“Dance is like a language that means everything to everyone,” explains a dancer named Miki, and she is right.
We take a sip of alcohol, and she smiles at me: “So what do you do? You don’t eat? You dance” – the meaning, I believe, is that the purpose of dance is to create a bond.
This is the second night of a series of workshops called the ‘Academy of Movement’ in Tokyo, organised by the National Institute for the Cultural Development of Dance. These are a place for both dancers and practitioners to come and learn from expert instructors.
In my room a few dozen Japanese-speaking dancers and choreographers gather to work through a few routines. They have already mastered the moves, rehearsed them, and are ready to take to the stage, but before it begins they have to have a little bit of fun.
They put on their leotards and put on their costumes. And then there is the music. These are the performers’ favourite things.
As a girl who had never heard of these movements, I don’t really know what a lapdance is, but as Miki demonstrates in front of me, I can probably describe it.
“It is when you jump over things and touch them,” she says, her body taut and her voice deep. She gestures, using body language to give us a sense of how much we are being moved.
Image caption Miki (left) is a choreographer and teacher who is fluent in Japanese
“It might be you jump on a chair and you start moving up until the person is next to you,” she explains. “Then with each push or pull they do, you end up on their lap.
“And I think that’s what it is about – it is a suspension dance of the body, and it can take a lot of body and attention, all of you. In that sense it is suspension dancing.”
Miki is a dancer and teacher who is fluent in Japanese, and her favourite move involves getting on their shoulders and holding on to them.
“The whole dance is about that,” she adds.
Sensatektor (Sensation Dance) is a technique that involves holding and flexing one’s physical arms and legs to create vibration. It is performed differently to the usual Japanese style of moving, in the hopes of creating a more unique,
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