I just got home from one of the most amazing, awe-inspiring performances I have ever seen!
Tonight I went to a performance of TAO, a Japanese Taiko drumming group, who have"worked to free the Taiko from its confines of being the 'successor of Japan's traditional culture' and develop a totally new genre of entertainment" (from the Mesa Arts Center program, 2010).
Pictures and video cannot do this art justice (though you can certainly sneak a peek here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VoirrIDXFw&feature=related ) "It has to be experienced live," touts the voiceover on TAO's website. And it's true. The TAO performers are exquisite in form, balanced, buoyed, and disciplined by a spiritual connection to their art, their instruments, their environment and one another. I left the theatre feeling like a better human being.
Though the energy, vitality, and sheer physical movement and drumming were completely different, the performance brought back memories of our Naropa visit last summer to the Kyudo Dojo in Boulder. The Taiko performers seemed to have complete awareness of both their front and back heart. While their front and back both appeared strong, it was also clear that both front and back sides were soft and open, as well.
It was also evident that the performance left no room for ego, and that though the performance was beyond compare, it was the preparation that was what mattered the most. Watching each drummer prior to them meeting sticks to drum, reminded me of Caroline (the Sensei's wife) engaging in the preparatory ritual before marrying ya (arrow) to yumi (bow).
What was also incredible to witness was how each individual drummer was completely intent on his/her drum and/or choreography, while at the same time, was able to take in the space and the other performers. Each member of the group seemed to have an intuitive sense of who was where on the stage and when, so precise was their internalization of the movement and sound.
In her book, The Sound of Paper, Julia Cameron encourages "artist dates." Though she suggests they be done solo, I think getting out and partaking in any cultural and/or nature-based activity whether solo or partnered i s a wonderful thing. "The Artist Date is a serious tool fo self-discovery...Many...report that it was on an Artist Date that they felt concious contact with the Great Creator. An Artist Date is sacred time" (Cameron, p. 3). Witnessing TAO defintely felt sacred.
Divine inspiration at its best.