There have been a number of articles on this blog that deal with artists using tea in their work. Most recently explored were several artists who use tea as a medium—the technique of tea painting is one where tea is used in a similar way to paint (the articles can be seen here and here). Then there are artists who use tea as the subject of their art.
It makes sense, really, when you think about it: in their work artists explore things that they are passionate about and interested in. So, if you happen to be an artist and a tea lover, it makes sense that at some point there might be a crossover between the two. All of those artists so far featured work in the visual and material arts. But what about the performing arts? I have to say that for me, this crossover has not yet happened. However, I recently came across a very interesting piece of performance based on the sensory experiences of tea. The Nottdance dance festival in Nottingham, England recently presented a work called Dancing Tea. Created by a Finnish artist, Dancing Tea “invites you to activate the senses through watching space, touch and gentle movement, sharing memory awoken from the smell of different teas.” As any tea drinker knows, the senses are integral to tea enjoyment, with smell being (almost) as important as taste. Seasoned tea drinkers will have developed their tea sense abilities over many cups, pots, and tins of tea. I remember that when I first started getting into tea, I was not sensitive or knowledgeable enough to differentiate teas based on their smell. But now, at least for the teas that I drink regularly, I can tell if I will enjoy the blend based on the aroma of the tea.
Dancing Tea, by focusing on the senses and involving the audience, highlights some of the most wonderful things about tea—it brings people together as well as providing olfactory and gustatory delights. Plus, audience members left the performance with a free packet of tea. Definite bonus! More tea performances, please.
See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.
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