"Radial" @by Tiziana Longo
Butoh is more and more known as a “style” but what will it stay if we filter it in our time and different geographical concept?
Can we find a common methodology to train and how can we connect to the core of its essence?
When we look at a Japanese garden in Kyoto, we are astounded. Within such a space there are very few elements, the space is mostly empty and still. Yet if we really observe, listen and contemplate, we might discover in this stillness a living and vibrant breath and in such a vast emptiness, suddenly in front of our eyes, the fullness of our entire existence. If we move from Japan to us and we start observing inside, with a precise bodily method, we enter into our inner forests with unexpected myriads and myriads of trees, plants, flowers, insects, animals, sounds, and textures to be embodied ... we are all full of resources to transform our life into universal poetry and our body into a body of the soul. Of not a thousand talkative movements but one from within.
In the Japanese Language, there are several words to define body which follow
lots of definitions and usages according to the several philosophical ideas
Some of the common words that stay for the body are:
Shintai 身体 refers often to a solid body, more our concrete living
Nikutai 肉体 stands more for the flesh, indeed in the compound nikutai 肉体 niku
Bodi ボディ refers to the ‘body’ according to “European style” .
Karada からだ generally fluctuates in between and including kind of both
Yoshito used to prefer Karada/ からだ
But he had his own way to write it.
He wrote it in different Kanji characters: 空体 Karada
also pronounced the same way Karada 空体 meaning Kara 空emptiness and
Da 体 body, standing or existence.
Kara 空 like Karappo no Karada/空っぽの体 empty body, existence.
Kara no karada, Sora no youni
The empty body, the body of heaven, like the sky
We stand in our empty existence.
The idea that lies behind is not something solid and full, but a body as
something empty that can be anything and can undergo changes,
transformations, so that it is itself transitory, therefore the perfect place for
In fact, butoh is the art of incarnation. Or embodiment.
Yoshito used to say that before entering into Butoh, we needed to first create the “body of butoh”, encounter our Karada, and go back to Nukegara 抜け殻
Nukegara 抜け殻 means here 'empty shell' which refers to the cast-off skin of the
cicada after its ecdysis or the dead body Shintai 死体, so what stays as corps
out of its liquids and life
Here, he was not talking only about Japanese culture, but the universal
the reality of existence.
Yoshito Ohno used to convey the essence of Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo
If we analyze the work of the founders of butoh from their origins we can find
not the styles (white painting, grotesqueness, etc.), but the way to
experience the universal reality of our body-mind-space through dance, and
to embody everything such as paintings, sculptures, music, and any
existences into dance.
The intention of the workshop is not to spread the “butoh” style but an invitation for
participants to shift the approach to body-mind-space and to create each
own an empty standing 空体, from there a dance, which form is coming from within, a form of life.
- Opening and sharpening the perception of body-mind-space
- Developing inner connection of the physical structure of the body
- Discovering the relationship between body and mind
- Finding out a diversity of movements and qualities of body-mind-
- Developing the relationship between body/mind-space-nature/things-
- Cultivating generosity, sensitivity, and delicacy toward self and others through a movement that comes from within
- Cultivating the virtue of modesty
- Cultivating love and kindness in each moment through movement, gesture, and dance
- Cherishing life by enjoying every single moment through dance
To whom the ws are addressed:
From a gentle introduction to the history and the philosophy of Butoh to a detailed methodology, the program is addressed for both beginners and professionals in the performing arts such as directors, choreographers, dancers, performers of any genre, as well as composers, musicians, writers, visual artists, pedagogies, people motivated in deepening the relationship between, the physical body of flesh and bones and a subtler body to be discovered.
Body Definition and Metamorphose: Conversations between Butoh and other genres of Eastern and Western Performing Arts
Rituality in butoh and Contemporary Performing Arts
Misunderstandings between "butoh" and "butoh style"
1 The beauty of Blank Space 余白の美 (Toward neutral body-mind)
Warm-up & Preparation
Gross body/subtle body: Body Scanning
Opening the concept of the body by part by part
Connecting breath to energy force and movement
Capturing the space
Sense of Touch
Small, Big, Height, and Depth
Opening the concept of time
Time-shaping technical tools
2 Kihon/ Basics
- Standing and sinking/シアガム/shiagamu
- Falling and re-standing
- Other Basics
Inner connection in anatomical structure
Inner connection in subtle energy structure
Creation of body parts (eyes, feet, pelvis, hands, ...)
3 Metamorphose / Entering the experiential journey of Butoh
Working on Physical Level/ Experiencing physically real materials
Analysis of Different textures of materials within the body: shape, color, weight, texture, breath
Embodying visual images (paintings, video arts, natural elements)
Embodying smell, taste, ...
4 Creative Process/ Improvisation/ Performance Creation
Inner Process of building solo/group performances (materials and scores)
Analysis of basics and free combination/ Improvisation
Relationship with music
Relation with objects
Relation to costumes
Drawing the Light
Coming into space, disappearing from the space
Composition and structured improvisation
VIDEO links of the workshop:
All videos are excerpts from worldwide Workshops guided by Mototoya Kondo and me, known as Motimaru between 2010 and 2018
Motimaru has worked, thought, and developed for decades together.
Motimaru duo work is now operated by the two of us separated.
Here on this website, you find my work.
All video workshops have been kindly taken and edited by Motoya Kondo