One of the things I love about being graduated from school is the variety of teachers I can go to class with (although I think in training too many different teachers is not good...its a hard balance to find). I haven't done as many classes, or as regularly as I want to, but by trying to make a concious choice about whose class I go to I feel I have already learnt a lot. And I have enjoyed each one of the teachers' unique skills.
This week I did Chisato Ohno's class at Greenwich Dance Agency. Sometimes, unless you know the teacher already or its been recommended its hard to know what to go for when picking a class. In this case I chose to go to Chisato's class because she has danced with Batsheva Dance Company. I have never seen them live but one of my teachers at NSCD, the wonderful Tiia Ourila, raved about that company, and she has pretty high physical standards, so I thought lets go for that.
Boy am I glad I did! I think the phrase 'life changing' would not be an over statement. Chisato taught GAGA technique, something I had no idea existed until four days ago, the fact it has dropped in to my life excites me greatly. It is a technique developed by Ohad Naharin, the artistic director of Batsheva Dance Company.
Its quite hard to find the right words to decribe it as a technique, and I think its one of those things that requires being experienced (well, like everything..) but I'll give it a go. The technique uses a lot of very strong imagery and requires every single part of the body to be articulate. The class is self is not a set of exercises but continous movement, with instructions layered on top of each other. According to Dance in Israel.com Ohad Naharin is quoted as saying the following about the technique;
'We learn to appreciate understatement and exaggeration, we discover the difference between joy and pleasure and use both to protect ourselves from injuring and hurting our body, we learn to apply our force in an efficient way and we learn to use "other" forces,
We become more delicate and we recognize the importance of the flow of energy and information through our body in all directions!'
Watching Chisato move was inspirational, the articulation and range of texture in her body was amazing, and I am really looking forward to training more in this technique, I feel it has a lot to teach me.
I left my first GAGA class felling completely relaxed and happy. And excited by the fact that with dance the learning never stops. It may seem quite a small world with a limited amount of techniques, but the possibilities are endless. Which each class there is a chance it will shift your whole perspective.