Month: September 2014

Found in kinaesthetic translation

It has been a wonderful trip, made special of course by the people we have met. Having the chance to share my knowledge at a university, elementary school, special school and in the community has been given me such a wide range of experiences. Dance at Fukushima University with students and special needs support school students The translation of my practice has gone so well, of course with language translation from Kumi. But once the task or game was set up it invariably ran without a hitch. Taisei Elementary School So many parallels to the work in the UK, such as uninhibited 10 yr olds compared to shy early teens, the post lunch/break slump and that journey from the beginning of the workshop to the end when the air is charged with familiarity and warmth. Whatever the reason for each person being in the room, such as disability, curiosity, family connection or support worker, everyone got involved. It was quite beautiful. Tokuyama Community Hall Mihota Hureai Community Centre And of course differences. The community spaces …

Global participation

So I travel 6000 miles and I visit the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi. I find a retrospective of the work by Lee Ming Wei, an installation artist from Taiwan, with a passion for participation. I even find boxes, many boxes, reminding me of my own ‘work book’. Fabric of Memory 2006 As I kneel beside the box I attempt to tie the bow as beautifully as I found it. In my struggles I strike up a conversation with a Chinese tourist. She says to me, ‘he made it difficult so we would talk to each other’. The work is translucent but beautiful nonetheless. I move on to writing an apology to my parents in a cubicle and then on to The Moving Garden 2004, one of my favourites. I take a flower as asked to, with the direction to give it to a stranger after leaving the gallery. Lee is strongly attracted to the philosophy of gifts. Mine was received well, I gave it to a mother and daughter as I left the 53 …

Pause for a Shibuya flashback

I just love Japan. I arrived at my moderately priced (tiny yet perfectly formed) hotel room in Shibuya to this… A perfectly folded yukata and origami paper crane. Beautiful. And I love that I reconnected with people I literally haven’t seen for 11 years. Skyping my nearest and dearest in the middle of Shibuya. That was pretty beautiful too!

Mind the gap!

Maybe it’s because I am an inclusive practitioner, working in the moment improvising, but attending a day of dance training in Japan didn’t phase me. I was actually very comfortable seeing what I could understand, despite only having a basic grasp of the language. Of course the instructions from Cecilia MacFarlane (one of two UK Dance Artists leading, the other was Diane Amans) came in English, but in the afternoon participants took over, leading short choreographic tasks. And how much do we have to say anyway? Well that depends how physical you want to be in your demonstrations, and of course the learning styles of your students. The afternoon contained the full spectrum, from a high energy, follow me style to word intensive, 2 minute explanations. I’ve been mulling this theme over for a few weeks now. In August I popped in to see Marina Abramovics’ 512 hours, very few instructions were given, that was the point. But over the course of the 64 days the space began to embody the instructions. Of course duration …

Exploring with Kyoko

Kyoko and my ‘Workbook’ So I brought my work book to Japan with me. It took up most of my suitcase and represented my explorations and critical thinking as a Dance Artist and an MA student. The struggle it took to bring it 6000 miles is representational of the depths of my enquiries and commitment. I brought it to Kyoko, a friend from way back (both time and distance) to be the catalyst for our collaboration. Together we worked through the tasks and instructions as a facilitated, participatory ‘workshop’. And then we moved on, creating an ‘opening ceremony’. For when I leave Kyoko with the now empty ‘work book’, I will join the other participants with our twin ‘work book’, this time in Croydon. The open ceremony and the ‘work books’ will unite our two settings as we explore collaboration across distance. To work with Kyoko in her home town wasn’t imperative to the collaboration. But to have shared time together was a luxury, bringing a unique foundation to the project. I have though no …

Fukushima welcome

Beautiful session this morning, albeit an express service, with Fukushima University and affiliated special school students. Three 30 minute back to back workshops in 1.5hours! Everyone was extremely ‘up for it’ with dynamic energy in the room. Very similar feeling and energy to my UK work and great to have parents and support staff joining in. Also honoured to work with PE students at the university. With dance compulsory for secondary schools in Japan I hope my activities were useful. According to the Deputy Head I inspired them through my leadership style so hopefully they will take my influence forward. Looking forward to longer sessions coming up, duration is the key, but a short, sharp burst also seemed successful. Moved on to Tokyo now for a one night stay. Everything is express at the moment, it seems to be catching.

Reacquainting with old friends

I’ve been in Japan for nearly 48 hours, mainly trying to catch up on sleep and eating! It’s so interesting to be so far away from the UK but to arrive to familiarity. Memories are flooding back and my love for Japan is as strong as ever. I can’t deny that, apart from meeting my fabulous home stay family, visiting Family Mart, one of my favourite convenience store chains, has so far been a highlight. But! Today the visit truly begins,for this morning I will lead three inclusive dance workshops. I really don’t know what to expect, but that’s always the beauty of Japan.