Sunday, 8 August 2010

What I saw these days, June-July 2010

OK. Here are 11 events I have attended, and 7 of them are outside of theatres. They are in a bunker, abandoned building, square, historical house, hotel converted from town hall, and open space. Any place can be preference space. This is the current tendency in dance and performance, and I am very much interested in this kind of performance.

10/07/2010 Nederlands Dans Theatre, Programme 2, Sadler's Wells
I saw only the second piece by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, as I was working as an usher. Great body and technique of the dancers, great scenography but it did not touch me.

10/07/2010 The Bunker Thing, Bootstrap Bunker, Dalston, presented by East London Dance and Avant Garde Dance
Site-specific street dance. I felt powerful commitment of the performers and the site, bunk had very specific humidity, smell, dust and darkness, which were also powerful. I cannot deny the feeling that the performance is still the extension of 'community dance'. It may come from the fact that the majority of the performers were young probably in their early twenties. But I appreciate the project that conjoined the bunk and these young street dancers, who seem to share particular kind of anger and darkness.

08/07/2010 You Me Bum Bum Train, LEB Building, presented by Barbican
I am totally overwhelmed. And I had to face on my lack of confidence on talking and also lack of awareness towards social issues. It was painful, in the end.
The performance itself was really well done. It's all about you. You are forced to go through different rooms, to play different roles, and to talk about your opinions... It's meant to be fun experience, according to the programme note, which gives you a sense of achievement.
For me, it turned out to be painful experience due to my strong nature of self-accusation. I have realised the fact that no one actually accuse me but myself, and this is happening always and this is how I exhaust myself...

06/07/2010 Slow Dancing, David Michalek, Trafalger Square, presented by Sadler's Wells
There are several stages to appreciate this work in Trafalgar Square. There are three massive screens that anyone who passes by would notice. And the screes show three figures in unusual poses on each screen. This is the best advert for dance.
Then if anyone who decided to stop by, they notice the figures are moving very slowly. In my case, I felt luck of patience here.
I tell myself to stay and wait to settle down for actual watching. I stay and watch. Then I notice the relationship between three dancers, that may be happening or not. Sometimes I just amazed by lines of dancing body, sometimes elegant, sometimes powerful and sometimes unnaturally straight.
Someone tells me to have closer look at the images. I go under the screens. I see muscles of the dancers. They are all beautiful. I feel something organic at last.
I look around in the square. There are many people standing, watching, chatting, and relaxing and sitting on steps. It is the power of a square to gather people in this way, and also the three massive screen hold them there.

06/07/2010 Nederlands Dans Theatre, Programme 1, Sadler's Wells
I had not watched conventional dance for long time. I simply enjoy their great physicality and pay respect to their techniques that has been established after years and years of training. I know the enjoyment of dancing difficult steps in precise way, but I don't get excited by watching them as much as by doing them. I question what dance wants to achieve? I want to achieve strong communication through dance. So the steps really does not tell me things. Careful gestures and a way to stand that reflects the dancer oneself mean more to me. And scenography. The environment a performer is placed tells me more stories. Watching one of the best companies in the world, I have noticed where I stand and where I want to go.

04/07/2010 Lauder Dance House, Carlos Cortes, Lauderdale House
I went to see my friend Fumi dancing in this. On sunny summer Sunday afternoon, Lauderdale House is full of families with children. I like the opportunity for dancers to be exposed to the community and for the community to be exposed to dance. It is like a small gift in life, nice meeting point of people.
I have heard the director Carlos has visual art background. At some point, I started wondering what's the difference between dance and visual art. What's the difference between still figures and moving body? What's the difference between tasks or games and genuine action-reaction? What is special about dance with living bodies?


01/07/2010 Town Hall Artworks, walkwalkwalk, Town Hall Hotel & Apartments,  produced by Artsadmin
I like going to unusual architectures and that was the reason I attended to this event. Town Hall Hotel and Apartments is a luxury designers hotel converted from the historical town hall. They commissioned several young artists to make works for the building, and walkwalkwalk is one of them. They are a group of poets and their poetry based on some description of local community in old times (80's?) are engraved on plastic plates and placed on walls in many different locations in the building. The event was a tour of the building following the poets reading out each of the poems.
The concept of the hotel itself and the artwork commissions are interesting. But poetry is not my favorite form. Maybe because English is not my mother tongue, I tend to miss some of the information in a poem and cannot read between sentences.

26/06/2010 In Pieces, Tim Etchells &Fumiyo Ikeda, Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler's Wells
On the other hand, this performance is more like reading between sentences. Tim Etchells made fragmented text with Fumiyo that take a form of lists counting from one. For example,"one, I don't like garlics""two, I saw it" etc. Fumiyo combines talking, moving and dancing. There is something word can express, something between words and something dance can express. Emotion tend to go with words, which expresses more concrete fact and direct impact. Dance can take this fact further into the universe. I enjoyed the evaporation of meanings as I jump to different places with different emotions, each of which led by the text.

26/06/2010 Dalston (un)folded, Origami&Memory, London Festival of Architecture
I just happened to participate this event one Saturday afternoon. I saw hundreds of Origami cranes connected in lines and hanging in front of a building in Dalston. It's organised by architects. They also had a huge map of the area, where each of us can put a sticker at a place one has some memory. Everyone was also given a sheet of paper, part of which one create a origami crane to add the sculpture, and other part of which one write what memory one has with the place marked on the map. Dalston is rapidly changing last a few years with its redevelopment. An architect explained me that they are also interested how people feel and live in the area, as well as making buildings. I am impressed by the approach of architects who look at more human side and I liked how they explain their idea through this event where they communicate with residents by giving the instructions of the activities.

10/06/2010 Kabuki, Sadler's Wells
I was most happy to experience the special gentle atmosphere in the theatre with lots of Japanese people, some of them in traditional Kimono. I appreciate the form and style although I look at the opposite side in my own practice.
For the first time in watching Kabuki, I realised how the whole thing- sound and visual are well composed. I had never paid attention to the sound before. Kabuki 歌舞伎 means singing- dancing - skill. It is a form of musical theatre, indeed.

09/06/2010 Electric Hotel, Kings Cross, A pop-up out door dance performance presented by Sadler's Wells
They built 'Electric Hotel' for this show in open space in Kings Cross. People watch the performance taking place in the building from the outside through hotel's large windows. The audience wear a head set to listen to the sound.
What I enjoyed the most was the scenery and change of light around the hotel building. It is outside and we can see the church and Kings Cross Station behind the Electric Hotel. The show started at 9.45pm, when the sun was not completely gone and as the performance progressed it became dark. That was beautiful experience. I enjoyed some of the sound I heard through the headset. The distance of sound is somehow more remarkable on the headset. When we hear very close sound, we are not sure if it's actual sound in live or recorded sound in the headset. I see more potential in this matter.

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