2012 / Tokyo Japan, Fukushima Japan, Ibaraki Japan / Video installation
In this piece, the participants line up in a circle and dance to a rhythm. The tune is newly composed based on the rhythm of traditional dance music. The participants heard it for the first time on this day. I asked them to do two things: create a dance together, and do it while lined up in a circle using only body movements and no oral discussion. In the beginning, the participants each made up their own steps; their moves were out of sync. But after a while, a sort of form emerged.
The focus of Waodori is not the dance the participants create in the end, but the very effort these strangers put into communicating with each other.
In Japan, we have a dance called bon odori, which is performed in a circle. Each year in summer, many people in every region join the circle and perform the dance. We don’t remember the steps by heart. But somehow they come back to us the moment we joint the circle. I believe this is because people in a bon odori circle copy each other.
This copying happened in Waodori, too. When one participant created a move, another copied her, then another, and so on. When the chain of copied moves reached everyone in the circle, a choreographed dance emerged.
I think copying is the processing of opening oneself up to others, like a vessel ready to be filled with new contents. Copying is a means of communication that people make up in an effort to connect with each other. Again, it’s a form.