What do you do when nothing can be done ?
As of november 2020, we are in the midst of a 2nd or 3rd wave of the covid-19 pandemic over the globe. We are experiencing our limits as a species, in other words our powerlessness.
It seems that no amount of will, money or technology will speed up a resolution. We have to retreat to get through this. We have to be confined and alone.
We can grieve and give in, or we can grieve and then actively seek what is the deeper meaning of all this.
Yuko Kobayashi is a Japanese Butoh dancer and she seeks meaning through the art of dance. For 10 years something grew in her informed by research on the Celtic culture, its ancient motifs, familiar to the Japanese culture of the period Jōmon (16000 years BC) and some personal soul searching. This slow process intersected with the pandemic spread and a first confinement. It gave her the opportunity to dig deeper and to give shape to what slowly matured in her.
She could not create a vaccine or cure people, but she could dance.
Her dance evokes motifs which represent at the same time a fetus and the cosmos, black magic and enchantment, the sacred and humor, hypnotic rituals, the freedom of all beings in the universe (humans, animals, plants, viruses, bacteria, spirits …) to extend infinitely and in all directions (spirals, whirlpools, braids …)
In his wonderful Abecedaire series of interviews, Gilles Deleuze talks about the role of the writer who writes for animals, meaning “in the place of” animals. We can extend this idea to Yuko’s piece. On the scene, she is a horse, she is a plant or a tree, she is alternately a demented, powerful being, or else, someone touched by grace, carried by a flow of primal energy.
She excavates archetypes and faces, seminal signs and movements that we didn’t know were buried inside us, that we had forgotten or, maybe, we hadn’t allowed ourselves to experience.
She makes us walk over frontiers it’s urgent for us to connect or reconnect with.
At the end of the show, the scene went dark, her gestures vanished and all that remained was her breathing which everyone in the theater could distinctively hear.
The fundamental link that unites us all on this small planet.