French Adrien Gaume is un vrai artist, a self-titled 'nomadic choreographer and butoka performer' he stopped in Budapest en route to Istanbul to give a weekend workshop in Butoh. He feeds his creative process through ‘Life Art Process’ and sophrology and his nomadic style is seen in that his workshops are usually outside, where nature allows us to be more still and focused.
An impro-butoh session consists of physical tuning through Do-In, Pilates, Body Weather, Jinen Butoh & Life Art Process methods. Followed by guided improvisation work and exploration.
The main idea I took from this workshop was the variety of different tools one can use as a guide /stimulus/ path to movement improvisation. We explored spatial, bodily, verbal, facial and sensory means of stimuli for movement. Below are a variety of exercises taken from the workshop.
’Pulp’ – the concept of focusing on and feeling sensations through our fingertips (our 'pulp') which can be used a stimulus for movement. We explored this pulp by touching another persons fingertips against ours. I saw and felt this as more of an energy, a flow or current that would come through my fingers from one of my partners and rush through my body triggering movement. Adrien was constantly telling us to balance the giving and receiving, which I understood as a balance in energies, and also that neither was following another, but we were moving together. I found I could really tune into these energies and with Adrien's directions to ’open our spines’ and move with these sensations I felt I could move very freely and relaxed , especially from my waist above. We then took the sensation we experienced and recreated it with our own ’pulp’ , found either through contact with a wall or floor, or the air. We were made to contemplate what the pulp brings to us? What stories does it tell?
Masks – we spent one minute molding our faces into a mask, representative of the ’now’. As usual we were encouraged to not think but to simply follow the movements and impulses.
Sounds – we made a sound, any sound, and asked ourselves what information does this sound give me? What story does it tell? How can I follow this with movement?
Impulses from others – a standard contact improvisation activity in which students move through space – in this case we ’walked normally’ and ’focused on our walk’, and when we touched someone in any place, this initiated in them an impulse for movement.
Spacial - Our instruction was to be directed (like a magnet) to a spot in the space (on a wall, cieling, floor, other person), and to focus on this spot, before we felt the force to move to a new spot. After familiarising ourselves with each spot we were drawn to, we were asked what they represent? They could have been places, people,emotions, or something more abstract. From this information how do we then move as we go to / leave each spot? What stories does this create?
Verbal - In our own languages we used flow of consciousness to tell a story, any story, without pausing and then move with it, using the verbal as an impulse.
Playfulness was something we also explored. On the Sunday morning, before the workshop had officially started, we were each presented with a collection of magnetic balls, which we immediately engrossed ourselves with, as we played around creating different shapes and playing with various possibilities. After about ten minutes we then took this energy and used the space as a 'playground', as we sculpted the other participants around us to suit our own playground reality, with the help from various objects and props, again, creating stories. After playing and exploring this ’playground’ for a long time, we then took what it meant to us and put it into a dance within a very restrictive space.
Adrien emphasised the notions of NOT THINKING (which many masters I have studied from in the past have also said) in order to find our true movement, portraying our own, personal narratives,unique to our individual selves. He also stressed how the stories and movements should have beginnings, middles and ends, as precisely as possible.
A very inspiring person and a very enjoyable weekend. :)