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Theatre - Dancers & Dance Companies - Interview | by Antonio Leto in Theatre - Dancers & Dance Companies on 02/11/2008 - Comments (0)
Mayte Vaos

"Danzar es estar entre dos mundos", an interview with Mayte Vaos.


SA: Please introduce yourself to us...

Mayte Vaos: Hi, My name is Mayte Vaos, and I am… well, I do not know really, words have been always more of an enemy to me that a way to express myself. Since some years ago till recently, I would say: I am a butoh dancer, without the shadow of a doubt, now… well, time of crisis for me. I have been in so many crisis and changes in my life, I accept the challenge, the hard work it is to name yourself, to reenconter your truth inner, just to realise at the next second that it was just an ilusion, it was not you. I could tell you I was born 43 years ago in Cordoba, the south of Spain, that as long as I remember I have been interested always in arts. All my life pursuing the places where I thought I could learn , always trying to find my way. I met very important figures in this travel; Grotowsky, surrealism, Dada, Absurd, modern and contemporary dance and theatre dance and finally Butoh, but I am not stopping here. The encounter with butoh was a very important one because from then on all the other encounters had been with myself and my no-myself. I am learning now to put everything together and accept my past, to dance in the present and do not panic about future.

SA: What about your research and evolution ...How did you met butoh?

MV: I first met Butoh in 1992, I did a workshop with Andres Corchero in Madrid, he was coming directly from Japan, he was working for several years with Min Tanaka, so it was not Butoh but body weather; then, the same year I saw a performance of Sankai Juku in the north of Spain. At that time I was working with a group in Madrid, and we incorporate elements of this “new art” , in a very premonitory way.

SA: You met many great masters of Japanese butoh. Who was the first to transmit this strange kind of virus to you?

MV: As I told you before, the first butoh performance I saw was Sankai-Juku, I could perceive that it was something different, and also a possibility for my doubts and questions about my dance in that time. Two years later I decided to spend one year in Japan to learn more about butoh. I learnt a lot of things but not the ones I was expecting. Butoh in Japan was, in 1994 , very unknown, and most of the teachers were living or travelling in other countries.

SA: Your favourite dance performance and your favourite butoh performance, from an audience's point of view...?

MV: I do not know what is an audience point of view, in my view Ko Murobushi performance “At the edge” was memorable and I felt very touched. It did not happen, though, to other people, but for me was and still is an inspiration.

SA: In fact the audience point of view is a theoretic abstraction in theatre. The most famous Butoh performance “Admiring La Argentina” was born by the memory of a flamenco performance seen by Kazuo Ohno when he was a child. Don't you think that this movement of creative energy, in space and time, is the seed of Butoh universality?

MV: Oh well, maybe one of the seeds. They, I believe, are multiple and diverse. Of course flamenco is a powerfull creative art, like many folkloric, spontanous, anonymus art. Made by anonymus people that happen to share the same time and space. In Andalucia flamenco was, some years ago, an old fashion kind of music and dance that was rejected by the youth. Nowadays , with the european politic of :”show your differences” they have invested so much money in flamenco that almost all the money for artistic purpose is going to it. About the universality of Butoh, well, maybe not everybody will agree with that , is a quite polemic and I think very extense topic to treat here.

SA: I like your definition of butoh, could you recall it to our readers?

MV: I have no definition of Butoh, I just happen to find some personal inspiring images I can use for my dance. But Butoh, as any art, is beyond definitions.

SA: Tell us something about your experience with Grotowski theatre. Is there a thread or similarity with butoh training?

MV: I have been training in grotowsky laboratory for 10 years, it was my first “revelation” and transformation. For me Butoh was a continuity of Grotowsky, they are walking in the same path. But I think Grotowsky is interested in the personal essence, and stop there; and butoh wish to go beyond the person to find a kind of universal essence.

SA: What's your point of view about method in performing arts?

MV: I have been searching and learning in different methods in my life. I suppose is the natural way, you need to learn and repeat first . You feel pleasure just in discovering your body, your voice, your essence and showing it. But then is a moment in the artist life when you feel that what you are doing is not you, is somebody else movements and voice, and if you learnt something else that method in your travel you will keep searching in your own way. If you are brave enough and feel so strong the necessity to dance and create, then you will have to go inside the dark forest, not in a existing path, but creating your own one.

SA: Is the dialectic body-mind important in your job?

MV: In my work is important the trinity: Body-mind-imagination 

SA: Where is the line between real and virtual for you?

MV: Well, desafortunatley, I think, the line is the atrophy of the senses in our world, or should I say, the low awareness we have about the necessity to develop our consciousness. When you dance, of course with an audience, you have to keep in mind they need some real stuff in order to understand the virtual world you are inhabiting. This is always a kind of concern to me, where to put the limit. Dance for me is the constant ovement between two worlds ( the dance of the spheres), if you stop in one of them, then you are not dancing anymore.Dance started when Eva and Adam, were expelled from paradise.

SA: Is there, or there should be, an ethic in dancer's job?

MV: More than an ethic, I would dare to say, a religion, a very personal one.

SA: Can there be a political meaning in a butoh performance?

MV: You can find always the meaning that you are looking for in any expression.

SA: What about 'new mythology'?

MV: The new mythology is what we all are looking for, because the old one does not work anymore, we need new symbols and gods

SA: What about dance interaction with other forms of art and with technology?

MV: Interaction is interesting, a new mythology must be embedded with your personal and contemporary experiences. I think the interdisciplinary art is still very new and that is why it is in a experimental stage yet. We are so amazed about the means that we can forget the aim.

SA: Which is the role of music in a butoh performance and in your life? Somebody speaks about a so called “butoh-music”, what do you think about this?

MV: I think that music must be as personal and universal as dance. It is not about the music you “use” in a dance performance but the way you produce that music.

SA: Your relevant past projects?

MV: For me, all of my numerous past projects, are not relevant anymore. Well, if we consider the motherhood as a project, then that is a very relevant project to me!

SA: Would you like to speak about the place where you live and work? Is there a place or city you can define as ideal for you?

I think you must have the wrong idea I live and work in Cordoba; but I do not. Nowadays I am living in berlin, but I suspect for not a long time. My ideal place I can find it all around the world, because actually, is a little and subtle space just here, close to me.

SA: So, tell us something about the future and your next projects and paths.

MV: Future? Do you mean the next couple of months? Well a workshop in Berlin in November and another one in Madrid in December. Apart of that, !I am free! Living in the present with some projects-dreams in mind. Of course always researching and trainning: changing. I am now in the process of elaborating new exercises, ideas, that fix more with my present moment, to try to elaborate them so I can experiment with people interested in performance and/or self-development.

SA: Would you like to say anything in particular or speak of someone you love to SuccoAcido readers?

Yes, I would like to say something. This is my answer now to the question what is dance? In a way is also why I dance?

The text is in spanish: Danzar es estar entre dos mundos. Danza implica movimiento, contradiccion.

La danza comienza cuando Eva y Adan comen del arbol de la sabiduria y son expulsados del paraiso.se encuentran de repente en un mundo con pares de opuestos, un mundo donde existe el bien y el mal, lo material y lo etereo, lo espiritual y lo mundano.

La danza contemporanea, en este momento, debe reconocer las influencias culturales mundiales, entre estas las de oriente y occidente, los dos grandes bloques.

De su conocimiento mutuo e interrelacion nace la riqueza y posibilidad de profundizacion y conocimiento actuales. Este conocimiento es posible , siemprqe que sea eso, conocimiento y no copia.

Para mi, como occidental, lo atrayente de oriente, asi como de la danza Butoh, fue su reconocimiento del vacio como un gran potencial para el ser el humano y por tanto para la danza.

En Occidente siempre ha existido la idea de llenar, si encontramos algo vacio hay que llenarlo. Si estamos en un espacio vacio tenemos que llenarlo ( con presencia, objetos sistemas audiovisuales, musica, etc.)

Durante mi extensa practica y estudio en el teatro laboratorio grotowsky, llegue a reconocer cuales eran las capas y/o roles enmascarados en mi y presentir una esencia, un ser verdadero latiendo ahi debajo.

pero este metodo no me dio respuesta para ir mas alla. Yo Presentia que tras esa esencia aun habia algo mas interesante, pero no sabia que.

Es entonces cuando empece a profundizar en oriente y concretamente en la danza Butoh, y alli encontre lo que buscaba: El Vacio.

en este camino sigo profundizando.

Tanto el movimiento surrealista como Grotowsky comienzan a quitar capas del ser humano, mas bien de su persona.

El surrealismo profundiza en el subconsciente. Grotowsky quiere llegar a la esencia o ser verdadero.

Butoh anhela ir mas alla de la persona. Parte del vacio para intentar ser solo una cascara que puede ser llenada o no por multiples formas, seres o sustamcias.

Se trata pues de buscar la unidad, la plena identificacion con la energia cosmica de la que todo procede y a donde todo se dirigue.

© 2001, 2014 SuccoAcido - All Rights Reserved
Reg. Court of Palermo (Italy) n°21, 19.10.2001
All images, photographs and illustrations are copyright of respective authors.
Copyright in Italy and abroad is held by the publisher Edizioni De Dieux or by freelance contributors. Edizioni De Dieux does not necessarily share the views expressed from respective contributors.

Bibliography, links, notes:

Pen: Antonio Leto

link: http://www.maytevaos.com/

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