Taiwan Casting

Whew.  Lots of emails from The Rocker today!  I have been working like mad on the trailer video for the new creation, but keep running into problems getting the videos ripped onto the computer.  I will have something for Korea, anyways.

The former Cirque du Soleil Chinese straps duo has dropped out of our show – I have suggested The Contortionist as a possible replacement.  It might be possible to do straps at the same time that she does her hoop number like I did in Shawinigan.  That always worked pretty well, the audience likes the two simultaneous aerial acts.  I would need about a month to get my number back up to speed, though.

Funnily enough the Taiwanese production house has assumed that she and I would be sharing an apartment if she comes because they don’t know we broke up.  I will check with her, but I think it would be OK.

I have prepared the proposals to the artists we want to work with already (saying that nothing is certain, of course) so as soon as The Rocker give the word, I can send them off.

Collaboration Strategies

The Activist asked me about how my idea of a collaboration between Butoh and Circus could work and what the theme or the story of the show might be.

I imagine a lot of different possibilities.  For example, The National Theater might want The Rocker to hold auditions for Japanese dancers and acrobats to cast in a show that he will then direct, they might want to pair us up with a Japanese company (Like Sankai Juku or Dairakudakan) and then let us come up with a concept and let us direct the collaboration ourselves, they might have a show in production that they want to add an acrobatic element to, and The Rocker and myself would serve as consultants for that show… lots of possibilities.

I remeber from the meeting in March that we need to involve Japanese artists and that it needs to be a new creation.  Now, from my point of view, until we know how the National Theater wants us to structure the residency, there is no way we can start thinking about the theme or message of a new show.  That message and theme will depend so much on what artists we are working with (Sankai Juku?  Dairakudakan?  Another Japanese dance company? Freelance dancers?).

For example, the residency at the National Theater of Taiwan started when the Theater asked The Rocker to create a new show for the circus festival.  They just wanted to buy a show, and it is up to us to determine the theme, the artist we will work with, etc, etc.

It was very different when he was in residence with another Taiwanese dance company, where they wanted him to act only as musical consultant and composer.  In that case, they knew exactly what they wanted and they directed him very closely.

So like she says, I think that the point of this meeting should be a sodan, to discuss the way that the National Theater has worked in the past and the way that The Rocker has worked in the past to see if there is any possibility of doing something in the future.

Of course, if there is some interest in seeing a live example of our work, we would like to again extend the invitation to see the festival in Taiwan.

What we would really like to communicate is that we are very flexible, enthusiastic, and open to many different way of working, and that it has had good results in the past.  The Rocker has been working almost exclusively an artist in residence for at least the last four years, and helping artists collaborate is his specialty!  So we just want to introduce this fact and then see what ideas can come out of a nice discussion.

The person we are meeting with had a famous dance company and now advises the New National Theatre of Tokyo as a movement coach for contemporary, modern dance shows etc.

Maybe they have been thinking about the meeting from a couple of months ago and has thought of a project already, who knows?

An English Farewell

The English company asked me for my final dates teaching with them.  I’ll know better after I talk with The Rocker in Korea, but my goal is to continue all the way to the last day of June as we initially agreed.

I’ve told them about the discipline problem with a couple of third-grade classes that give trouble even to the Japanese teachers.  The lesson plans that the Japanese teachers have prepared for me (when they have been prepared) are still a little light, but with a little quick thinking, they can be fleshed out into complete lessons.

That school has two teachers, one of whom I have only worked with for one day last month.  She was the teacher with no lesson plan whatsoever. The other teacher will usually prepare something abstract, like presenting me with alphabet flashcards, and I have been building the day’s lessons and games off of that.

Basically, I have to put myself in the Elementary School mindset, and everything works well.  It just falls apart when dealing with the troublesome 3rd graders.

The problem is aggravated by the fact that the school was unable to hold on to the foreign English teachers like me because they would call in sick when assigned to that school.  This might explain why the teachers there are not accustomed to preparing lesson plans.  I think that by working together with these teachers over the next month (4 days, total), they will have a better idea of how to prepare for my replacement.