Kabuki has been a lot better the last few weeks, as the class has taken on more of a workshop sort of feel to it. We’re having a big symposium this coming Saturday, including demonstrations of some of the voice and movement stuff we’ve been doing, and I have not been selected to take part in most of the demos (I’ll only be participating in the stuff everyone is, as a group). I was sad about this at first, but I realize now that it’ll allow me to focus better on just listening to the scholars’ talks and enjoying watching my friends’ performances.
With everyone working hard right now to polish their demo performances for the symposium, it leaves the rest of us free to more or less sit back. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be practicing and such still, but the feel of class today was definitely very much one of, let’s devote time to those who need to practice for Saturday, and then afterwards everyone else can just sort of give it a try.
Using real swords for the first time – not sharpened ones, but still, metal blades and scabbards – it was good to get a feel for how to draw them, and the weight and such. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually had a sword at my side, while wearing kimono, so that was pretty cool. And drawing them out of a scabbard is actually easier in a way than trying to draw the whole bokken out of the obi. But, even with them not sharpened, they’re still kind of dangerous, and I didn’t feel comfortable trying any complex or special sort of moves.
After the symposium is over, I think I’m going to ask sensei if we can meet up after class some time and take some time to really help me polish my tachimawari. I would rather come out of this class being pretty good at tachimawari than just sloppy at everything. Now if only I had a sword to practice with. Umbrella works okay, as does a fan, but ideally one should want to be able to practice drawing out of a scabbard, and practicing with something of the right length and weight.