Personal Exploration of Noh Through Final Performance For my choreographed Noh piece, I decided to choose a song that met a slow tempo to accentuate the movements and was rich in feeling from simple and clear lyrics. I found a version of Such Great Heights by Iron and Wine met my criteria. In class, John stressed the importance of correct kata and emoting a strong energy and intent; that even if you don’t know the next move you should keep focus. I’ve heard complaints in class about how the kata “didn’t mean anything” or that it wasn’t a literal interpretation of the lyrics and that because we couldn’t understand the lyrics it was hard to dance to. Keeping all this in mind, I wondered if it would be enough to capture an audiences attention with a familiar song. So, it was my intent to explore the dynamics of Noh and to project that energy and feeling using the simplicity of Noh movements. Such Great Heights is a very short song of about three minutes. It was my intention to keep the suriashi as slow as classic Noh with the feeling of jyouhakyu. The feeling that I was floating through the small space fit my song very well. Although I wanted to vary the movements, I felt with the song of choice, that to combine too many different sets of movement would look too busy. Thus, I compiled a basic set that seemed to illustrate the mood of the song. Though it was perhaps too repetitive, I felt the breaks from traditional Noh, such as the looking down thoughtfully from a focused view extending through space would be a subtle hint at a literal performance, and the length of the song would be forgiving. Also, in the pieces that we learned there were points where there was repetition of quite a few shikake, hiraki, sashi such as in Atsumori, which was my favorite dance. Overall, I think I did well enough to accentuate the dance kata. In other words, to explore that they are not just shikake, hiraki, viewing yama, or presenting the fan, but that there is a softness, an emotion, and beauty in every movement however slight if the performer chooses to make that clear. I also hope I made sure to end steps left right at daishyoumae and right left at the metsukebashira. I came into this course with the expectation that Noh was very simple and very slow, but the aspect of Noh that drew me to taking this course was the spirituality behind the performance. So, in my final presentation, I presented all this that I learned from what I wanted to understand about Noh. How is it that some people think its boring, and others love it, study it, and want more of it?
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