GRANDMOTHER’S WHITE HAIR
“Grandmother’s white hair” is a site-specific, structured dance improvisation that can be performed both outdoors and indoors. The starting point for the creation of this work was the concept of respect and how it is emphasized in Japanese culture. Japanese people tend to give priority to what others think and feel before expressing their own opinion, in general busier listening than talking. In addition, appreciation toward older people is an important issue. Respect is expressed through communication and body language, such as placing oneself in a lower body position by bowing deeply. Living with gratitude is a basic teaching that they inherit from their ancestors.
As an attempt to translate the notion of respect into a physical state, the performers create grandmother’s hair from a large piece of paper and unravel it carefully in the space. As they give more importance to the paper-made hair, the players tune their body in a similar way to how Japanese people diminish and soften their body presence when they show respect. The paper-made grandmother’s hair connects the audience and environment in the flux of time, root and memory; it creates a spider web, visualizing a harmonic communication through dance expressions and taking the viewers on a little trip of contemplation about the complex trajectory of how we arrived here and how we pass our heritage on to our offspring.
Until 2011, I have focused my dance on three works related to food. After the massive earthquake that hit Japan, I felt the need to re-establish my relation to my own country and my artistic direction as a Japanese artist. The political debate around the Fukushima issue made it difficult for me to be confident about my country. Respect is a simple and comprehensive facet of Japanese culture that I am still proud of. As well, focusing on my country has reminded me of my beloved grandmother. This dance piece is a hearty expression of an idea that I wish to continue polishing and working on.