Butoh

Butoh (舞踏 Butō?) is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. Following World War II, butoh arose in 1959 through collaborations between its two key founders Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo. The art form is known to "resist fixity"[1] and be difficult to define; notably, founder Hijikata Tatsumi viewed the formalisation of butoh with "distress".[2] Common features of the art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion.

Butoh is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. Following World War II, butoh arose in 1959. The art form is known to “resist fixity” and be difficult to define; notably, founder Hijikata Tatsumi viewed the formalisation of butoh with “distress”. Common features of the art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion. Butoh allows “the body to “speak” for itself, thru unconscious improvised movement.”

“Butoh loosely translated means stomp dance, or earth dance. Hijikata believed that by distorting the body, and by moving slowly on bent legs he could get away from the traditional idea of the beautiful body, and return to a more organic natural beauty.”

“Butoh has tremendous value as a training method for artists of other disciplines as well. In a year-long experiment at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, I worked with 2nd year acting students using butoh training methods to help unveil their natural expressiveness. We stripped away the socially acceptable movements and gestures, and encouraged the students to find and embrace hidden movements that lie buried beneath years of conditioned behavior. We bent the legs to view the world from a lower level, as might be considered by plants, animals and children. We purposely distorted the face, to keep out the natural desire to make the right expressions, or to give a calculated appearance. When the body is freed of its social constraints …… amazing things begin to happen.”

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