DANCE DANCE ASIA – Hanoi, Vietnam (2015/03)
Moreno Funk Sixers / Absorbing the amazing energy of people!
The Moreno Funk Sixers performed all together for the first time in a long time on the Hanoi tour. After the tour, we checked in with one of the members, GUCCHON, and talked about how his experiences doing workshops and performances have shaped his views on the potential of dance.
What was it like participating in the DANCE DANCE ASIA program?
GUCCHON : First of all, I’m really honored that we were invited to take part, and that it was in the form of the Moreno Funk Sixers unit. We got started back in 2012, but we haven’t done anything all together for the past two years or so. Last time we were invited to China as guest performers, and this time it was Vietnam, so we were psyched and determined to do the best we possibly could.
How was the audience response?
GUCCHON : It was incredible! We were the first of three groups to perform, when we came out on stage there was a big roar from the crowd and that really upped our voltage. The enthusiastic Vietnam audiences got us motivated, ready to put on a great show and show them what we’re made of!
What was it like doing the workshop?
GUCCHON : We had done workshops in Asia and Europe before, but this was the first time in Vietnam. The people there have tons of vitality and a real hunger to learn. We absorbed energy from them, and just had a fantastic time.
At the Hanoi workshop, I wanted to teach the things that are important to me, the same things I ordinarily teach dance learners. I don’t think anyone had seen us before, except in videos on YouTube and so forth, and what I was hoping we could accomplish by appearing in person was not so much teaching choreography as showing a state of awareness, which doesn’t come across in a video, and things that form the basic essence of dance. Things like finding the body’s core, shifting your body weight, where to focus your energy, how to hear the music.
Music is what makes dance possible. First you have music, and then you have dance. When you come to realize that, it gives you a new level of respect for the dance your forebears did. But if you just try to perfect your technique, without understanding this order of things, without feeling the music first, it comes out looking fake and shallow. Feeling the music is something we’re always working on. In workshops, more than technique, it’s feeling and respect for the music that I want people to focus on.
Even though this was the first time I had been to Vietnam, people knew who I was, approached me and called me by name, “GUCCHON! GUCCHON!” in a really friendly way. I had been looking forward to interacting with people there, and that reception made it worthwhile.
What was your impression of Vietnam?
GUCCHON : It’s a really vibrant place. When we were shooting a video in Hanoi, more and more people gathered around to watch, and at the end there was a really big crowd. I haven’t experienced that kind of thing much before, and the people and the atmosphere were really warm and open. It was really great to experience that, it gives you energy, and it made it really fun to film the video there.
What do you like about interacting with people through dance?
GUCCHON : For one thing, you don’t need language. After traveling here and there around the world, I realize what a powerful thing this is. Another thing is that there is so much about dance you can’t “get” unless you see it live and encounter it in person. The power of live performance, or live interaction, is coming face to face with people’s emotions and thoughts that don’t really come across in a video. There are so many things I’ve learned by experiencing things in person, and dancing with other people, when I’ve been traveling overseas or when great dancers have come to Japan. It opens up all kinds of possibilities.
Today, Japan is a leader in the Asian dance world, technically speaking, but when you actually go and visit other Asian countries like this, you get a sense of how important people’s energy is. And honestly, I think people in Vietnam have more of that energy than we do in Japan. I think people in Japan need to remember some of that vitality that we had back when the country was still developing. On the trip to Vietnam I was able to absorb a lot of that energy and bring it back to Japan with me, and that helps me keep moving forward.
I also organize events myself, and sometimes dancers come from South Korea or China to participate. Not only sending Japanese dancers overseas but also inviting people here and building ties with them is really important, and I think DANCE DANCE ASIA ought to do more of that as well. I hope we can make more connections with one another, and all of Asia will grow stronger as a result.
What kind of goals or dreams do you have for the future?
GUCCHON : People say our generation is the third or fourth since street dance first originated, and what this new generation does from now on is going to make a huge difference to the world of street dance. When you’re creating something new, there is a lot you can learn from the old, and I think that’s our task, both to know and respect the past and to create the future. In doing that, I hope we can open up new possibilities in street dance, and communicate something to people that’s entirely our own.
Posted – 2016.08.24
This post is also available in: Japanese