"Our body is both living consciousness and matter --- a duality. On one hand, consciousness makes us unique individuals; It also separates the self from the outer world. On the other hand, we are pure matter which is in oneness with the cosmos. We cross and meet these two conditions, the individual
desires with the environment's necessity, to realize the human condition.
Rather than that we express our conscious selves in dance, we listen to the environment and allow the world to be expressed in the body. Our body is not a tool for expression, but the expression itself. Dance then is an inevitable natural phenomenon. This work requires a very high awareness of the environment and ourselves. We make physical, sensory, and image training, followed by dance led by precise subjects, and finally by making of one's own dance as well as group improvisation." Moeno Wakamatsu
WS Montreal June 2016 Moeno Wakamatsu
Friday 17th from 6 pm to 9 pm
Saturday 18th from 11am to 6 pm
Sunday 19th from 11 am to 6 pm
at Studio D325 (5445 Gaspé #325, Montreal)
Full explanation of workshop:
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 reality 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.
In the workshop, we address some fundamentals of how we could allow the invisible to manifest in us as a phenomenon.
We must understand 1. Shift in time. 2. Training the body as a 'whole self' 3. Emergence of motivation 4. Meaning of externalizing a dance, and the role of the consciousness and intention.
1. Shift in Time
Normally, what we live in daily life is what one might call a horizontal linear time.
We humans are born at a certain moment, and we all die at a certain moment. In our culture and in our society, we place so much value on what we accomplish, what we achieve, and what we acquire while we are alive. 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 have placed the past (which will never return) behind us, and the future(which we cannot know) ahead of us -- an image that is horizontal. We often project into the future what 'could be', or often we live in the past in the memory of what 'could have been'. Our consciousness is living in the future or in the past, and never in the present here and now where our actual body is.
If our consciousness is removed from where our concrete body is, then the reality of the present environment is invisible to us. Our sense of the world becomes vague, and we live in a world filled with information and ideas that are not directly connected with the real environment of each moment. Our social systems are also being driven by horizontal values. To meet the need of the society, our functions in life become horizontal. Our relationships with people become horizontal --- we speak from my idea to your idea, and we do not truly inhabit the same concrete time.
One of the ways how to shift out of this linear time is through the "matter" (matter/energy) of our body. With or without life, all matter exists concretely in the present time and space. Matter is true to the properties of its own materiality, it is honest to the forces of the environment. It has no cross-motivations. We often make a mistake to treat matter as only "things" with no heart or spirituality. As we observe the matter of our body, we will notice that without any of our conscious intention, it is already being moved by something as if by an unknown remote will -- an invisible desire -- , almost as if to express some godly will that exists far outside ourselves. This is perhaps an expression of our truer self that we cannot easily know.
2. Physical training:
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 physical 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.
We will train to utilize ground forces, to learn the use of the body with the least unnecessary tension, to learn to move the center and to attain suppleness of the base to support the center. 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 change 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".
Physical training and understanding motivation should be treated as one. 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 great listening. This listening is a physical listening to everything that is outside. 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 it is closer to reality, then perhaps we need less to make or have meaning. Dance is, in a sense, a vehicle to know one's own self.
However profound our dance, 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 ordinary world, 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.
Moeno Wakamatsu's short biographie:
Born 1975 in Tokyo Japan, Moeno Wakamatsu was educated in architecture and worked as an architect in New York City until age 27, when she left architecture to become solely a performer. She began her dance studies in her teens at The Merce Cunningham School of Dance, and later became involved in Butô. She began performing in 1997. Parallel to her dance work, she trained in the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education and has been teaching the method for the past 15 years. Although her dance work is often closely affiliated to the world of Butô, her work remains to be individual and without category, unique to her own self-research. She continues to present her dance as a solo performer and teach workshops in the US, Japan and Europe.
‘I wish to suspend within the moment where inner desire meets outer phenomena.’ - Moeno Wakamatsu
official website: www.moeno.com