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Personal Exploration of Noh

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					              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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posted:7/24/2009
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