Butoh Dance History

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Butoh originated from two dancers: Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno in the late 1950’s. They wanted Butoh to be distinctly Japanese, but did not find traditional Japanese dances “…capable of expressing truly contemporary ideas.” (Ledoh Salt Farm Reading, para. 6) Hijikata and Ohno drew inspiration from sources that were prohibited at the time. Butoh is meant to be a way of life. As stated in the reading, most times Butoh is not thought of as a way of self-expression. There is minimal or no music; resulting in the focus being solely on the dancers. In 1959, the two dancers presented their first dance called “Kinjiki,” which means “Forbidden Colors.” They were criticized for lack of structured movement and facial expressions. Butoh was first…show more content…
They then feed off of those movements. Butoh is not right, wrong, good or bad. Dance is meant to be all about feeling. In the case of Butoh, there is not one form or technique. It is about one’s own aesthetics and it resonates with weakness. When performing Butoh the performers are meant to get attached to everything on the outside and inside. Everything is meant to be connected; any sense of separation disappears when the audience and performers connect more together. (PBS Learning Media, Ledoh Salt Farm: Performance Art (Butoh)) It’s interesting that they drew inspiration from people living with blindness. This may be a reason the dancers roll their eyes into the back of their head sometimes. The movements reminded me of an abstract painting; the performers are able to interpret the dance in their own way. The video states confronting negative feelings aren’t really living. The way our culture is set up may be why Butoh could seem uncomfortable for us because we are focused on our surface presentation. Butoh is mean to be completely raw and vulnerable; it represents sadness in its purest
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