saturday night program.) And there went a month of rehearsing and thinking and trying... And the night came, and it was a success. People came. Dancing was done. S.C.F. had an awesome video, improvised a great sound score, and I wore a big paper costume and spit wads of paper at people. That`s not a good dance summary. Well, I connected things to the idea of the Teruterubouzu (see below picture). So, for me the dance had good coherency and a lot of possibility. And I felt a very deep real raw energy. Now, I am pumped.


Ready to dance more, to investigate this thing of performing for others, moving with others, moving, moving others, being moved. Breathing and being alive. YES!!!!

I applied to the Dairakudakan summer butoh intensive with a short and earnest email in Japanese saying "take me"! For fun, I translated my Japanese back into English through an altavista translator. Maybe this is only really funny for me, but I will post it. (Note that when I change my name to Japanese katakana and then have it translated back, it becomes "Kay phosphorus")

"To large camel warship,

We would like to apply to lodging together August 2009, it is, but. I say the Kay phosphorus which comes from America. Studying Japanese and dance at the American university, after graduating, it came to Japan. They are 24 years old. Six annual Japanese is studied, but still we are unskillful, you did not see. So, we would like to become skillful, it is. That compared to, we would like to dance, it is. Please participate in lodging together. We would like to persevere. Thank you. We ask may. Kay phosphorus"

So... thinking about going to this scares me, too! In a way that is a good sign. I`m sure I will feel many special things there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Somehow related to exorcism, I was wondering one day how I would physically express my idea of the void. I got home from work and lay down on the floor like "phew, home!" and I started dancing, to my surprise. I turned on my camera and did the same movements again. Watching the video, I realized how my physical expression of the void (that scary yet liberating, nothing yet everything, vibrating place) could be a good frame for film, playing with what's inside the empty space where my body isn't. I want to give this to you as a tool you can use while you are putting together your film, and you can give me requests if there are certain feelings/images that would couple well with certain parts of the film AND/OR parts of the film that you want to be highlighted or trapped in my void- in the negative space. Thanks!

I have to tell this story about my day at junior high school.
A million note-able things happen each day.
The girl in the back of the room who waves and smiles every time i look in that direction, for ex.
But! This is about my encounter with the math teacher.
My desk is next to the computer.
So often people have to sit next to me when they use it.
I chat with the English teachers in English, but I don't have many chances to talk to the other teachers, yet.
And they feel nervous around me, because they think I don't understand Japanese, and/or they think they should be able to speak English and I am proof of their English failure.
There is a math teacher that often makes me happy.
Now, in schools, I often get really hungry, but the times that I have eaten food at a time outside of lunchtime, other japanese staff make comments and I feel like "oh, i'm not supposed to do this, erm." But, I'm hungry, it's 5pm, and there is a snack! It's a dilemma.
I was wondering what my new school is like. It seemed kind of formal at first- can I eat snacks?
This is a very big question for me.
I was wondering this and walked by the math teacher in the staff room, at his desk, slowly eating a jumbo size pudding cup, enjoying each bite at 10 in the morning. He's a man in his 20's, rather normal looking, yet mannerisms a bit like a grandpa. In a tie eating a giant cup of pudding.
Another morning, morning meeting. In front of the vice-principal's desk, he pulls out a huge white oblong of bread in plastic packaging. He carefully reads the label, appreciating the ingredients and calorie information. He unfurls it and takes a big bite. Mmmm.
Today at 5 pm I had nothing to do at school and was hungry so I started eating a big piece of mochi. The math teacher sits beside me to use the computer. I continue eating the mochi, alternating between pulling off pieces and putting them in my mouth, and biting the mochi directly, gauging which way gets less rice flour on my fingers, but both ways get a lot of rice flour on my fingers. He carefully speaks to me in japanese, slowly and generously:

Math teacher: "What are you eating?"
Me: "Hmmmm" "mame daifuku butsuan"
Math: "Wow, that must be nice."
Me: "It is. Do you want some? you can pull some off."
Math: "ok"
"Do you like japanese sweets?"
Me: "Yes"

Eventually the intimacy of the moment struck me and i had to go and wash my cup and drink some tea. Also, Sitting next to someone and saying nothing is a special thing, but there is a tension when one person thinks they have to say something and i was thinking that kind of moment had come up.

That's it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Human Bodies are Crazy!

Everything changes
there's nothing to hold onto
to grab to cling onto
but i look down and you're still there
the same moles knuckles and nails

why don't you run away
why not be free of this
why do you choose to stay
even if your dna is that way

it's still the same as when i was two
still the same as the time i got a concussion
still the same as when i fucked on a mountain
how would i brush my teeth without you?

You're still here
You're still here
You're still here
On my arm

I know you're not really the same
because i heard somewhere that
all the cells in our body change
die and regrow in seven years

you're not the same but you keep coming back
even though there's so much i lack
we're not the same but you've still got my back
sometime lets go and punch a watermelon

You're still here
You're still here
You're still here
on my arm

everything changes
i change next year i'll be a thespian
and then a lesbian gay man drag queen
town whore huge bore

I'll get a new haircut
a new boyfriend
move to a new town
and get a new job again

you're still here
you're still here
you're still here
on my arm

thank you
for loving me
enough to be
a part of this

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Naturally Inclining to Interests

I've noticed lately a swelling of something in my chest in reaction to thinking/seeing what path comes next. What do I do the next second, the next weekend, the next year?

I stepped into a nasty thicket of grass and felt a tightness in my chest; my head chided and called me a coward, but my feet followed the feeling in my torso and stepped back. I stepped into another nasty thicket of grass and felt giddy and open in my ribcage into a smile on my face. A few large steps later and i found a large nasty circle of grass that smelled sweetly when i stomped into it.