“My approach has its roots in the intuitive mechanics of the conscious body.”
Sensing the Body Material
“The feeling somewhere in your body that your arm is not really your arm conceals an important secret. The roots of Butoh are hidden there.” Tatsumi Hijikata
Dominique’s workshops experiment with techniques that resonate from her research into Japanese post-modern Butoh dance, alongside somatic practices and mindfulness. Her approach aims at developing methods of perception with particular attention to the changing conditions of a space and the dynamics of time: the aim is to extract the body from ‘daily life’ habits in order to create extended perception, and an intuitive physicality.
Adopting Tatsumi Hijikata’s term ‘body material‘, and introducing it as a question in her own performance art practice, she has developed a method of response that melds influences from some her main teachers Ko Murobushi, Masaki Iwana and Yoshito Ohno, incorporated with a personal embodied research practice that takes the form of durational interventions, writing and drawing. In her workshops she aims to share some of the fundamental practices of Butoh that form a springboard for preparing the body for performance. The conceptual basis of the work questions the qualities of the body as the artist’s material such as clay, metal, stone, and having properties specific to each state.
When Butoh appeared in the 1960s, it referred to ‘the meat/flesh body’ (nikutai) and this aspect of material is investigated by developing a sensitive and precise attention to weight, gravity/lightness, pliability, resistance, dynamics, sensitivity, texture/matter, rhythms. The transformation of the body as base material is explored as a living entity in a state of constant flux.
Dominique Baron-Bonarjee had an early start in ballet, following onto studies in jazz, contemporary dance and flamenco, later settling into a deeper approach to the body, She addresses the body as a visual artist, and the material of the body is explored through its properties in relation to the changing inner and outer environment. The experience of the lived body in a particular space and the energies traversing and transforming that relationship are the ‘becoming’ of performance or dance.
‘Body Material’ acknowledges Butoh founder, Tatsumi Hijikata’s, ideas developed through his dance and writings (such as ‘Inner Material/Material’) which have inspired Dominique’s practice. She is also a qualified yoga teacher and her work with movement and performance emphasizes the unity of a mind-body connection in the activity of creation.
Dominique teaches performance and dance workshops internationally and has led workshops in London, Berlin, Tokyo, Bergen (Norway), India and on the Dance Foundation Course in Zimbabwe in December 2014.
Dominique is also curating workshops with fellow artists and dancers who are exploring similar ideas through alternate methods or from different dance techniques and backgrounds.
The Four Dignities / workshop, London / November 2015
‘The Eye of The I’ with Margarita Zafrilla-Olayo, facilitated by Dominique / 11 & 12 July 2015 / Funkhaus Studios, Berlin
Body Material / workshop for Butoh UK, London / 21 February 2015
Performance Workshop / Dance Foundation Course, Harare, Zimbabwe / December 2014
Performance Workshop / Tatwerk, Berlin / 5 & 6 March 2014
“Your workshop opened a wide area of interest for me as a performer” Roberto
“Really inspiring positive experience which provided me with food for thought, increased body awareness and gave me a great idea. ” Tania
“Your way of organizing the structure of the teaching so I felt free to expand myself.. was very professional. You had the ability to draw an organic connection between my thoughts and my feelings towards myself and into my relationship to the others…Dominique, you have a natural therapeutic talent and your professionality based on knowledge in both philosophy and dance was a good experience for me. Thank you for getting in contact with a deeper knowledge of my personality !” Eli Raa Nilsen, Art Therapist