(Artaud, in L'art et la mort)
Butoh makes its appearance in the West with the groups Dai Rakuda Kan, Tensi Kan, Shankai Juku, and Ariadone in the 1980s at the theater festival in Nancy. Also there are Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata, universally regarded as the founders of Butoh dance. Kazuo Ohno, unlike the others, always appears in women..s clothing, wearing flowers, hats and garish makeup. His self-presentation is poetic without excess, perhaps dictated by his conversion to Christianity. Every company works in a different way, but the premises are fundamentally the same: to seek, express, and investigate the relationship between body and expression; to reject conventional techniques; to discover how interiority can speak through the body, and express itself only by and with the body -- these are the premises of a dance born in the 1950s.
The Ankoku Butoh, the dance of darkness, is a veritable manifesto against the horrors marked on the body by the atomic bomb, against the American oppression that threatened the authenticity of Japanese culture, and not by accident was it born in Japan, in the work of those who felt how the body can externalize better than words all that it has suffered. It is also the search for the origin of the universe, of man, of life and of that tenuous link between life and death. A dance performed with gestures at times imperceptible, minimal, suppressed, suspended in air, hands and fingers contracted, turned upwards as if elevated toward that spirit to which the whole body turns and gives itself. Bodies that are lithe, delicate, slightly curvaceous, covered in a blinding white, shaven heads in which sexual identity no longer exists, is no longer recognizable, supple legs, fetal and sorrowful bodies that lead us into the world of darkness, the world of our soul forever suspended between life and death.
See more about butoh HERE and THERE
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