Monday, February 23, 2009

To Butoh!

I'm 24, so i guess this means that I constantly question everything I am doing and change my mind a million times. One day I can feel like I don't like Japan anymore, my boyfriend is the worst, and I am out of here in a month, ready to live on a farm for a while and learn about holistic medicine. Other days I realize not to be such a moody Gus, and I fall in love with everything again and can see the value that lead me to where I am in the first place.

I had a similar experience with dance lately. We finished our second show in Gojo Rakuen, a beautiful old traditional theater, and the show was about catching happiness, catching success, fish swimming up a waterfall to become a benevolent dragon. The show was called "Koi Tsukami." It was a success. It was fun. Many people came. Something I am so thankful to be a part of.

Before, I had some difficulties and some questions. It's hard having 9- hour rehearsals where nothing seems to get done, and it's Kyoto in the middle of the winter. It's hard not knowing what you want to do, and being put in a position where what you are doing isn't interesting to you or the choreographer and you dont know how to change it b/c you aren't the choreographer. These two main things were frustrating for me, and made me feel tired. Which i hate. B/c even if I am just standing there practicing how to hold a fan, or even if i am pretending to be a sumo wrestler with a beautiful woman... these are beautiful things. They are movement, and if i surrender to them, i can become free.

So, the show happens, and it is good. I enjoy it. These short simple sentences do not signify a lack of meaning, but actually an absence of confusion and questioning. The shorter the more concise and committed the meaning. It is good, it is fun, i feel alive. These are not pessimistic statements but actually the most positive, that life doesn't need to be thought about but just needs to be lived.

Lately I have also been questioning where I want to live and how I want to live or dance. I have been with the same dance teacher for two years, I am the most senior member in the dance company, what does that mean?

Well, yesterday I went to a random dance workshop instead of my teacher's workshop. This random dance workshop was in a space where I have been to many random dance workshops, back before I started this whole butoh kick. But who i was in this workshop was totally different. I was alive, wanting to interact with everyone and everything, open to experiencing what was happening. I didn't feel pride in superiority in this fact, but I knew that every movement I made, with it's permanence and impernance, commitment and elasticity of movement, was beautiful. And every movement everyone else made, especially that slightly strange people, like the old salsa dancer or the man who had some kind of disability or the woman who was slightly too thin and self-conscious or the woman who was round and had a haircut like a china doll, it was all beautiful, too. My awareness of the space and of my own body was totally different. And that is thanks to the teacher that i have now.

After the workshop was over, people recognized me from KoiTsukami and told me they went to the show. One girl saw my teacher on television. It was a good affirmation that night of what i am doing - wow, i feel a big difference by being with this teacher and this group... and there is even external recognition. what a good feeling!

It is nice to know that butoh is the way that i want to go in, and that i trust this teacher's vision.
Apparantly, that same night, an old member of my teacher's group said that other members of the group can "learn from me." She said that I am a good example of the group's feeling and movement. This makes me happy. Because of the language barrier and my own insecurity, sometimes i feel like i dont know anything, dont have a grip on what is going on. But, i do. It' good.

So, even though everything in my life is turning around and I am not sure what is next, I feel quite sure about dance. I feel more sure about butoh. I feel certain that i will stay here for another year with the teacher i have now.


Matt and Beth said...

we love you.
beth and matt

Melissa T. said...

Wow Caitlin, what a wonderful post. This is the tragedy of being our age, I think... that we have a hard time maintaining a stable vision of what we want. Our perspective can be really given over to the vagaries of what happens day-to-day.

It's really good to hear how successful you've been with butoh, and an update on your plans. I hope I'll be able to visit this year and maybe see a performance.