Day 1: I left for the airport with neutral feelings but unconsciously wanting to go to Japan badly. I somehow felt I did not want to let this opportunity go. I arrived and waited for my hotel room for a few hours as I had arrived before check-in time. We were all at a 5 Star Hotel near Disneyland, which I soon later found out after the end of the Congress. I went for full day workshops and nightly performances held at the venue for this Congress. This was my first non-sponsored dance travel as International Dance Council UNESCO is a non-profit organisation and does not sponsor anything. Locally I could not get funding to help. I do not know how I did it but I did!
And Japan would be my best Congress performance I ever did!
Day 2: It was full day workshops for 5 days and performances at night. I ate 1 meal a day but as a dancer on the go and really I was gun blazings, I somehow was never hungry for 10 years! Truth! Thirsty yes. The meals were really good and compact with everything yummy in the box so honestly I was full.
I always bring extra water I pack in my suitcase when travelling not that it is necessarily hard to get but not convenient when dancing and travelling and in hotels they only provide you 2 bottles a day which is no where enough for what I need. The schedule is so busy and you are not anywhere near supermarkets and you must buy your own that most of the time we just forget to drink water. So whenever I travel I will pack water bottles in my suitcase. A lot. But the hotel staff here was very nice and quietly gave me extra bottles of water as you have to last the entire day!
There is something very refined and meticulous about the people in Japan and in their nature and way of life. It is so strong that my body literally responded to it as the hours went by whether through meeting the organising team, or the surroundings, or how well managed everything was, it indirectly affected me and transferred into my performance as well. I felt it deeply and I performed how I wanted to with full control. I was at my peak. And everyone responded to my performance as well including India!
Mr. Kenichi Soki and the Hong Kong Dance Federation were amongst to give their workshops and it was fantastic.
Day 3: I performed on the 3rd day and gave the workshop on the 5th day. It was another day of wonderful workshops and I got to learn and watch and take workshops including from the Japanese masters and dancers in Nihon Buyoh.
In the morning, I missed some workshops as we were scheduled to do our light blocking. The team was so organised it was impressive. Each had 15 minutes but while waiting for my turn, I did my warm-up and met one of the team members who later hilariously could not recognise which dance item I was as he could not figure out who this girl in her Odissi costume was in the schedule! It was hilarious and we ended up laughing and taking photos on the performance night. So when it was my turn, I decided to go through my Dance and left the lighting up to the lighting designer. Thank God they liked my rehearsal. Phew! Piss in pants! That night, I was so happy with the feedback and with my own performance as a soloist on a personal level of what I wanted to achieve.
Kenny Leung from Hong Kong was a standout in his Contemporary Dance Performance and you knew he was special. Another was Mr. Etienne Frey whose workshop was so funny with his giving heart and beautiful performance. It’s just so obvious when one really puts thought and technical ability to show ones artistic ability and he was rich with it.
Day 4: I learned a short phrase of the Japanese Sakura dance and Brazillian dance with an incredible live Japanese drum musician whom provided the backdrop to the workshop with his music amongst many other workshops and watched more performances which was held every night.
Day 5: I gave a workshop and attended other workshops. It was coming to an end. In the end during the last night of performances, everyone sang and danced and got together. It was all for the love for Art and we just did it. Then I left for Tokyo for 2 days to meet my dance friend Akane whom came to Malaysia to perform earlier in the year and she took me around Tokyo. I met her mom too and had some of the best home made Japanese food. Thank you Akane!
Japan left a very lasting impression and I fell in love with their textile, art, food and design sense. We do not have to mention their superb efficiency lah! ☺ Arigatou Gozaimasu!
23th-27th October 2014
President: Arika Akoh
Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay Hotel