4 Ways of Finding Butoh
by Jordan Rosin
1. Dairakudakan / Temputenshiki
Founder: Akaji Maro
Core Idea: A student of Hijikata’s and former actor, Akaji Maro founded Dairakudakan in 1972. “Temputenshiki”, one of the company’s guiding principles and a category of work they create which means: All bodies are talented, precious, and beautiful. They believe your dance should be a way of showcasing your body's natural beauty. Dairakudakan proposes 3 main methods for creating dance, 1) space body, 2) mold body, 3) capturing unusual movement.
"Capturing Unusual Movement" - Notice the way your body naturally reacts when you are surprised in every day life. It's probably a little strange and possibly beautiful! Instead of returning to normal from minor accidents and surprises, Dairakudakan dancers practice sustaining and staying with a moment of surprise, layering in additional imagery to create truly unique and rich and extraordinary movement.
Founder: Rhizome Lee
Core Idea: Codified into the "Subbody Butoh Method" around the turn of the 21st century, Rhizome Lee's technique is expanded from the work of Motofuji Akiko (Hijikata's wife) and centers on creating pathways into the subconscious through meditation, resonance touch, sen shin hitsu, “edge work” and many other interesting techniques.
“Swaying Meditation” - Begin by sitting comfortably, breathing through mouth or nose. With each inhalation, imagine yourself being pulled up by a thread through the crown of your head. With each exhalation, imagine all your cells slowly falling towards the earth. Then imagine that you are sitting on a boat and the boat begins to sway your pelvis forward, backward, and side to side. Eventually you are swaying in random directions. Segment and amplify any strange sensations you have in the body. This is a technique for quieting the daily mind and activating “subbody mode."
3. Tokyo Space Dance
Founder: Tetsuro Fukahara
Core Idea: Inside a tube made of fabric, suspended by 6 points we experience a new way of gathering information about the world. Our senses are heightened and ordinary movement is obstructed. Through the experience of the tube as well as training in 6 “themes” (body foundation, walking dance, contact, spiritual journey, paradise in the little moving, and space dance composition) we discover a beautiful new way of moving.
“Walking Dance” - Hold yourself like an objective body. Look forward and walk very slowly. Allow yourself to be affected by memories and sensations. Some interesting movement may arise. Hold onto your intention to move forward.
4. Butoh Ritual Mexicano / Body-Ritual-Movement (BRM)
Founder: Diego Pinon
Core Idea: By transforming our dance, we can transform our daily life and give more creative energy to our community.
“The Life Becoming” - Prepare a spiral-style labyrinth or path on which to walk. Begin to slowly walk towards the center. On every inhale, rise up slightly and on every exhale, sink down. Settle into the ground with every step. Periodically change your arm position higher until the arms are straight overhead. As you walk, allow yourself to consider your entire life up until this point. Don’t force anything. Allow the memory to float, to linger if it wants, or to transform.
Have you tried any of the exercises described above? What was your experience?
Leave a comment below.
About the Author
www.jordanrosin.com //@JordanRosin //www.theumegroup.org