feetwashing: idea, background  & vita

Artistic Concept and How I Developed it

During my many years as a performer of Butoh-dance on stages all over the world, I experienced audiences mostly from a distance. Eventually, mere applause was no longer enough for me. Then with my ritual feetwash ceremony, a form of performance was born which reduces the distance from the audience to a minimum and opens up a whole new level of tactile experience. Most stage performances engage the senses of sight and hearing, while the basic senses of feeling, smell and taste almost always get neglected. Of course, concentration on a single person as audience is at the expense of quantity, but it makes for a very high degree of personal quality. With my ritual feetwash ceremony I make a decision in favour of this interactive, sensory quality in a solo performance.

delta RA'i

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artist vita

my roots are in dance theatre and performance art
I developed my ritual feet-washing from many years of foot massage and involvement with Japanese butoh dance

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I also still work as a dance performer (butoh), choreographer and director and as stage and lighting designer for various dance and theatre projects both in Germany and abroad

I live and work in Berlin and at
schloss bröllin-international theatre research location
near Pasewalk in the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

And what has the feetwash ceremony to do with dance and Butoh?
Quite a lot! Dance in the classical sense is unimaginable without feet; paradoxically, Butoh, the Japanese "stamping feet" dance, less so. Both forms of dance are, however, based on one and the same energy, both involve concentration on the Ki, the life energy, expressed with the body. While this energy goes outwards into the room in a stage dance-performance, the same energy is in a ritual feetwash ceremony enclosed in the circle formed by the two protagonists. Sensitive observers can pick this up from the alteration in the expressive tensions in the body. It is a dance of the hands and the soul!
Passion and love as the essence of Butoh!?

And why feet in particular?
Anybody intensively involved, like me, with the physical side of dance will be only too aware of the feet. A dancer's feet can get very tired and painful, and they need a lot of loving care. Through daily massage, the dancer creates a more intense relationship with his or her own feet, and an awareness of those of others, than is usual in normal life. Most of us would never guess it, because we never look closely enough, but look closely and maybe you too will see that the human foot is something aesthetic and erotic! A smelly foot suddenly becomes an art object! And although they all seem similar, no two feet are alike, there is such an immense variety, and every foot tells its own personal story...

Under 'Feet & Philosophy + Feetwash Tradition' you can read more interesting facts, philosophical considerations and practical observations relating to feet

2000 © delta RA'i

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