Para ver este Blog en español ir a: http://gustavothomasteatro.blogspot.com/2007/07/cloud-gate-dance-theatre-taiwan-moon.html
Este Blog es copia directa de mi Blog oficial en Blogger: http://gustavothomastheatre.blogspot.com
(This is a translation by Tadeo Berjon from my post in Spanish)
I’m just back from seeing “Moon Water”, a masterpiece by this Taiwanese modern dance group, and my mind’s ready for writing…
For 70 minutes, my spectator’s mind lived a numbing process similar to the meditation process a newbie goes through: I started by experiencing total beauty, a feeling of purification, certain expectation for what was to come; then, a waiting, no more beauty (or beauty simply remains still), there’s repetition (like with breathing, like with mantras), and there’s confusion, distraction, the feeling of wanting to stop the experience, to cut it short, to change to a different mood or state of mind (there is a struggle); then, just before the explosion (which doesn’t come because I remain there, seated, waiting), there is enlightenment, a feeling of freshness where my spectator mind enters a new stage, letting itself go, and I realize my senses have become numb too, that my mind doesn’t struggle anymore (has it been vanquished?), I see (maybe I should say “I contemplate”) and listen without watching or listening, I’m empty and the image I contemplate fills the void. Unarguably, I’ve entered a meditative state that’s broken by the dark ending, by applause.
Did I watch a performance? Definitively. Did I contemplate a spiritual experience. Definitively.
I once heard or read about someone who had experienced “spiritual liberation” by watching his master in some process. Many, many speak about the spiritual experience of watching a taichi master performing forms for hours. The spectator is not a participant and yet the contemplating of the practitioner causes a revealing experience.
Then, I get lost in the experience, I get lost in the narrative.
I don’t know, I never saw any of Grotowski’s last performances, I only have second-hand information about them. My experience has taken me to watch other failed, lost, almost worthless experiments. Today, the performance at the Poly Theatre was different. I wasn’t expecting any performance of this kind and, while it was happening, I didn’t recognize it, and when it was over, I wasn’t quite sure of what I had seen.
I saw taichi (the group has been practicing it for years), I saw breathing techniques and a process of movement meditation (meditation has been part of their training), I saw a dancing technique of highest quality (the best modern dance technique and a formidable training, all evident on stage). But my emotions were eliminated, my reasoning was broken… there was only contemplation.
There is a peculiar turn to the idea of the performance itself (that it’s not a normal performance, that it doesn’t tell anything, that it’s an “experience”) but, in the end, that tricky turn, in which we so fervently believe at the end of the performance, is it simply proof of the egotistical ability of the director to erase bodies and minds to achieve his artistic goal?
Then, what did I see?
During my liberating catharsis I remember Butoh and Kazuo Ohno in particular, my body trembles with the memory, my emotion flows full of tenderness and compassion, of love, nostalgia, I can’t remember the choreography or even whether he was the choreographer or it was someone else’s piece. The difference, then, is evident. With Kazuo Ohno and Butoh I see only the modern Orient, modern Japan. With Water Moon I see the choreography of Lin Hwai-min, I see China and I see the fluidity of what I can understand as Tao. Differences… could they be comparisons?
“Moon Water” is a wonderful dance piece, which will remain not in my spectator’s memory, but in my body memory, just like a meditation experience. I can’t remember any one particular meditation, but I can remember the general feeling of meditating, a great meditation is everything; I can remember this great piece of dance-theatre as the fundamental experience of all the pieces of its kind.
Can all this be taken as speaking well of a performance? I don’t know. In the slightest. It’s speaking, simply put.