13.07 Workshop with Edegar Fernando Starke
Edegar stressed how butoh is concentrated on the individual body – every body has its own structure, in butoh, one uses one’s individuality and the anatomical structure, finding different and natural ways of moving. Butoh is also concentrated on minimazing the effort that is used to carry out movement. It is important to study your own body and movement so that you could be able to execute movements as naturally as possible and without using an extra force or effort. The same principle goes for everyday life: for example how you walk, sit,stand or grab things. The aim is to get to know your body and its natural ways to create patterns of right and comfortable postures and movements.
The workshop started with a Brazilian indigenous dance with very simple steps, but changing directions and moving all in one row as one body or organism. I helped to get the sense of others moving beside you, to synchronize my own movements, rhythm and tempo with others and I found it a good starting point as afterwards we concentrated more on our individual bodies.
Secondly, we practiced rolling on the floor, turning focus on different points on our bodies, trying to begin the movement from a certain body part. We did the first rounds in pairs and then continued inidividually. For me, the shoulders were the most difficult parts to start the impulse and movment from. Although I have done the same exercise many times in contemporary dance workshops or classes, I found it very useful as it really helps to get the sense of giving impulse and building the movement from a concrete starting point.
We continued with working on the parts of body that usually do not get so much attention, but still play a great role in dancing. Through massage and acupuncture we „awakened“ our soles. Soles hold such a great importance as there are several energetic points on them, which help to activate or effect other organs and body parts (which is also the main principle of acupuncture). It was followed by exercises where we concentrated on different parts of our sole to sense the contact with ground and to achieve a more senistive and responsive way of getting support from the floor. We tried different areas in the room, to sense different materials, temperature and structure beneath.
We continued with exploring the fgure 8 throughout our whole body, experimenting with different shapes firstly in our pelvis and then creating improvisations growing from the same figure. We experimented with the density and intensity of movement, beginning with wide amplitudes and intense movements, then pulling it in step by step and finally working only on the inner level, without showing any movements to the observers. The most interesting was to see how the concentration and presence tightened up when the movements were carried out inside. I could see the visible change in other group and also sensed it myself. It was more difficult to continue with microscopic movements, my muscles were more tense and I felt my focus tightening and turning inwards. As we did another exercise with improvisation, we were asked to bring it inside rather quickly and that was an interesting turning point, as preceedingly we all had quite wide and dynamic movements derived from the figure 8.
We finished the workshop with an energizing exercise from Kundalini which consists of 15 continuous shaking, eyes closed, releasing your diafragma through deep breathing while also relaxing all your muscles. At one moment, during the shaking, I could feel a strong wind coming from the sides. At first I thought it was Edegar who was moving around us, sometimes helping us to relax our diafragma through massage or pressure, but then I understood that the doors were open and the stormy weather had produced wind which was blowing inside. It somehow helped me to release my body and to give in to the natural rhythm and flow of the shake. Right after Edegar asked us to stop and open our eyes, I got some very strong and interesting sensations: my skin had become super-sensitive, I felt my fingertips, earlobes, even the littlest air breezes on my skin. I also felt very energized, my whole body was like electrified, vibrating and tingling all over. It was a bit like I had no skin, like my essence had broken out of the boundaries of my body and skin and expanding and carving its way to the open space. I also felt an extreme burst of relieve and happiness.
From the same flow of energy, we were asked to do a dance improvisation, to relate to the space surrounding us, to its objects and others.