Rachel, I've never seen you dance. Are you a real dancer?
Yes, although I don't point my toe quite enough. I've trained in various Modern dance techniques but, unfortunately, my training is mostly in improvisation, alignment-based techniques and Japanese performance art informed forms.
What's the difference between Butoh and booty dance?
Not much, except that Butoh is a bit scarier, more nobbly and often moves more slowly than booty-shake informed arts.
Do you have to train to improvise?
Technically, of course not! BUT[T], like any improvisation - music, theatre, legal, social, grammatical - the more you practice, the more skills you have to draw upon.
Erm... none of this sounds pretty. Dance is about beauty, no?
Well, yes, of course, dance is essentially a celebration of female grace and the straighter the leg, the better. Hence this kind of thing cannot compare in dancitude to this kind of thing, which is pure beauty and imagination. But no, I can't disparage that dancer's excellent control and lifelong commitment to training. Still, you apply your own score to the first example.
What was that first thing you posted?
That "thing," as you so disrespectfully put it, is one of the more vigourously perceptive and committed performers I've met and - to answer your next question - she's a butoh dancer and yes, I'm training with her this week in Berlin.
So this is the kind of thing that's just done like in Berlin, right?
Right. It's not meant for 'the real world', nor is it meant to challenge anyone else's sense or understanding of self-reflection except those who have access to a Berlin travel pass.
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Fine, I'll cut to the chase. Basically, Butoh engages with both internal and external processes of the dancer mind, just as many other post-Modern forms do. Except, really, this extreme level of embodiment allows the dancer to see their body as both what it is and what it isn't, therefore exploring a kind of anthropomorphism or semblance of another existence. I guess you could say a lot of performance focuses on how to inhabit character or just how to communicate one's internal workings on a social level. But it's not just Butoh - you have many disciplines, performers, dancers, choreographers who do this. What I love about dance is finding the milky lip, the tender borders that divide all that is inhabited within the skin and intention of our bodies // mind, thought, sickness, evolution, joy // and sending it directly to the body of collaborator, viewer, etc. What stirs in me may shake in you. I don't know. But if your eyes are open, we may find out. Best way to do it is to let me come to your house and perform for you.
Uhhh, that's a bizarre offer.
Well... I would. I would genuinely love to do that.
What about your songwriting - where has that gone?
It's still there. I mean, of course it is, although writing words that seem to cut out much of the mystery of the interior is less interesting to me now BUT I think there's a simplicity of saying with mouths that can be more easily digestible. I love writing songs and love listening to them. It's just that dance makes me want to live.
You win the interview battle.
I’m vowing to write again everyday for the next several weeks, much as I unsuccessfully vowed on the initial stages of my travels.
As I was looking out at the world from home in Oakland, I wondered - I’ve always wondered - how does one operate as a travelling artist. Who does that? What is it like? Now, I’m in a funny ol’ position - having multiple homes, multiple stops full of embrace, laughs, sarcasm, and spite - but I can say for certain that I packed too much, brought some of the wrong things, and needed to swap out my luggage for prettier, more functional pieces. I can’t always cling to the things I need in one place; they’re irrelevant elsewhere, but I can leave them in safe places.
What happened in Belfast, though? I did, I nearly got knocked off kilter a bit; I certainly had to face pastness and honesties. Yes, I was very different when I lived in Belfast from what I am now and, at many corners and in the looks on many faces, I had to face Rachel Pasada. But I’m intensely grateful for wisdom smuggled in through the cracks/the craic: when the student is ready, the internal teacher will arise. And, oh dear, she is here, and I’m full of ideas and executions, looking ahead with great wonder/curiosity/fear. “And now I don’t know where I’m going//All I know is I’ll hit the ground running,” to quote Bill Callahan.
And yeah, somehow, I’m breaking past shit I never thought I could and being with myself, being compassionate selfward.
Meanwhile, one of my ongoing hobbies, creating bogus wifi identities, such as the one below:
**** Also, if you’re reading this and were referred here from Facebook, please hit like because, you see, my mum worries that she is the only one reading my blog and actually many of you have verbally mentioned my blogs to me. But my mom isn’t standing there when you do that. And what is Facebook, except another working-out of that Momlationship.
I've been landed in Belfast for over a month, this home of my new bones, this place that does provide a rest, if one that feels separate from the troubled world. I'm nervously moving about the place, afraid of suction-cup-for-feet but fearful of this wandering upon which I have set my sights. Facing the sun of opportunity is a means of navigating this transition from part-time to full-time art maker.
As most transitions, it is a sensitive time and I feel the regrowth of old limbage. I move ahead in faith, grateful that at this specific instant I am taken care of; I hope next month is the same. I've been housesitting my way through the month, which means living with the ever-present memory of absent dear ones.
I never seem to bring a heavy enough jacket for my days out in Belfast.
The California drought burned the memory of cold weather out of my body's mind.