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Embodying the Spirit Workshop
Artist Profile Artist Statement CV

Founded in 1991 by Joan Laage, Dappin’ Butoh had its debut performance entitled, desert scenes…dry mouth at Seattle Mime Theatre on August 2. From this time until 2002, the company performed frequently in the Seattle area, in New York, at the San Francisco and Seattle Butoh Festivals, and Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Vancouver, B.C. Fringe Festivals. Dappin’ performed to enthusiastic audiences at the Seattle Fringe for ten years. In 2001, Joan decided to concentrate on solo work, and after Dappin’s final production 5000 Falling Souls in 2002, she disbanded the group. The company generally consisted of 10 dancers, with a few productions of trios and a few with a cast of 14 or 15. Dancers often stayed on for 3 or 4 years, and two members, Helen Thorsen and Mary Cutrera, remained the entire time. In the first few years, the works tended to feature Joan as a soloist within the ensemble. But through the years, even though Joan remained the overall director, the works became more collaborative. Dappin’s worked with several well-known northwest composers including Tucker Martine, Jeff Greinke, Small Cruel Party, and Daniel Menche, members of Seattle Kokon Taiko, and with visual artists Robin Dorn and Yoko Murao, and video artist Scott Johnson.

The word Dappin’ is a derivation of a Japanese word meaning to shed, and was the title and theme of Joan’s first Butoh work performed in Yokohama, Japan in 1988. Through exploring the techniques and philosophy of Butoh, the company has paid homage to life individually and universally, physically and spiritually. Dappin’ has been dedicated to artistic excellence and to fostering an appreciation of Butoh and Japanese culture.

Seattle Fringe Theater Festivals (Seattle) 1992-2001 Fringe Festival
Waging Peace Festival, NWAAT (Seattle) September 2002
5000 Falling Souls, Chamber Theater (Seattle) May 2002 5000 Falling Souls
Seattle Butoh Festivals 1998 & 2000 International Butoh Festival
San Francisco Butoh Festival August 1999
Seattle Mime Theater, Collaboration with Traditional Japanese Artists (Seattle) October 1997
Seattle Festival of Alternative Dance and Improvisation (WA) 1994-2001
Working Women’s Festival, 450 Geary Street Studio (San Francisco, CA) March 1997
New City/New Dance Festival (Seattle) December 1996
Hiroshima To Hope with Seattle Kokon Taiko (Seattle) August 1995
Ned Skinner Theater, Cornish College (Seattle) July 1995
Allegro! Dance Series (Seattle) February 1995
Asian Contemporary Dance Festival, La MaMa (NYC) November 1994

Composer/Choreographer with Gamelan Pacifica (Seattle) June 1994
Dancing on the Edge Festival (Vancouver, B.C.) September 1993
Evergreen Expressions Artist Series (Olympia, WA) October 1992
Vancouver Fringe Festival (B.C. Canada) September 1992
Seattle V Contemporary Music Festival (WA) April 1992
Seattle Mime Theatre August 1991


“The company’s work has always been very impressionistic, leaving it to the viewer to make what rational sense of it they might.
I’ve always felt that Dappin’s work was more about transporting the audience into a way of thinking, without dictating what we should think. They expertly use the body as a canvas, which the imagination can grow lost in.” Matthew Richter, The Stranger