Dance fuses east and west

By Jeanine Soodeen, Goldstream News Gazette, April 5 2006

Vancouver, Canada -- Like Christo and Jeanne-Claude are to visual art, Bourget and Hirabayashi are to dance, producing site specific work in the Canadian Museum of Civilization's Great Hall, in a coal mine in Poland and on Vancouver's Wreck Beach.

"Theatre is a place of magic. It doesn't matter if it's in a theatre per se or on a beach," Bourget said.

Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi both practise disciplines where each and every step is carefully thought out. However, they quite literally stumbled upon a form of dance that would transform their careers.

"It was an amazing performance. The quality of movement, the use of time very slow, very potent," said Bourget, artistic director of Kokoro Dance. "These images started to creep into our work. We identified this form, this idea, this concept dealing with the body.

"What we do is a fusion of Western and Eastern esthetic in dance. Butoh is a strong thread in our dance."

Kokoro Dance performs its signature work Sunyata at the McPherson Playhouse April 7 and 8 at 8 p.m.

"Typically audiences can expect something intense and unusual in the imagery presented, how we deal with space and time," said Bourget, who was born in Port Alberni, but spent much of her life in Vancouver.

Bourget's technical dance background includes years with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Les Grands Ballet Canadiens. Hirabayashi's approach is derived from years as a downhill ski racer combined with studies of Buddhist philosophy.

On the Web:

"As an artist I really make use of everything. Everything is useful to what I want to express, even downhill skiing... The art of dance goes beyond the body, it is intellectual, physical, emotional. Butoh explores the metaphysical plane," said Bourget, following the second of two modern dance technique class held at Lynda Raino Dance studios last week.

Butoh has its roots in devastated post-Second World War Japan. In 1959, Tatsumi Hijikati performed a dance with Yoshito Ono that he would call Ankoko Butoh, "dance of darkness." The art form has since been developed not as a technique but rather an attitude that drives the dancer to discover his or her own way of dancing.

"Butoh is not about the place, but about the people who do it."

Sunyata is the Buddhist Sanskrit word meaning "emptiness." Sunyata, the dance, explores the cycle of rebirth for the Buddhist, with the premise that life is suffering and that the cause of suffering is desire. We are reborn again and again until we realize we can end suffering when we end desire. It draws its physical imagery from the work of French book illustrator Gustav Dore in his etchings of Dante's Divine Comedy.

"The piece is a trilogy. It is different states of being, purgatory, heaven or the inferno. It has a spirituality at its base. It doesn't matter what religion; everyone has an idea of these states of being."

Before a backdrop by artists Richard Tetrault and Thomas Anfield, and scored by Robert Rosen, eight Kokoro dancers move through an interactive set by Gerald King and Terry Podeauluk.

Tickets for Kokoro Dance's April 7 and 8 performances at the McPherson Playhouse are available at the McPherson box office by calling 386-6121.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: