Chapter 3

[Chapter 3] ”What is Space Dance?”

Design will be born after Dance. A New F will be produced in the “Land” called the Body.

1 Birth of Space Dance


Molecular Biology has developed greatly and has made a great contribution to our world since the DNA genetic model was revealed to be a double helical structure in 1953. If we can express amicable but mysterious relationships between the body and the environment as “Visible Information” like DNA, we can realize same kind of revolution, then the outcome goes beyond the art world, affecting the whole society. And, I believe that we can make a revolution similar to Molecular Biology. I would like to shoulder one part of it through my Space Dance. 


In 2001 when I performed at the United Nations in New York and in Istanbul supported by Japanese Government I could start the original form of Space Dance based on Butoh through my epochal experiences by the meeting with Shusaku Arakawa and the Theory of Affordance by James Gibson

        The essence of Space Dance is “How to recover the lost memories?”, “How to express the Tacit Knowledge to design a new body for tomorrow?“, and various “Fruits called Design” through “Digitization of Tacit Knowledge”.

In 1996, one day Shusaku Arakawa, Japanese avant-garde artist whispered in my ear “How do you think Tetsuro? If you can’t get anything after your dance, maybe you feel some emptiness?”. At the moment when I heard this strange speaking I could get one vision to make progress a dance as a new art form called “Design after Dance”. I am sure I could get my “Body” in daily life as the ground of farmers in Sanrizuka. But what is a product on this ground named “Body”? If I can only contribute to enrich the art system of the theater through my activity as a Butoh choreographer, it is not my original purpose. My Butoh started with a sense of discomfort against the established social system. So, I don’t need the established, I would like to get a “New Social System” which don’t exist yet in our society through my Butoh.

2 What is Space Dance?


This is my “Definition of Space Dance”;


In Space Dance, the body is not a tool for expressing a story, the body is a story.


In any time the “Excellent Dancer” in the world keeps a special ability to dance with a technique to organize the body as the object, not as the subject. In Space Dance we study this technique. Then we try to recover the lost memories through our dance movements and we accumulate its result as “Tacit Knowledge” about the body.


Foot” is always connected to the earth by 1 gravity through the contact surface with the ground. People in our daily life forget this fact. But when we dance with a dance technique to organize our body as the object, the relationship between our “Foot” and “Ground” being clear and we can get back a familiar feeling between the body and the earth.


In this time when we dance together with the earth we can recognize some strange new feeling happen around the temporal lobe and vertex lobe of our brain. Why? Because it is the first experience for our brain to move the body by such a strange new way. 


 Its experience will be an experience just like a dancer looks for the universe as dancer’s “Second Body” through the earth, as if a blind person looks for the ground as his “Second Body” through his beloved stick. 


Our brain keeps all memories about all life on our earth. Because our brain into the Mother’s womb during 10 months grow up through the process of evolution of the brain from the beginning to today’s human brain. So, in our dance movements too, sometime we can find other strange movements of all life through these memories.


So, in Space Dance when we try to dance to organize our body as the object we can touch several “Forgotten Memories” sometimes with a wave motion of the internal organs, sometimes with a sound of the bone, and sometimes with an excitement of the nerve. In that time we can feel a new feeling in our brain, then under this influence we can dance with the inexperienced movements by chance. In short we can stimulate several “Forgotten Memories“.


“Forgotten Memories” wake up a strong nostalgia in our mind. And this nostalgia gives new energy to us. Then we understand “Unknown Movement’s World” exists behind our usual human movements.


This energy is infinite, it continue our dance without end. When we dig up “Forgotten Memories” we can organize the unexpected movements based on each memories. We shake with its freshness and we are amazed to ourselves. Then, we start to talk a new story beyond the human’s drama.


Usually, very soon, humans feel tired in our movements without this energy. But when we house this energy we get the lasting energy from the circulation between the body and the ground, then it arise like the growth of a snowball on the slope with heavy snow. We never feel tired.


Like that, in Space Dance we dig up “Forgotten Memories” and we expand “Unknown Movement’s World”, then we try to express its process as “History of Posture’s Evolution” including Fish, Amphibian, Quadruped Animal, Bird, and Monkey. 


 “History of Posture’s Evolution” could start from the ameba without hand and foot, and now it could meet its peak of the history as today’s morphology of Human Bipedalism. But in our Space Age this peak is only one passing point.


Why the expression of “History of Posture’s Evolution” is important for Space Dance? Because the purpose of Space Dance is the looking back on the past of all life, then it is the creation for “Body of Future” as a return from its retrospection. 


In Space Dance we make a visualization of “History of Posture’s Evolution” as the image. And we express “Tacit Knowledge about Unknown Movement’s World” as the information using by information technology. Finally, we try to make several designs through the “Tacit Knowledge” for the new body, the new object, and the new space


Like that, in Space Dance we can create the new designs after our dance. For these works we adopt the collaboration by “Dance + Architecture + Information + Design” and we use Space Tube as our needed installation.


Space Tube is a “Closed Soft Space” using by special cloth, not an opened hard space like our modern architecture. So, in Space Tube the dancer’s body movements can cope to the shape of the space as the very familiar relationship with one unity. Then, in Space Tube we can express dancer’s Tacit Knowledge as the information very easy.


Then, Space Dance is very different from usual dance, Space Dance will be a work of “Design after Dance“.

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