| 30 June, 2012
"Your Light is My Darkness (in Praise of Shadows)" / Dellamore Dllamorte
In the weeks that followed my latest Ankoku Butoh performance –
entitled “Suffer Little Children”- quite a few random people
approached me and spoke to me. After letting me know that they had
been in the audience (which I had absolutely no idea about), they
either gave me their feedback or made an attempt to “understand” my
work. I don’t use to explain my work so that last part couldn’t
really happen; however a genuine feedback is usually welcome,
regardless of it being positive or negative.
What is “understanding”? Isn’t it a subjective point of view based
on one’s own experiences, emotions, thoughts, beliefs,
consciousness and perception, karma and what not…? What is the use
of trying to “understand” someone’s inner world… when that inner
world is exposed, reflected and depicted on the canvas of
psychosomatic expression of its creator and therefore shared to the
world? There’s nothing there to “understand”. It’s there, IN YOUR
FACE, either you like it or not. If it gets too much for you to
handle, just walk away; it’s as simple as that. As long as you feel
it, that’s what matters. To feel in the sense of having your
emotions stirred up, having your intestines shaking due to the
vibrations you receive, having your eyes itching yet being unable
to look away, having your skin shivering etc. While at the same
time, you’re puzzled and full of emotions and random thoughts,
without having a clear idea why.
It needs to be mentioned that most of the feedbacks I have received
from different people had something in common. They described my
performance as “Dark” or “Too Dark”… I have absolutely no idea what
people mean when they say “Dark” or how they perceive darkness and
light. However, I need to confess that it somewhat amused me.
Considering that “Ankoku Butoh”, can be translated as the “Dance of
I feel like bringing up the myth of Prometheus. After he shared
“Light” (in the form of fire) with humans, the rest of the Gods
condemned and cursed him; thus he was sentenced to eternal torment
for his action. (Prometheus is also credited with the creation of
Man from Clay… Does that sound familiar?!) Do I also need to
mention that Lucifer means “Light-Bringer”? Fanny coincidence…
(ooops, pardon me, I meant “funny”!)
At this point, it feels essential to quote Tanizaki Junichiro (a
Japanese Novelist): “I would push back into the shadows the things
that come forward too clearly, I would strip away the useless
decoration. I do not ask that this be done everywhere, but perhaps
we may be allowed at least one mansion where we can turn off the
electric lights and see what it is like without them…” (There’s a
secret of Butoh lying here).
One should question himself how it is possible to see with the lack
of light. Then he might’ve realized how both useful and useless the
physical eyes are. And as in a revelation, that - ephemeral (yet
eternal), never ending (yet standing still) - canvas of illusion,
otherwise known as physical world, would be TORN APART or simply
collapse or even transform and reform!
Isn’t exposure to a high amount of light dangerous? In other words,
it could make the “blind” one… blind. Oh the irony.-
The eagle can look directly at the sky, without having his vision
affected or damaged. At first, you need to crawl underground. Then,
slowly, gradually and eventually you might learn how to fly in high
heights. However, the “route” between Earth and Heaven and vice
versa is a long one and it definitely isn’t an easy one. Remember,
mortal things must wither.
The writer Sondra Fraleigh - in her analysis about Hijikata’s last
lecture - puts it wisely:
“In ‘Kaze Daruma’, we gain an understanding of the darkness that
compelled him, not an evil force as it is so often characterized in
the West, but rather a trust in the truth of primal experience”.
…Fear is the only darkness…
Hello Mr. Lee. I've been in a semi-writing mood lately.
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| 17 June, 2012
The Spirit of Butoh / Dellamore Dllamorte
during these last days I’ve been questioning
myself if the Butoh
Spirit can be taught or if someone either has it
or not. There are
many (modern) Butoh dancers in the world who have
control, strong stage presence etc. but still,
when they perform
something is missing. It feels like their dance is
empty. Like it
has no “blood” in it. I think this “problem” is mostly common among
the Western Dancers. They learn the basic
different techniques of
Butoh, they create their own way of moving and
they have the false
impression that if they move in strange ways, if
they make odd
faces or weird sounds, then they can become Butoh
that’s not the case at all. That’s pretending and
even if it looks
Butoh-ish, still it has nothing to do with the
essence of Butoh.
Kazuo Ohno said: “The body in Butoh is already the
on the borders of Life and Death”.
Tatsumi Hijikata said: “We shake hands with the
dead, who send us
encouragement from beyond our body; this is the
unlimited power of
Butoh. In our body history, something is hiding in
subconscious, collected in our unconscious body,
which will appear
in each detail of our expression. Here we can
rediscover time with
an elasticity, sent by the dead. We can find
Butoh, in the same way
we can touch our hidden reality, something can be
born, and can
appear, living and dying in the moment”.
How many Butoh students can understand these words? And when I am saying “understand”, I don’t only mean with mind, but I mean with body,
My question is: “Can the Butoh Spirit be taught?”
The following is my response to his question
What is to teach?
Actually, it’s impossible to teach.
I have never been a teacher. Hijikata couldn’t teach it. Teaching process is
from Ego to Ego in my terminology. Life feel it ‘force’. Life doesn’t like to
Through an unknown Life resonance
process, something might be infected.
But, when the Ego or Self was infected, it must be just an imitator. Then many 'modern butoh dancers'
They continue the Ego expression
or Self expression in modern western way.
We need to find the secret wormhole
to transform from Ego to Life.
I can be just a midwife who facilitate in a
safe way to be non-dual Life. Life will teach.
It is the reason why I don’t use the word of
teacher, and be a midwife.
I think now you may be ready to be in the midwife course.
You can solve the question by your self.
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