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GEKKA - Under the Moon

Site-specific Butoh performance at the Durbar Hall, Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, 2018

GEKKA - Under the Moon is inspired by the 16th  century Japanese Sumie painting ‘Gekka Shourin Zu’ depicting the offshore pine forest.  A myriad of dark & light shades created by the moon & morning fog envelops the landscape in a subtle yet powerful ghostly presence.  In this flux a tale unfolds.  GEKKA was presented in Costal currents festival 2018.

'It has completely transformed my life in so many ways, not just on a physical level but so much deeper....awakening the senses, intuition, perception, my internal clock and psyche have all been jolted and I must say it's a beautiful feeling of letting go, moving but actually being moved by a force much greater than me. It has been great to step into the unknown with you through this process, to find a place of trust and delve deep into your amazing process and way of working.' collaborator

Directed by Yumino Seki, devised and performed by Andrada Jichici, Helen Adove Hawk, Sunara Begun and Yumino Seki.

Sound scape by Caleb Madden and Nick Weeks 

Lighting design and shadow play by Jim Roseveare

Flyer design; Maxi Della-Porta

photo documentation by Kuniko Kamioka

Special thanks to London Metropolitan University, Hastings Museum, Tunde Jagede and Charles Koning

Hastings Online Times
interview by Lauris Morgan-Griffiths

So often you hear in Hastings, the phrase “Aren’t we lucky” about the weather, the sea, the culture and the diverse creativity of art and music. Surprisingly, found amongst this diversity is Butoh dance. Created, choreographed and performed by Yumino Seki HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths talked to her about her latest production at Hastings Musuem Gekka, Under the Moon.  

 

Butoh is a form of Japanese avant-garde dance. It emerged from the post war chaos in Japan after WWII when the country grappled with the clash between new Western technology and traditional Japanese values. Butoh was called ‘the dance of darkness’. Self-identity was integral to the dance radically explored with visceral & complex expression. 

 

For this piece, Gekka, Under the Moon, Yumino has been inspired by 16th century Japanese Sumie painting 'Gekka Shourin Zu' which portrays a pine forest shrouded in mist. 

 

Sumie is Japanese black ink, simple, monochrome art featuring landscape, trees and plants, animals and birds. Simple but complex with cultural symbolism and metaphor. It is thought that a Japanese artist only draws when he/she has emotionally felt what it would be like to ‘be’ a plant or animal then emptying themselves of all other thoughts they put brush to paper feeling their way to the image.

It is as if Yumino has aped the Japanese painters’ technique, opening herself intuitively to the influences of the moon and the mystery of the pine forest; emptying herself and pouring her emotional reactions onto her own unique canvas. She explains “We are so action based that when we stop, it is only then we can start perceiving.” 

Keeping the tenets of Butoh – the subtle, minimal but powerful movements intact –Yumino has interwoven intuitive, symbolic stories together, eastern and western cultures, traditional with contemporary incorporating shifts in time and space. Yumino and three other dancers – all from different cultural backgrounds – connect and describe physical and emotional effects of the moon in subtle, powerful, ritualistic movements. The dance explores the pine forest, there are horses, a troop of blind people communicating through their senses in their blackness; birth and death; the feminine energy of the moon; her own exploratory solo, ending on a light hearted contemporary, surreal, dream-like sequence. 

The Hastings Museum Durbar Hall seems to mesh serendipitously with Yumino’s work. The Museum’s eccentric, ancient, modern and somewhat surrealist exhibits and atmosphere range from around the globe and the Hall’s two levels give her the ability to play with the space and time shifts. 

At times the dance will feel dark and dense, other times lighthearted and contemporary. Let your mind flow, go with the movement, the different senses of sight, hearing and smell. Be inspired.  And consider yourself lucky to be able to experience that in Hastings. 

 

Directed by Yumino Seki, Performed by Andrada Jichici, Helen Adove Hawk, Sunara Begum & Yumino Seki Soundscape by Caleb Madden & Nick Weeks, Supported by Theatre Arts @ London Met.

 

Performances are at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, Bohemia Road, Hastings TN34 1ET on Saturday, September 29 6 & 8pm and Sunday September 30 5pm

Tickets; £5 online Eventbrite /£8 on the door 

(Museum has a limited capacity, early booking recommended). 

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