Sankai Juki, aParis based Butoh company will performas part of the Walker’s dance season, Friday, November 3, 8 pm at Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus. Image: Joel Saget/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.
Writing for the New York Times, Claudia La Rocco, asks if “Is Butoh’s Big Season Good for Butoh?” As I eagerly await the Minneapolis appearance of the Paris based company Sankai Juku at the Northrop on November 3rd,the article serves as a timely reminder of the breadth and diversity of this ineffable and visually stunning dance form.
“People tend to think of Butoh in terms of aesthetic markers: white body paint, shaved heads, slow movement gained through intense muscular control, and a way of manipulating the body that is at once beautiful and grotesque, tragic and absurd. Influenced by German Expressionism, it tends to be imagistic rather than narrative. But while these elements often appear, defining Butoh in stylistic terms is dangerous. There is the beautiful, highly stylized theatricality of Sankai Juku, or the mad kineticism of Mr. Kasai, or the creaturely abstractions of Yumiko Yoshioka. Like contemporary American dance, Butoh is no one thing, but it always has, at its center, a fragile transformative spark. You can’t always describe it, but you know it when you see it, and you know when it’s missing.”