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Jeannie MOA 2008
Flotsam (Jeannie)
Modern Art Oxford

"The body is the
costume of the soul"

(Kazuo Ohno)


Butoh began in the late 1950's at a particular cultural historical moment in Post-War Japan. It was a manifestation of that generation's experience of disillusion with established society and part of the generalised international spirit of rebellion and re-invention.

Founding fathers Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno inspired and trained many dancers who went on to found their own diverse butoh troupes. Members of these companies are the present-day butoh masters who teach internationally. Each new branch of the butoh tree flowers with subtly different fruit, but all are recognisably from the same root.

For me, butoh is a continuing investigation: Who am I in this moment? How is my body? What is reality? Butoh seeks to answer these questions with a physical authenticity, but as a performance medium there is also an awareness of an audience, and of the contract between audience and performer. For me, this contract is an agreement to seek to reveal something essential about what it is to be a human being in this time and space. Sometimes that relates to an external environment, sometimes to an inner world of imagination or body-based sensation.

Jeannie Donald McKim