“Nobody dances like him, and nobody can dance like him. The revolution of life takes place in his body.” —The Asahi, Japan
Heralded as the “Nijinsky of Butoh,” Japan’s
marks his first visit to the Twin Cities in nearly a decade with a tour de force solo performance on Thursday–Saturday, October 7–9, 8 pm, at the Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis. This acclaimed master of butoh (the most influential style of contemporary Japanese dance) floats the audience on a surreal and startling journey through time, cultures, and states of being. Kasai’s striking personae morph through kabuki drama, street dancer, and solitary actor while his movement shifts between classical Japanese, hip-hop, and the mesmerizing otherworlds of butoh.
Akira Kasai studied modern dance and classical ballet but completely changed course upon meeting Kazuo Ohno in 1963. Kasai spent the next two decades studying and dancing with the founders of butoh—Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata—as well as performing many of his own solos throughout Japan. In 1971, he established Tenshi-Kan, an institute for butoh and esoteric studies in Tokyo, and continued to create work and perform throughout Japan. In 1979, Kasai stopped dancing, disbanded his company and school, and left for Stuttgart, Germany, to study the principles of eurythmy. After graduating from the Eurythmeum in 1983, Kasai returned to Japan in 1985 and began teaching eurythmy and performing eurythmy works. In 1991, he re-opened Tenshi-kan as a four-year school for eurythmy. At the same time, he began to create a highly individual and new style of butoh, which he debuted in 1994 with the work, Seraphita. Since then, he has created and performed numerous works and recently has been actively collaborating with and choreographing for various artists, including Kasai Kisanuki Company, Ryohei Kondo, Yoko Ando, and Naoka Uemura. Since 1999 he has been choreographing Blue Sky Series, an all-female company of five emerging dancers. His recent performances abroad include Perspective of the Dream: Skill of a Prostitute (Gottengen Germany), My Own Apocalypse (Changmu International Festival, Seoul, Korea), the San Francisco Butoh Festival, Does a human bring his body to the world of the dead? (Cowell Theater, San Francisco), Exusiai (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco), Tenkyu (Rome, Italy 1998), and Tinctura II (Columbia College, Chicago, 2000). Pollen Revolution is Kasai’s first solo work since 1995.
Kasai’s publications include Tenshi Ron (Essay on Angels) (1972, Gendai Shicho Sha) Holy Spirited Butoh (1977, Gendai Chicho Sha) and Dusk of the Gods (1979, Gendai Shicho-Sha).
Tickets to Akira Kasai’s Pollen Revolution are $20 ($16 Walker members) and are available by phone at the Walker box office, 612.375.7622; or visit www.walkerart.org/tickets/.
Butoh Master Class
Tuesday, October 5, 11:30 am-1 pm, Southern Theater
Join us for an engaging technique workshop with Mr. Kasai geared for adults with dance background. Limited to 20 participants.