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[Jap.,=dance of darkness], avant-garde dance form developed in post–World War II Japan. First performed in 1959 by the dancers Tatsumi Hijikata (1928–86) and Kazuo Ohno (1906–2010), butoh became widespread in Japan during the 1960s. Abstract and expressive, it is implicitly related to the atomic bomb and thematically often centers around destruction and creation, apocalypse and rebirth. Typically, its movements are at times very graceful, at times quite grotesque. While there is no one style of butoh, the form often has certain characteristics: allover body paint, typically white but sometimes gold, silver or another color; shaved heads; and movement that is extremely controlled, often very slow, and imagistic rather than narrative in character. Butoh is performed by groups and soloists, the costuming runs from the elaborate to near nudity, and the music is usually contemporary, frequently electronic. Butoh grew in popularity during the 1980s and by the early 21st cent. there were performers, troupes, and festivals worldwide. Perhaps the best-known contemporary group is the Paris-based Japanese company Sankai Juku.


See studies by J. Viala and N. Masson-Sekine (1988), S. B. Klein (1989), S. H. Fraleigh (1999), K. Ohno (2004), and S. Horton (2006).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Judgements ("clothe the images in words" (Wilhelm (1984: 7))--the Judgements produce guidance)--here, a conversation with critical commentaries and interpretations on performative writing and butoh from varied sources .
The director purposely chose pieces to introduce American audiences to dialogues, visual images and butoh dancing so they could better understand the ''language'' and ''the strong power of Japanese contemporary plays.
Butoh was started in the 1950s in post-World War II Japan by Kazuo Ono and Tatsumi Hijikata.
Performing with her for the very first time on CD, Spiritual Garden is a collection of all-new music inspired by the Butoh dance, brilliantly and expertly executed by the 12-time Grammy-nominated artist.
Also featured will be readings from Weekley, who will read from his book ``100 Doors,'' and Jerry Danielsen, reading from his book ``Against the Fog,'' as well as Butoh dancing by Don McLeod and music by singer/guitarist Teri Sansfield.
Butoh artist and director of the London Butoh Network, Marie-Gabrielle Rotie, has performed her work extensively in Europe and has created a reputation for thought-provoking and stimulating art.
Shinichi Iova-Koga's company inkBoat and renowned Butoh artist Ko Murobushi will reprise The Crazy Cloud Collection, based on the life of the puckish Buddhist monk Ikkyu Sojun.
The daughter of a Japanese-American judge and an Irish-American artist, Todd received an undergraduate degree in East Asian studies at Yale University, studied Butoh dance in Japan for a year and lived in New York City briefly before resettling in her hometown.
They will be joined from the USA by New World Performance Laboratory with their Performance Ecology workshop and latest production Love in the Time of Lunatics (variations on Buchner's Leonce and Lena), andfrom Australia by Tess de Quincey who is presenting her Body Weather and Butoh workshop.
The show combines traditional Butoh theater with remarkable acrobatic feats.
The thirty-three-year-old performer/artist claude wampler boasts a resume that reads like something out of one of those David Lodge novels about trendy, internationally peripatetic intellectuals: domestic studies in theater, dance, and opera; immersion in butoh in Tokyo; shows at places with such edgy-cutesy names as SlimFit and Fourth World A.
Other studies include butoh, led by Mitsuru Sasaki, who trained with butoh founders Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata; and tarantella, led by Gianni Bruschi.