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Embodying the Spirit Workshop
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WHAT IS BUTOH? An intersection of Japanese traditions, modernization, and Westernization, Butoh was born out of the
turmoil of the postwar period. The seeds of Butoh were planted by a man with vision and daring, Tatsumi Hijikata. Rebelling
against increasing Western influences in dance and other facets of life, he wanted to restore the Japanese body and sensibility;
to regain the true identity of the Japanese people. His early creations in the 1950s and 1960s were spasms of anti-dance tainted
with erotic overtones that separated him from the conservative mainstream modern dance world in Japan. His work Kinjiki
(Forbidden Colors) created in 1959, is known as the first Butoh dance. Hijikata and his collaborator Kazuo Ohno
performed togetherfor a number of years, creating dances that questioned all definitions of dance and beauty.

This seemingly mysterious dance movement has been fascinating Western audiences for more than four decades.
Its poignant images and enigmatic nature have stirred up the minds and hearts of many artists, inspiring them
to explore the medium of the body in new ways. Butoh continues to be one of the most powerful and influential
art movements of the 21th century, and Butoh solo artists and companies are based in many areas
throughout the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Vince Brown