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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Delicious Movement workshop comes to Carleton campus

<e is a certain preconception about dance. Invigorating, brisk movement and forceful flair is often expected. Eiko and Koma, acclaimed experimental performance duo, escape those notions and draw more weighty expression in their art. Their dance breaks free from any one brand. The duo is known for their unconventional approach to movement. They reach out to their audience through penetrating but slow visual poetry.

The dancers offer performances and workshops nationwide, and last Tuesday, January 25, Eiko Otake brought her Delicious Movement Workshop to Carleton as part of Carleton’s “Visualizing Japanese Theater” exhibition of Japanese drama, dance, and visual art that has been going on throughout winter term. The seminar was open to both dancers and non-dancers and offered the opportunity to investigate movement that transcends time and space. “Japanese Theater’s” visual art exhibition, “The Art of Sight, Sound, and Heart,” can be found in the Carleton Art Gallery until March 9.

At the beginning of the workshop, Eiko demonstrated her type of dance, which was slow yet poignant. Her “glacier-like” movements seemed to change the ambience of the room. Next, she instructed the participants to experiment the movement for themselves. She tossed out words of inspiration, as everyone was sprawled on the floor, caressing the ground and acquiring a feel for space.

This writer had never truly danced before, but this dance seemed more like thinking without the mind. It was the paradox of thinking without thinking. The space felt heavy as the stillness embraced every inch of movement. Eiko said that we must “move like [we] are sleepy.” She suggested that our movements should be “so meaningless that it [is] almost sad.”  All of the participants closed their eyes and seemed to move purposelessly. With this meaninglessness, however, seemed to be a certain type of liberation from burden and thought. As one participant mentioned, “I felt free.”

Next, she had the group separate into pairs. Each partner took turns choreographing or offering a word of inspiration. During the choreography, the partner would gently direct the movement of the other. The mover then had to translate this energy into some innate course or motion. Ultimately, each pair moved as one, back to back, responding to the partner yet not entirely emulating the movements. It was a unique kind of bonding and intimacy, as the partners seemed to realize a certain mutual understanding through mere moments of contact.

The workshop provided an opportunity for dancers and non-dancers alike to experiment with this kind of art form. It was dancing without much movement, talking without many words and meaning without much meaning. It was deliciously ironic.

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