Crimson Coast Dance

May 28, 2021: BUTOH & LANDSCAPE UNDER SKIN EXPLORATIONS by Geneviève Johnson

In this blog, you will find a series of Butoh and Landscape Under Skin Theatre exercises.
You can explore them as individual exercises to create short poems in motion.
Make them yours by being creative with them.

Why did I choose these explorations in particular?
I put these explorations together
because they specifically relate to the individual workshop sessions
I will be providing throughout the month of June.
Some are new exercises. Some were in previous blogs.
I gathered them all together here for you.

(You still have until this coming Sunday May 30th to apply
by sending me your answers to 5 questions
posted last week.
Click on this link to get there:

May 21, 2021: ONE-ON-ONE WORKSHOP INVITATION by Geneviève Johnson – Crimson Coast Dance )

Preparation: A Mindset

To prepare for your private workshop
you can explore a few or all these exercises
with one difference:
keep your crafted piece or the patchwork kimono path in mind as you do or watch the exercises.
(Exploring exercises is not mandatory for the workshop.
They are inspiring points of entry..)

Also:
You don’t have to be a visual artist to create or chose your crafted piece.
Take this time to genuinely connect with yourself.
Take it as a meditative time to simply “be” or reflect…

Top left is an example of a crafted piece I will attach to the kimono path. I found a bird skull in my yard and felt the connection between its fragility and my own britle bones. I stitched a galaxy around it as to protect it until it disapears into dust.

Left: created by a first time 12 year-old knitter – Right: created by a seamstress…

– everything that comes from the heart is welcome –

Pratical Explorations

Simple Fluid Choreography
I use the Simple Fluid Choreography to warmup.
Draw figure 8, waves and circles all around you with different parts of your body.
Explore levels, directions, and planes.
Change size and speed.
Draw until you feel a mental let-go

Crossing Walks (Carrying the Universe – Becoming Flower)
In these walks, crossing the space as slow as you can,
imagine that you are carrying something very fragile;
something you are responsible to bring to the end of your walk.

It can be:

  • becoming the universe carrying millions of worlds, stars, creatures…
  • carrying a flower for the whole cycle of its life, becoming this flower as you walk…

Verbalized Images
In the verbalized images exercise,
a partner gives you images in the form of words said aloud
and you allow these words-images to move you.
By awakening embodied memories,
words generate images to be lived as bodily metaphors.
They open up a space within for a secret dance where words are experienced:
various words qualities bring forth different physical states.

Words themselves have more than a power of evocation, they have a power of active mobilization.

Below is a list of images to move you. You can create your own lists: past sensory experiences, childhood memories, creations from your imagination, images from books…

Oppositions
Butoh is a dance of “the tension in-between opposite poles”.
You never move in a single precise direction.
Your movement is always caught between
two (or more) pulls in space or images in different body parts.

Walk.
Chose a direction then be pulled in the other.
Resist both pulls. Feel the in-between.
Explore this dance of hesitation between two directions, two actions, two qualities…
Be where you are not. Dance where you are not.

Bisoku
Bisoku litteraly means “slow fast”.
Min Tanaka developed these exercises to re-learn how to move normally (fast) by moving extremely slow; reconnecting with all the cells in your body.
In the following explorations, move extremely slow.
Imagine every fiber in your body expanding in space.

Bisoku work will help you connect with and find support within yourself, the ground and the world around.

  • You can grow under a blanket, long coat or kimono.
    The fabric touching your skin helps you visualize your skin cells expanding.
  • You can grow by a tree. It brings you a sense of support (or even a real concrete support – by leaning or pulling on it – if you need it) .

Objects and Words
Relating with object
Frist explore moving with a chosen object:
Explore texture, sound, shape, smell, light through or on it …
How does it move or not?
How can it become part of you or a part of your body (a new limb perhaps)?
What memories does it bring back?
If it was a person or an animal what would it be?

Write about it
Gather images from your object exploration. Write them down.
Dance these words as new images to move you.
Move these new images with the object…
Keep a movement phrase you like and repeat it.
In the video below: I explored moving with a branch.
Words and images that came:
cracking, frail, mossy smell, stiff and springy at once, become fingers, claws, antlers, cane…
very old person, supporting, wise, delicately dancing…

Words organisation (very short poem)
Organize your words in a sequence you like
A very short poem you can learn by heart.
Say it as you move your movement phrase.
Or record it and listen to it as you move. 
Let it influence your way of moving…

(I danced on my recorded poem in the video exploration below.)

Kimono Walk
Thread one of your arms across both sleeves from one wrist opening to the other.
With your other arm take the bottom of the fabric.
You are now transporting a loved one:
passed away or alive, known or unknown, invented or real…
someone you care about…
Let them come back to life. Moving beside you.
Don their presence. Becoming them.
Then say good-bye and separate from each other…

Have fun moving!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *