Ohno - close up

Free DVD screening hosted by
butoh artist Tess de Quincey

SATURDAY 9 JULY, 2011 at 1pm

Duration 3 hours

Butoh is a dance form that emerged in Japan in the aftermath of World War II when many artists and intellectuals were struggling to shake off the weight of Japanese tradition as well as the overpowering force of Westernisation ensuing from the US occupation. Pioneers Tatsumi Hijikata (1928-1986) and Kazuo Ohno (1906-2010) sought to formulate a new dance style that would be true to their ethnic roots and Japanese physicality, freeing the body from conventional ideals of beauty. They also drew inspiration from the art and poetry of Dadaism, Surrealism and existentialist Theatre of the Absurd as well as the expressive Neue Tanz from Germany. Hijikata created the term ankoku butoh, or ‘dance of darkness’, to denote a cosmological dance which departed completely from existing dance movements to explore the taboo and the extreme, the psychological and physical, in short, the most hidden, dark side of human emotions.

From the 1970s, new generations of butoh dancers have emerged in Japan and abroad. Their different approaches lead to a diversification in butoh dance, so much that today butoh is defined by its very evasion of definition: it has no fixed style.

Comments are closed.