Butoh Performance in Russia Butoh — The Great Spirit

Photo of Butoh Performance

The Japan Foundation will be organizing a composite butoh program in Saint Petersburg and Moscow. The program will feature film screening, stage performance, lectures, and a photo exhibition.
Modern Japanese performing arts, and particularly the unique butoh dance performance which originated in Japan, are highly acknowledged
in Europe and other countries abroad for their spiritual nature and artistic quality. The realm of expression created by the distinctive physicality of butoh has attracted strong interest especially in Russia, a country that prides itself on its distinguished history of such performing arts as the ballet and theater. In response to this high level of interest, butoh dance troupe Sankai Juku and butoh artist Tanaka Min have previously given performances in Russia.

The Japan Foundation's program will celebrate the 50-year history of butoh. It will spotlight butoh as developed by Tatsumi Hijikata, who launched the Ankoku Butoh movement in the late 1950s and founded the art form. Through film screening, stage performance, lectures by specialists, and a photo exhibition, the program will look back on the history of butoh and present a comprehensive overview of how it developed not as a solitary art form, but in close association with other avant-garde arts of the times, including fine arts, photography, and film. The program will also illuminate the influence of butoh on today's contemporary dance scene, and its role in promoting the future expansion of dance performances and interactions as an integral part of Japanese dance history.

The film screening will include documentary of stage productions and experimental films such as of "Nikutai no hanran (Rebellion of the body)" and "Hosotan (Story of smallpox)," which symbolize Hijikata's world of butoh. The stage performance will be given by Kanazawa Butoh Kan, a butoh dance group presided by Moe Yamamoto, a choreographer who studied directly under Hijikata. The deeply intense world of butoh created by Tatsumi Hijikata will come back to life in Russia.

Tour Schedule: November 20 to 28, 2010

Saint Petersburg
Date and time: November 20 (Sat), 2010
Film screening, lecture, and stage performance from 7:00 pm
Venue: Litsedei Theatre
Performers: Moe Yamamoto, Kei Shirasaka (Kanazawa Butoh Kan)
Lecturers: Takashi Morishita (Tatsumi Hijikata Archive, Research Center for the Arts and Arts Administration, Keio University)
Kazuko Kuniyoshi (dance critic)
Organized by Japan Foundation, Japanese Consulate General in Saint Petersburg
Co-organized by Art-Center BEREG
Moscow
Date and time: November 27 (Sat), 2010
Film screening and lecture from 3:00 pm
Stage performance from 8:00 pm
November 28 (Sun), 2010
Film screening and lecture from 3:00 pm
Stage performance from 8:00 pm
Venue: Theatre School of Dramatic Art
Performers: Moe Yamamoto, Kei Shirasaka (Kanazawa Butoh Kan)
Lecturers: Takashi Morishita (Tatsumi Hijikata Archive, Research Center for the Arts and Arts Administration, Keio University)
Kazuko Kuniyoshi (dance critic)
Organized by Japan Foundation
Co-organized by Theatre School of Dramatic Art

Program Details

Films (in order of production):

Photo of stage performance 1 Heso to genbaku (Navel and A-bomb (1960 production / black & white)
Director: Eiko Hosoe
Starring: Tatsumi Hijikata, etc.

Anma (The masseur) (1963 production, 2007 final print / black & white)
Director: Takahiko Iimura
Starring: Tatsumi Hijikata, Kazuo Ohno, Yoshito Ohno, Akira Kasai, etc.
Music: Tomomi Adachi

Barairo dansu (Rose-coloured dance) (1965 production, 2007 final print / black & white)
Director: Takahiko Iimura
Starring: Tatsumi Hijikata, Kazuo Ohno, Yoshito Ohno, Mitsutaka Ishii, Akira Kasai, etc.
Music: Tomomi Adachi

Nikutai no hanran (Rebellion of the body) (1968 production / black & white)
Director: Hiroshi Nakamura
Starring: Tatsumi Hijikata

Hosotan (Story of smallpox) (1972 production / black & white / short version)
Director: Keiya Ouchida
Starring: Tatsumi Hijikata

Tohoku kabuki keikaku Ⅳ (Tohoku kabuki plan Ⅳ) (1985 production / color)
Choreography & direction: Tatsumi Hijikata
Starring: Yoko Ashikawa, Tohoku Kabuki Kenkyukai

Stage performance:

Fukuchu no mushi (Bug inside body)
Direction & choreography: Moe Yamamoto (Kanazawa Butoh Kan)
Butoh dancers: Moe Yamamoto, Kei Shirasaka (Kanazawa Butoh Kan)
Lighting: Masaru Soga
Sound effects: Rui Yamamoto
Producer: Teruko Suzuki

Lectures:

Tatsumi Hijikata's Butoh
Takashi Morishita (Tatsumi Hijikata Archive, Research Center for the Arts and Arts Administration, Keio University)

Dance in Japan: From Butoh to Contemporary Dance
Kazuko Kuniyoshi (dance critic)

Photo of stage performance 2

Exhibition: Under consideration

* Films and exhibition items are tentative.
* The program, date, and time of the films, performances, lectures, and exhibition are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.

Profile of Performers

Moe Yamamoto

Representative of Kanazawa Butoh Kan. Yamamoto began butoh under Tatsumi Hijikata in 1973 and participated in performances by Hijikata's butoh group Hakutobo. In 1976, he struck out on his own with "Shomen no ishou"shounen shoujo no tame no yami no tehon (Costume en face)," choreographed and directed by Hijikata, and founded his own butoh group, the Kanazawa Butoh Kan. Since then, Yamamoto has been actively staging performances and holding workshops inside and outside of Japan, based in his hometown of Kanazawa. He has made significant achievements particularly in Graz, Austria, where he engaged in joint productions ("Danshaku (The baron)" and "Henshin (Metamorphosis)") with Theater ASOU and produced a new work ("Synchron") using dancers selected by audition. The workshops he holds throughout Europe are known for culminating in a final presentation of a small performance on the last day, and enjoy a favorable reputation. In 2006, Yamamoto broke new ground by choreographing the production of "Matsukaze (The Wind in the Pines)" by Croatian National Theater Rijeka (Japanese vocal music arranged in opera style; directed by Nenad Glavan). Yamamoto holds twice-weekly workshops in Kanazawa, and applies himself to developing young butoh dancers and teaching dancers from abroad.

Kanazawa Butoh Kan

Established in 1976 by Moe Yamamoto, who separated from Tatsumi Hijikata's butoh group Hakutobo. Gaining the participation of Kei Shirasaka thereafter, Kanazawa Butoh Kan launched energetic performances and butoh dissemination workshops inside and outside of Japan, based in Kanazawa. From 1999, the group continuously held performances and workshops in Austria, and produced Franz Kafka's "Henshin (Metamorphosis)" in 2005 jointly with Theater ASOU in Graz. Performances of the production in both Austria and Japan received favorable reviews. In 2006, the group performed "Metamorphosis" at the Sibiu International Theater Festival in Romania, and also choreographed a dance drama production of "Matsukaze (The Wind in the Pines)" by Croatian National Theater Rijeka (originally written as Japanese vocal music). In recent years, Kanazawa Butoh Kan has expanded its activities to holding workshops for children and choreographing theatrical productions, in addition to giving performances and workshops in Tokyo and Kanazawa, seeking new possibilities of butoh.

Profile of Lecturers

Takashi Morishita

Born in 1950, Morishita has been involved with the production of butoh performances since 1972 as a member of Tatsumi Hijikata's butoh studio Asbestos Hall. After several years as a professional editor at a publishing company and the death of Hijikata in 1986, he participated in establishing and managing the Tatsumi Hijikata memorial museum. He has since engaged in the planning and organization of exhibitions and symposiums related to Hijikata.
Today, Morishita manages the Tatsumi Hijikata Archive founded as sub-institution of the Research Center for the Arts and Arts Administration at Keio University. He is also a part-time lecturer in the Faculty of Letters at Keio University and representative chairman of the NPO Butoh Souzou Shigen. His literary works include Tatsumi Hijikata, Butohfu no butoh Kigou no souzou, houhou no hakken (Tatsumi Hijikata, butoh based on the butoh score the creation of symbols, the discovery of method).

Kazuko Kuniyoshi

Renowned dance researcher and critic Kazuko Kuniyoshi is also engaged in academic education as visiting professor at Tama Art University; part-time lecturer at Waseda University; director of the Japanese Society for Dance Research; leader of Maihime no kai (Tatsumi Hijikata research), the secretariat of Nihon Youbushi Kenkyukai (Japanese society for research of Western dance history); and judge of the Toyota Choreography Award (2002 - 2004). She has written Yume no ishou, kioku no tsubo - Butoh to modanizumu (The costume of dreams, the vase of memories - butoh and modernism); co-edited Nihon youbushi nempyou Ⅰ - Ⅳ (Timeline of Western dance history in Japan Ⅰ - Ⅳ); and edited Mirukoto no kyori - Dansu no kiseki 1962 - 1996 (The distance of observing - History of dance 1962 - 1996), a posthumous collection of writings by Miyabi Ichikawa.

About Tatsumi Hijikata

Tatsumi Hijikata (1928 - 1986)

Tatsumi Hijikata is widely acknowledged as the founder of butoh. In the 1960s, he launched an avant-garde movement and developed an experimental form of dance to transform the concept of dance in Japan. This new form of dance expression ultimately evolved into butoh. During the 1970s to 1980s, Hijikata sought new challenges never before ventured in the world of dance and continued to cultivate butoh's spirit of innovation by developing revolutionary methods of drawing forth the potential of expression from within a body constrained by Japanese culture and customs.
The revolution of dance brought about by Hijikata inspired many dancers who now perform butoh on the world stage. However, in addition to the dance genre, Hijikata has also had a profound and widespread influence on various other art forms, including theatrical art, fine arts, photography, images, and even literature. While initially renounced as heretical, he has left an undeniable mark on post-warJapanese cultural history.
Hijikata's unique philosophy of the body produced the physical art of butoh, and its subsequent spread throughout the world in turn created an ideological foundation, which accepted butoh as a distinctive movement in the history of performing arts. Hijikata also displayed exceptional talent in the literary world, and has produced many masterpieces, including Yameru maihime (Ailing dancer), which embodies Hijikata's idiosyncratic perception of language. His literary works are compiled in Hijikata Tatsumi zenshu (Complete works of Tatsumi Hijikata).

[Contact Us]

The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Section, Arts and Culture Dept., The Japan Foundation
Y. Kitagawa (Ms.)
Tel: 03-5369-6063
E-mail

Page Top