Butoh at the Tannery

October 6 & 20

Butoh work resumes at the Tannery

Studio A 7:30-9:15pm

Led by Trey Donovan

Ankoku Butoh is a dance, movement and theatrical art form invented in the 1960’s by Japanese choreographers and dancer-philosophers Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno meaning “The dance of absolute darkness.”  Butoh, in its inception incorporated shamanism, expressive movement, investigation of our assumptions, humor, living with nature and being in this world as human animals.  Every butoh dancer spawns a new form of butoh.  That notwithstanding, there are principles of approaching movement from a butoh perspective:  Investigation of movement, pushing beyond perceived boundaries, building agility and flexibility, building perceptive abilities, and recognizing the presence of ourselves and others, ultimately going beyond human form.


One of my teachers, who performed in Hijikata’s company said to me once, “Everything is butoh.”  Something akin to everything having a buddha nature.  So we watch for the intrinsic nature in everything; in our bodies and movements, in form and formlessness, in light and shadow.  Butoh stands apart from the obvious, and says, “I am here, now.  Who am I?”

We will work with sensitivity, impressions, Noguchi Taiso exercises, imagination-narrative, articulation and butoh-fu (choreographic notation and journaling).
Walking toward a distant star, through a vat of honey.
Tugging a taught string, attached to each others’ third eyes.
Waiting in waves, waving at passing trains, becoming dry grass.

Experiences drawn from the Hijikata and Ohno lineages.
Solo and group work.

Location and Pre-registration here:

scale $10-20 / class : attending both classes is encouraged.

“My profession is the business of human rehabilitation, which goes today by the name of dancer… All the power of civilized morality, hand in hand with the capitalist economic system and its political institutions, is utterly opposed to using the body simply for the purpose, means, or tool of pleasure. Still more, to a production-oriented society, the aimless use of the body, which I call dance, is a deadly enemy which must be taboo.”

― Tatsumi Hijikata