Butoh – it’s a form of contemporary dance that emerged in Japan after the World War II. This dance is often called dance of the darkness – Ankoku butoh. It was created in the atmosphere of revolt and was supposed to be opposite to the traditional Japanese dance and theatre scene, but also to domination of euro-American culture.
Butoh refers to the ancient beliefs, rituals and demotic aesthetics of the ugliness. A huge influence on its inception had tragedy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That occurrence – likewise the holocaust in Europe – doesn’t leave any doubts as to the aspects of human nature. Therefore butoh relates to that dark, sometimes very brutal side of human and world.
Butoh dance is the celebration and ritual within itself, setting an inner energy out and exploring the murk of subconsciousness. With premeditation emerges forbidden of yet expanses of life. Butoh touches upon the torment, madness, illness, senescence, death. It opposes the denial of those aspects of life in our modern world where beautiful is only young and fit body from the magazine covers, whereas death and suffering ‘don’t exist’; yet it is not its purpose to emanate with the ugliness or death. On the contrary it is the affirmation of life as it really is and noticing that true grace in its each manifestation.
Akaji Maro, creator of one of the greatest butoh groups – Dairakudakan, once said:
Part of Swiss Butoh dancer Imre Thormann’s performance at Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Shiga (Japan) in summer 2006. The live music is by Swiss jazz pianist Nik Baertsch and his band “Mobile”.
Aída Miró. 2011
I’ve found a brilliant article about one of my favourite writers of all times, who’s work made a huge impact on my way of perceiving things around me. His fearless touching on painful, difficult matters of human condition is what I used to cherish above everything else in good writing.
“It is easiest to understand Witkiewicz as a social prophet and forecaster of the decline of civilization,” wrote Jan Błoński. “Like so many others, he announced the end of art, the destruction of individuality, the decline of sensitivity to the metaphysical, though his argumentation was highly original. He believed that these virtues would be defeated by the increasing democratization of life, which would generate a society of robots who would be completely content but also perfectly dull” (“Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz jako dramaturg” / “Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz as Playwright,” Krakow, 1973).
Here’s the link to that article:
There’s nothing more personal and universal at the same time as human body. My arm is mine but also it is a human’s arm. I know it’s mine in every individual aspect but it also belongs to the mutual human body heritage that follows it’s own laws. Modern ballet is probably the best example of such dualism. Dancers often expose their naked bodies to the audience in order to escape that private image and extend it beyond our personal limitations simply to reveal these most apparent, however often unnoticed, laws. Present them as universal to all of us. What are these laws than and why do we need them? Well, we know exactly this world we live in and how full of sexual references it is. Media create that sort of image for commercial purposes all the time. Whole range of products and services is being released every day to intensify that aspect. From that perspective human body lost it’s dignity and asexual sense. And that’s exactly what dancers on the scene try to show in their performance. They take us away in the journey from that awry commercialised image into the other scope of perception that ultimately has power to free us.
The Rite of Spring
- ‘Mild protest against the music could be heard from the beginning’ wrote Stravinsky
- Premiere – 29 May 1913 at the Theatre des Champs-Élysées in Paris
- Russian ritual devoted to the seasons
- Revolutionary piece of music
- the poor girl who dances herself to death in sacrificial dance
- revolutionary choreography by Nijinsky
- ‘knock-kneed Lolitas’
- horrifying vision of the pitilessness of nature
- Leonard Bernstein called it a prehistoric jazz
- sense of pulse
- about sacrifice of the young girl and ceremony that goes on with that
- about building the drama around it
- about dancing yourself to death
- riot at the premiere
- cruel music
Watch online: Le Sacre du Printemps à L’Opéra Théâtre de St Etienne.
What a beautiful take on something as dull as outskirts of cities.
Photography meets ilustration.