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echoes _ Ruri Mitoh: Esquisse by Kristóf Farkas

What the body does remind, we can talk about (?) – Infinity and purity high 

The artist coming from the most faraway place to L1dance Fest 2014 was Ruri Mitoh from Japan, bringing us the image of purity on the 1st day of the festival – in fact, what we saw was the phenomenology of purity itself. I don't mean spiritual or moral purity by that, but the ability to (be able to) see ourselves, our memories and our past as a clear white sheet of paper, on which we subsequently write our names – with our memories, our bodies, and our bodies’ memories. Since – as Ruri had put it –, her body is the pencil, her dance her name, and the title of the performance is Esquisse (meaning sketch, draft), which will never be/cannot be finished.
In the white space, in a light robe, with a transparent foil in her hands, the Japanese dancer arrives. She lays the foil on the ground, arranges it, maybe she is making a bed – still not smooth enough, still crinkled, she goes on meticulously. Maybe she is setting the table for the upcoming events? The light gently switches, and a square appears on the floor. Suddenly it becomes a window into the ground, she lays on it – the dimensions slip, overlapping each other. The idea of an actual space ceases to exist. Lights expand, squares wander and blend into each other – even my expressions are blending trying to describe the scenery. 

photo: Szabó Roland
The choreography consisting of perfectly designed and performed motions – what is more important, it doesn’t seem choreographed at all – is born there, the inner world unfolds through the movements. The idea of actual space drifts away – even of the one separating the dancer from herself. It is hard to describe how the body flows into the condition which is creating it. The space of the body goes through an equivalent metamorphosis as the space of the stage. The sphere of memory creates the movements and shapes the space. The memory becomes present, since we don’t see images of memories, but their effect on the body, revived and relived – and as we assume, memories are always blurry, there is only a reminiscence of them – two people remember the same thing on different ways...
“As Ruri had put it, her body is the pencil, her dance her name”, so in this case the dance is the actual development and creation of the image of writing. Speaking of the act of writing is therefore metawriting, tautology – and so it is the art of Japanese calligraphy at the same time. If the whole performance is the calligram, dance is the holding of the pen and the body is its movement, then we have witnessed the creation and artistic drawing of a name. It is not the aesthetic of the movements that matters during the performance, since the aesthetic is the performance, the print itself. Our experience is to be able to be part of its birth, a momentary closure to a life, as the dancer currently sees it, and how we are going to remember it. 
The piece/performance – I would prefer the first – is a life and its segments. On the other hand, we don’t see images – dance cannot show these, it is the projection of memory, the process and the concept itself what we can see as “remembrance”. Images roll in a space, where only the performer may enter: the past, the memory – while we see the manifestation, an instantaneous definition of self. We have the possibility to witness what develops there in that moment with the performer – within the performer. Our role is to be the witness during the performance. Our presence is necessary, since at the end, the name hidden in the body leaves a print on us and in us – only so can we get to know the dancer.
(We define ourselves based on the past; it is not the past that defines us. What we remember and what our body remembers remains, nothing else. That is not my own anymore, it is distant from me – I could say. I say it too, but I am not entirely sure about myself either anymore... Who am I, what is my name, what does it conceal? These are the questions that came into my mind after the last performance of the night.) 

Kristóf Farkas - KÖM

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