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Café Reason
Ayala - bench
Ayala Kingsley

Fabrizia - tree
Fabrizia Verrecchia

Helen - feathers
Helen Edwards

Cath - mugshot
Cath Blackfeather
(Photo: Andrew Bell)

karen - mugshot
Neo Cartouche
(Video still: Peter Glyn Jones)

juliet - mugshot
Juliet Henderson
(Photo: Stu Allsopp)

lizzy - mugshot
Lizzy Spight
bob - mugshot
Bob Lyness

Jeannie - mugshot
Jeannie Donald-McKim

Ana - mugshot_2
Ana Barbour
(Photo: Paul Freestone)

Paul - mugshot_1
Paul Mackilligin
(Photo: Paul Freestone)


The way in which people join Café Reason is an organic, rather than a formal one. New dancers are absorbed into the company by becoming regular attendees at class and (usually subsequently) by developing and performing work with us and contributing to our projects. The point at which someone is ready to perform depends on their level of experience and growth (and enthusiasm for lunatic adventures) and also on what we are trying to do at the time. Each person brings to the mix their unique life-history, body-form, and artistic contribution. We also work with many 'associated artists' – musicians, singers, photographers, film-makers, and visual artists – and these creative relationships enrich all our endeavours.

Ayala Kingsley is a founder member of Café Reason and currently manages the group. She graduated from the Central School of Art & Design, London in 1976 and is a graphic designer and poet. Although she studied ballet as a child, Ayala came to butoh through Shintaido, the innovative Japanese movement system with its roots in the martial arts, which she practised for 9 years. “Butoh allows me to discover, distil and reveal the essential truth of inner experience and give it honest, meaningful, and playful articulation.”

Fabrizia Verrecchia is also a founder member. A passionate butoh dancer and teacher, she also teaches and performs bharatanatyam (Indian temple dance) and runs regular yoga classes. Her love of Nature inspires her to explore the sensory relationship with the living world, weaving together dance, yoga, Alexander technique, somatic movement, and poetic visualisation to integrate our listening bodies with the voices of Nature and access a deeper source of movement and expression.

Helen Edwards was a member of Café Reason from 2000�, and rejoined again in 2021, continuing to teach and perform with the group. She has trained in Japan, Indonesia, Europe, and the UK, exploring butoh, Amerta Movement, and improvised and environmental dance and art. Helen has danced in nature all her life; she has spent many years immersed in landscape, exploring the elements. She is interested in the liminal spaces which may bring transcendence to the boundaries of human sensory experience. Through her increasing awareness of the 'ecological body' Helen continues to learn how awareness through movement extends the ways in which the body in dance may portray the dynamic flux of life in nature.

Cath Blackfeather joined Café Reason in 2014. She has no formal training but over 25 years’ experience working in movement and expressive arts in social and therapeutic contexts. She has always been interested in the more abstract and avant-garde aspects of contemporary dance and physical theatre. “I see butoh as both a delving deep within myself to find the roots of movement and allowing myself to be permeable to outside, intangible forces that can manifest through me. I was once asked, during a class, to feel myself moving into an infinite space with all past human history behind me and moving through me. To me, that is the perfect expression of what butoh is all about.”

Neo Cartouche has spent a lifetime in search of self through the visual arts — of what it means to be a human being. From carving and contemplating three-dimensional forms, Neo embarked on a journey of ambiguity and discovery through an MA in Contemporary Art at Oxford Brookes University, where she developed her practice in installation, sound art, film projection and performance art. She became fascinated with the freedom of self-expression offered by butoh. “…it was a revelation, something I’d always known was inside me!” Neo joined Café Reason in 2016. “It gives me the opportunity to experiment with the interactional space between people and to explore expressing my life experiences through different qualities of dance movement.”

Juliet Henderson is an artist and academic. She began butoh dancing with Café Reason in 2017. Since then, it has become a vital part of her life and creative expression: “Butoh encourages us to explore the non-normative side of our bodies. To use our imagination to improvise being an ancient rock, a flower germinating, blossoming and then dying, or to dive deeper into old and present emotions. When I discovered butoh it immediately felt like my natural element.”

Lizzy Spight is a dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, dance therapist, singer, and songwriter. She has a long experience in a wide range of styles and loves collaboration with all arts modalities, including poetry and visual arts. She came into contact with butoh in 2010, and has taught and performed with Café Reason since 2017.

Bob Lyness has been on a butoh journey for the past 18 years. He has studied with Yoshito Ohno, Diego Piñon, Joan Laage, Maureen Fleming, Lori Ohtani, Natsu Nakajima, Atsushi Takenouchi, Vangeline, and others. He has performed in New York, Tokyo, Yokohama, Oxford, Amsterdam, Ashville, Seattle, Tlalpujahua Mexico, and Washington DC. Bob comes from a theatre background, but his passion has found butoh. A long-time visitor to Café Reason, Bob is currently based in the UK and has been working with the group since 2021.


Jeannie Donald-McKim founded Café Reason after returning from studying butoh in Japan, and conceived, choreographed, and directed most of their major work until 2018, when she retired from the group. "For me, butoh is a way of approaching images and emotions that lie very deep, of exploring the territory between inner and outer worlds and expressing the essence of the shifting boundaries." She is a practising dance therapist.

Ana Barbour joined Café Reason in 1999 and became a core member of the group, sharing teaching, choreography, and direction. A creative innovator and extraordinary dancer, she specialised in improvisation, site-specific work, cross-art-form collaboration and dance film. Ana passed away on 6 November 2017, an irreplaceable loss to all who knew and loved her. She will always be our guiding light and lives on in the dance inside us all (JD-M). A page of this website will, in due course, be dedicated to her work and memory.

Paul Mackilligin began practising butoh with Café Reason in 2001. His main artistic interest lies in the interaction between performer and audience. "Butoh gives me a context for intimacy with an audience which is quite unique I think. On good days I leave my personality behind - like taking off an overcoat or peeling off a skin - and what I find underneath is a thing that the audience recognises even if they have no words for it. Butoh is not a polite thing to do to an audience, but it is an act of solidarity."


Lee Adams
Rupert Alison
Michelle Azdajic
Sylvia Baronin von Hahn
Francesca Bregoli
Cathy Burfield
Janette Coglin
Robin Cooke
Flavia Coube
Alex Donaghy
Paola Esposito
Alan Frank
Bruno Guastalla
Conroy Harris
Susie Hendry
Liz Mathew
Jules McKim
Andreia Morgado
Adam Murphy
Ruth Parkinson
Ashley Pearson
Phil Rees
Poppy Wellby
Tom Wilson
Suzette Youngs
Doro Wing


Malcolm Atkins
Andrew Bell
Joe Butler
Jo Derczynska
Dariusz Dziala
Jill Elliott
Tony Eva
Roberto Filoseta
Paul Freestone
Peter Green
Bruno Guastalla
Melissa Holding
Peter Glyn Jones
Keiko Kitamura
Cecilia Macfarlane
Joanna Matthews
Pete McPhail
Anne L Ryan
Maggie Nicols
Nonstop Tango
Oxford Improvisers
Jackie Singer
Malcolm Smith
Andy Solway
Martin Sookias
Josh Tomalin
Phil Wilkes