For every devotional song and dance, there’s a movement of energy that unravels what’s sitting from deep within. This movement of energy, not just of the dancer or singer but of everyone on stage and around, reveals a beautiful story of truth and healing.
Coming from a long and deep experience of the art, Kavita Kat Macmillan eloquently shares a beautiful journey of discovering a movement and voice that truly resonates and expresses her truth.
This devoted artist, who grew up with an inclination to music both instrumental and vocal, sought an understanding of singing and its place in her yoga practice. But this opened up into a much deeper practice of expression through dance and movement—butoh. But these two very different forms—voice and body—have both taught Kat rightly about expression, presence, truth, and connection.
The dance that came out of Post-WWII Japan as a reaction to both the atrocities and the coming in of Western influence, Butoh, as Kat saw it, is a revolution of the body, of expression. It was really about allowing the self to strip away how we think we should know or dance and come into discovering choreography from the internal story. It is indescribably different than a performative performance. Rather, it is interactive because of the moving energy that tells the story and changes everyone. The dancers reveal death and life; it heals us in some way. Everyone is allowed to take a look at these things and to breathe or laugh or feel more.
Butoh showed what hasn’t been expressed on stage—taking grieve or death as a portal into life. There is death and there is life in the dance.
But beyond its almost magical effect, its techniques tells more about what is required of one to be able to tell such a very intimate piece of the self in the dance: practice, physical strength, being vulnerable (reaching a physical limit that then breaks us so we release into a softening), control.
The goal of the dance is to get away from the mind creating the image and allow for the body and the internal story to unfold something that might be completely unexpected and was there for being so true and real.
Kat’s practice of butoh led her back to singing but this time, with a deeper understanding and connection to her voice. She learned to become free and open to her own authentic story through dance which made perfect sense to work with voice. Kat applied the same principles to music and is now helping people to have confidence around approaching singing and having their expression of music and voice in their lives.
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- Butoh was like a revolution of the body, of expression. A very new way to put things that were evocative and controversial, allowing any form of expression that could be shown through the body. – Kat Macmillan
- Butoh showed what hasn’t been expressed on stage – taking grieve or death as a portal into life. There is death and there is life in the dance. – Alexandra Kreis
- The beauty of formal devotional music: a practice is all about just doing your practice. Sure you have nerves but once the music starts, there’s this part of you that knows that practice. Your practice will take you through. Let go of the ego. – Kat Macmillan
- If you’re thinking about trying to do something well, the connection will be severed almost. Because the mental space gets in the way of the energy. – Kat Macmillan
- Be kind to yourself. Know that your voice and expression, however that comes through, whatever it is that is your passion, dharma is such an important piece of the puzzle. Listen to what makes your heartbeat stronger and allow that to come through because the world wants your gifts. – Kat Macmillan
Kavita Kat Macmillan is a musician, yoga instructor, workshop facilitator, and creative guide from Portland, Oregon. She brings over 20 years of experience teaching, sharing kirtan & study nada (sound) yoga to her classes and offerings. Kavita’s ‘Open Heart Kirtan’ presents traditional mantras in original compositions with Western and Indian influences. Through her musical offerings, yoga asana classes & ‘Open your Voice ~ Open your Heart’ workshops, Kavita guides students towards authentic voice & movement focused on letting go of patterns that get in the way of artistic expression. Kavita recently released a new single “Take My Hand” featuring vocals by bhakti legend Jai Uttal and her upcoming album “The Beloved Lives Inside” is expected this year.