18.07 Workshop with Yuri Dini
Warm up was inspired by yoga and different contemporary dance exercises as we moved around in the room, did different shaking and running exercises to free the body from tension, streched and did exercises to open our torso and joints. Some of the exercises were quite similar to Masaki’s or Minako’s warm up also, for instance releasing and warming up the joints through shaking wrists combined with sudden release and tightening movement.
We also learned a very interesting traditional chinese martial arts and energy practice, which was clearly similar to tai chi – directing energy, sensing the energy when you carry out smooth and flowing movements.
Yuri Dini described his own approach to butoh, saying that for him it deals with darker themes but it has always something delicate, beautiful and light to offer and to balance it with other tonality. Throughout the whole workshop he stressed the concept of healing through dance. He reminded us the oppositions and dualities of yin and yang that also hold different movement qualities like giving/active/more intense and opened vs recieving/passive and more closed movement.
To experience the relation between tension, pain and beauty we did an exercise where we had to embody a flower that blooms in the water and is strongly rooten underneath. We turned ourselves very slowly and had to gradually lower our position from knees, still holding hands horisontally on both sides, just until the moment when we feel extreme tension and would curve our baks to continue. We had to continue in that inconvenient and painfulposition for several minutes, while simultanously giving all our attention to embodying beauty, fargility and blossoming. Thi is the technique, Yuri explains, which confronts the pain and the inconvenience in one’s bodily position to the beauty and delicacy. In taht way, you direct your focus from the pain to other parts of your body and that ables you to continue, as it also creates a very intense and interesting stage image for the audience who can feel your struggle but is also exposed to the beauty you are creating with your figure, your face and intention. After some time in the forementioned position we were asked to gradually transform it into graceful movement, embodying the air and wind beneath the wings of a bird. We could also embody the bird itself, flying and flowing in the air. The exercise was really about comcentration, self-discipline and directing focus as both the knees, ankles and hands were under severe pressure for several minutes. But as soon as I understand how to direct my focus from the painful body parts to elsewhere and to concentrate on the intention of offering a beautiful and poetic image, I felt that I can continue and look past the pain and inconvenience.
We also practiced the ghost walk of traditional Japanese no-theatre. And afterwards Yuri talked about his perspective on the dance-music relationship. I valued a lot the fact that we did all the exercises with Yuri himself playing different instruments and singing,so it felt like a dialogue between him and us, between his music and our movement, between two-sides of creation.
We learned how to arrive to the healing in our own creative or improvisational process. Our last exercise with Yuri (and the last ofthe whole workshop series) was based on a freely chosen theme, which we had to write or draw on a paper, to relate it with different images, kinaesthetical metaphors, qualities etc to create a 30 min solo. Yuri advised us based on each own’s subject and we discussed how it would be best to depict the journey that was based on an individual memory experience or problem. It was great that he encouraged us to deal with deeper and harder themes, for examples negative patterns that tend to emerge often in our lives or with emotional and mental block that we feel we could solve and let go. For my solo, I chose anxiety and the journey or situation which precedes and follows it. As I had written anxiety in the centre of my paper and then drawn lines around it with senses, qualities and images that are related to the sense of anxiety, Yuri made an interesting remark, saying that sometimes the way we write already offers us the way how to portrait and embody it in our movement and choreography. So I used spiral movement along which I embodied different stages and feels (like being underwater, not able to breath, having a stone in my stomach, walking on slippery floor and falling, isolation from outer world and other people, fear, the feel of not controlling yourself etc) that emerge while suffering a strong anxiety attack. After that I started to transform the movement through qualities and images that I had written and carry the sense of relaxing, letting go, coming back to myself and finally the feeling of calmness, oneness and total freedom. I balanced the inner tension, closed energy of anxiety with the openness, offering and release of coming over it. So I started from a fetus position, moving of the floor, and tranforming it into opened and amplified movmenets,f inally just swirling and spiraling all over the place. When we were asked to conclude it and come to and end, I felt like I had purified myself – it was a strong sense of freedom and letting go of something that is harmful for my mind, body and soul.