“Can any hide himself in secret places so that I shall not see him?” says the Lord. “Don’t I fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.Jeramiah 23:24
The dance congregation takes place inside or outside enclosures, with or without music and with one or more guides.
A great anxiety has God allotted, and a heavy yoke, to the children of Adam, from the day they leave their mother’s womb until the day they return to the mother of all the living.Sirach 40:1-3
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world, and those who dwell therein.Psalm 24:1
Sirach 40:1-3 highlights humanity coming from the womb and returning to the mother of all. Yet Holy Mother Mary/Creation, like all saints or angels, only points to The Glory of The Most High. While Creation can be heavily revered, it is God The Creator alone who is the only one to worship.
The world is the stage or pulpit for God’s dance. Even though the Deceptive Serpent moves through the material world, the material itself is pure when its purpose is solely to direct attention towards The Supreme Being, the one who brought it into existence.
The world can act as a resonator. Resonators are composed of spaces or openings. When the Holy Spirit is allowed to open a space, we resonate with God.
So let us resonate with things of this world or worlds (qualias) that bring us closer to God.
We have both an internal and external world. As butoh dancers, much like in Noh theatre, we strive to be 50% inside and 50% outside.
Quaker Theatre (Free Revelation Theatre)
There’s no predetermined form for worshipping God.1Kazuo Ohno
The last physical activity of a session is often a Quaker Theatre or Free Revelation Theatre where one can freely dance in front of a class audience. Anybody can enter or exit the space. Audience placement will vary.
We take inspiration from the Quakers, a lesser known Christian denomination. In a Quaker meeting, the congregation sits in silence, creating a meditative atmosphere, waiting for any moment of God to prompt them to speak (in our case, to move).
A good rule of thumb to follow for group improvisation work is to be aware of who is (1) shepherd (2) evangelist (3) follower.
The shepherd is an originator of a world. If somebody enters that same world in some way, that person is an evangelist and part of a duet. Anyone else who joins is the follower and now part of an assembly.
Performance Spontaneously Arising in Liturgical March (PSALM)
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.2 Corinthians 2:14
This is more generally known as a Spontaneous Performance Procession (SPP) where a group spontaneously travels with one given leader until one or more participants in the march feel drawn (for our purposes by The Holy Spirit) to perform in a space in order to praise or worship. The individual performances or Psalmotions are short (1 to 5 minutes) and naturally always has an audience from those participants in the march but may at times even be outsiders. Musical accompaniment can happen within the whole procession or as accompaniment for the individual Psalmotions. Costumes may or may not be present. Can happen at day time or night.
Marathon @ Pentecost
This is a very long (6 to 12 hours or more) dance jam led by the Spirit of God where even lunch and dinner (if happening in the day time) is incorporated into the jam as performative.
The street can be used to minister a Street Preacher Resonance (SPR) which is a collaboration between dance minister and street preacher. The dancer will resonate with what is being spoken.
There can also be a Street Intercession Dance (SID) which is a street prayer that incorporates audience interaction. Can also incorporate the homeless.
Performance Space Positions
This stage/space positioning is any number of structured, linear, or neat formations that tend to be predictable.
This stage positioning looks more random or wild, and appears to mimic the appearance of nature. Contrasting levels (low, medium, high) are also recommended. The Japanese rock garden follows this aesthetic.
The end of class always ends with a sharing circle. Participants are not obligated to share anything.
- Takahashi, Kazuko. Kazuo Ohno’s Dance Training and Pedagogical Methods at Soshi Girls’ School, Yokohama. Page 51 ↩︎