In fact, right now I am personally doing a “Survival Project.” It is bothersome to have the feelings that I have to put clothes on, I have to go back where I left my bicycle, I have to go back home, etc. I want to think about these kinds of troublesome thing and environment from the standpoint of juggling. Having to get grants and work at part-time jobs in order to keep juggling; these kinds of societal restraints are also troublesome. Everyone appears to be having such a hard time, but I think we are now in an era when it isn’t necessary to suffer like that. I want to get rid of those societal constraints and repression and just do juggling full-time!
You are saying some pretty amazing things all of a sudden, aren’t you?
In order to do nothing but juggling all the time, I want to live using as little money as possible. I don’t want generate trash whenever possible. The other day when I went to the mountains to gather edible plants, I also did things like jumping streams and doing some rock-climbing on sheer boulders. I don’t need to do training, because the environment naturally gets me jumping (streams) and hanging from boulders. Because I went barefoot, I could also experience and gather information (through my feet) about coldness and warmth, and wind and sunlight. But living in society as we do, we have lost the very opportunity to use the body in these ways. It is not that I want to become a nature person, but I do want to be as pure and beautiful as living (sentient) creatures can be and should be. So, in that sense, I am searching for ways to become “an animal in human form.”
In other words, through this “survival” you want to open up new senses as a sentient being?
I have an idea of juggling as something that can rise to the higher levels of dance and music. Musicians make music by training and refining the relationship between the musical instrument and their body. Dancers also perform based on the relationship between the floor and their body and jugglers pursue the dynamic relationship between their juggling tools and their body. All of these involve the relationship between the human being and some thing, and I could even go on to say the relationship between the human being some thing and the environment they are in, but there is no activities that encompasses those three in their entirety. That is what I am seeking to do. Speaking in larger terms, by seeking the essence of juggling in the relationship between the human being (me), things and the environment they (we) are in, I believe that it is possible to change the way one lives.
Born in 1986, Watanabe began juggling at the age of 20, and in time his interest has shifted toward the body itself, leading him to become involved in dance as well. Since 2013, he has performed both in Japan and abroad as a member of the dance company Monochrome Circus. In 2015, he presented his solo juggling piece Inverted Tree , and that same year he started the company Atama to Kuchi. The company presented the work MONOLITH as their first production, drawing attention and acclaim from the dance, juggling and circus scenes. In 2016, his work was selected as a finalist for the Toyota Choreography Award. That same year, in a rare case for a new company, he was given the opportunity of an independent performance at KAAT and presented the new work WHITEST . Company
Atama to Kuchi
(*) Contemporary circus:
While the 1970s, when the shrinking audience was forcing numerous big circus companies with long traditions to shut down, it gave birth to a new form of circus called Nouveau Cirque (New Circus) by Jerome Thomas, et al. The efforts like France creating its National Circus Arts Center in the 1980s, when Jacque Lang was Minister of Culture, were made to strengthen and support circus and street performance culture. A representative company in this new movement was Cirque du Soleil established in Quebec, Canada in 1984. This new kind of “art circus” that focus more on human performers (rather than animals), not only in fields such an acrobatics and juggling but also employing arts from theater, dance music and visual arts to greatly expand the breadth of artistic expression quickly spread worldwide and came to be known as “contemporary circus.” Notably, in 1993, Hors Les Murs was established in France as an information platform for street arts and contemporary circus. In Japan, beginning with the first Cirque du Soleil performances in Japan in 1992, today companies from France and Belgium are also invited regularly to perform.
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