Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Phantom", a Butoh improvisation in front of Athabasca Glacier, Jasper.

Silent Shout -Butoh improvisation in front of Athabasca Glacier- (Jasper National Park. Gustavo Thomas © 2013)
Silent Shout -Butoh improvisation in front of Athabasca Glacier- (Jasper, Canada. Gustavo Thomas © 2013)

The Rocky Mountains are an impressive line of mountains which goes from the United States to northern Canada. Following one to another dozens of national parks were created in the two countries for the conservation of these natural wonders. As myself living in Canada considered a must visiting this place and this summer of 2013 went to the national parks of Banff and Jasper in the province of Alberta.

Very personal reasons (as always happens) took me there, but I kept the wish to do some Butoh improvisations in those landscapes full of snowy mountains, huge glaciers and beautiful lakes.

Performing Butoh in these places was not only for framing my work with a beautiful -or impressive- natural setting, but also entailed a real Butoh practicing in total relation with the basic teachings of  Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, the creators of Butoh in Japan: the dialogue with the natural environment with our movement. Our body, in the thought of Hijikata, has been domesticated in every way through the life in the city, our movements are codified and we must seek break those codes (Kazuo Ohno spoke of moving our body with the impulse coming from the heart); a way to break those codes of movement is going back to our natural sources, places which by their unique force bring us back to our primordial state. That means, of course, hard work, practice and exploration, but since I started my work with Butoh I decided that this exploration with the natural sources should have a big importance in my professional life, a big importance in my own technical findings.  

I am a man born and raised in a city, so I could not go to find my sources to my original place out of the city -like Hijikata in the Akita region, for example-, but I can go to places where I feel impressed by their beauty or by their own force. Every improvisation in those places brings the source I'm looking for, it is an adventure and I feel how my body revolutionizes itself, feeling the soil, the wind, the sun, the extreme weather.

Butoh Improvisation in Front of Athabasca Glacier (From my Butoh Vlog. Jasper, Canada. Gustavo Thomas © 2013)
The walking phantom -Butoh improvisation in front of Athabasca Glacier- (Jasper, Canada. Gustavo Thomas © 2013)
Weeks before this travel I had many rich and powerful experiences with several masters of Butoh, first in Japan with Yoshito Ohno, Natsu Nakajima and Seisuko, and after that with Denise Fujiwara, and Ko Murobushi who visited Toronto. All of them have a different interpretation of Butoh but they are also great teachers and guides, so I can find my own way of absorbing their teachings without any fight in my mind. Those teachings were practised in these improvisation in The Rockies and I felt great.

In this post I share one of the four improvisations I performed there, but my plan, if I find the time to edit everything, is to share the all four, of course.

With this video in the Blog you can see some photographs I considered of some value to illustrate better what I experienced.

Video "Phantom" 
Gustavo Thomas Butoh improvisation in front of Athabasca Glacier, Jasper

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