Immediacy is the name of the game for sudden movement. Movement that goes from slowness or statue and jumps to quick is recommended training. Startling movement immediately draws attention. Time even slows down. The shock should either come unexpectedly or out of not being able to sustain the sheer amount of potential energy. Most importantly, we must ask ourselves, what causes the sudden movement or shock? This is not empty movement, but something forced upon us.
Shock is also an important form of nurture.
Shock is one of the Four Butoh Spices: (1) Shock; (2) Sway; (3) Collapse; (4) Die.
Exercise 1: Shock Training
Have participants in frozen, walking, or dancing state while you either yell out “shock” or hit two sticks together at random. The stimulus will instruct the dancer to shock for a second or two before returning to their movement. You can vary the shock lengths as shorter or longer.
Exercise 2: Surprise Attack
Like the first exercise, when there is a sensitive moment of attention where one is either frozen or in slow movement, suddenly run savagely directly toward the audience either on two feet or as a quadruped. Option to suddenly freeze again once almost reaching the audience.
Exercise 3: Cheap Jump Scare
At any moment of statue or extreme slowness and when the audience is enthralled by the moment, suddenly terrify with all your body and soul. Startle the audience as if it were your last act.
Exercise 4: Isolated Shock
Limit the shock or sudden movement to just one part of the body, e.g. shoulder or left cheek. While walking or in a tame state, try suddenly contracting the muscle(s) that pertain to one tiny part of the body. One could even think of a fly landing on a part of the body and the body response that results.