I wonder if this dancer has been reading my blog. He is certainly doing some interesting work, check out these two videos: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/japanese-performance-art-celebrates-vulnerability/
Check out this cool project coming out of the Netherlands. I've been taking a great interest in Nezha stories, this will eventually become a major writing project, but I'm reluctant to spill all the beans here on the blog. https://vimeo.com/101789329
Speaking of writing, I sent off the "final" draft of the text for my book Possible Origins, to the editor. I say "final" because I'm moving on to video story-boarding, but there is still work to be done. I've been exploring all the images in Museum collections because I need quality images for the book, and for the video I'm working on about the hidden origins of Taijiquan.
By the way, if anyone knows where to find high quality pre-or-early 20th Century images of Zhang Sanfeng (I have three so far from Shiu-hon, Wong (1993) Mortal or Immortal) or Dayu 大禹 (I have only have these two from the Wiki page), I would love to see them. Images of Nezha are oddly easier to find, but if anyone encounters something great, particularly high quality mural images, let me know.
In reading Journey to the North (Bei Youji), one of the major canonization texts of China, usually called epic novels, I discovered a hidden meaning in the taijiquan form. I hesitate to call this stuff "hidden" because once the right questions are asked it is all out in the open to see. The theater traditions of Japan, Indian and China, all use whole body image-mime as a form of sign language; however, it is only "readable" if one has the right cultural background. So the right question to ask about marital arts movement-postures is, what do they signify as language?
There is an expression that gets repeated over and over in Journey to the North, which explains the movement in the taijiquan form call Jade Maiden Works the Shuttles. The expression from Journey to the North is: "The sun and moon rose and fell like the shuttles of a weavers loom." The expression means, "a lot of time passed."
There is a star constellation called Weaver Girl, that is paired with the Ox Herder-Boy constellation, both of which are associated with a story of love across rigid social strata. But that was a dead end for trying to figure out the meaning of the movement because the Ox-herder Boy is not in the form, and it didn't seem likely that the Weaver Girl had anything to do with martial arts.
It was more promising to note that Jade Maidens are a form of muse in Daoist alchemy, something akin to Dakinis in Tibetan Buddhism. And also that the term jade (yu) in Chinese cosmology can mean very old or very slow. The reason for this meaning is that it is possible to see the swirling liquid of qi transformation taking place in a piece of jade. Jade is thus a window into a cycle of geological time that is too slow for humans to experience directly.
But the expression from Journey to the North is a much better explanation. The movement Jade Madien Works the Shuttles, is used as sign language to mean, "At this point in the story, a whole lot of time is passing." Now we just have to figure out what happens in the taijiquan form right before and after this movement, so that we can identify the change. Is it a man growing old? a child growing up? a series of re-incarnations? a very long fight scene? or is it Zhang Sanfeng re-immerging as an immortal after cultivating the golden elixir (jindan) for several generations?