Butoh was introduced to me by a friend from Concordia University whom I watched with awe whenever she presented her work. The sense that every single atom in her body was actively focused on one clear movement property always brought the room to a stand still. As viewers we wanted to know and focus on this same point. Whether it be a source of light, something at the very tip of her finger or some more intangible inner sense, there was no doubt that this point deserved our undivided attention. As a friend Hélène Messier is quick to laugh and smile, as a dancer she can cut through the space with laser focus.
After reconnecting with my old friend, Hélène was kind enough to offer some historical and theoretical insight into Butoh dance. Here is what I learned:
Butoh dance originated in Japan as a reaction to the Second World War, the atomic bomb crisis, and the Westernization of the Country. Hijikata Tatsumi created Butoh just after the war as he investigated what dance was before the conditioning of humanity by society. The dance form utilizes movement to explore some very physiological and psychological concepts alike. Some of these concepts include the goal of mind and body relating to each other as an indiscernible whole, and the metamorphosis principle; a healing technique aimed at rebalancing the body’s opposing energies. The dance is inspired by the imagination, by nature and aims at shedding old memories trapped within our physiological make up over time. The viewer may associate Butoh with Performance Art or Contemporary Dance, however the creative process tends to be quite different from that of their more widespread counterparts.
Using movement as a tool for self exploration can be very enlightening. As much as it is important to clear your mind of thought, the body tends to hold various tensions and gestural habits that can constrict and cause fatigue. So, whether your a beginner or professional artist this workshop will be of interest to those that wish to investigate what it feels like to move with a new sense of the body.
This three part workshop: Contemplative Butoh Dance lead by Denise Fujiwara will run for 3 weeks for two hours per lesson.
Contemplative Butoh Dance Denise Fujiwara
7-9pm/Tuesdays/10-24 March /2015
*First Tuesday runs until 9:30pm
$60/$25 drop-in rate for one class