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butoh [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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
You've been performing as a butoh dancer since 1975.
Esse estudo escrutina as experiencias do Butoh do grupo Sankai Juku e a criacao poetica de Max Martins, contrastando a construcao espacial e os movimentos corporais com a construcao poetica, a fim de chegar a uma interpretacao da relacao artistica e poetica com o mundo.
They are organising a demonstration to be held from 15 to 23 December 2017 at the Terrada Warehouse Gallery that will mix Butoh performances, an exhibition of photographs taken by William Klein in Tokyo at the beginning of the Butoh and virtual- and augmented-reality installations.
When she went back to finish her undergraduate degree at Evergreen State College in Washington in 2004, she met a dance instructor who taught a non-traditional Japanese dance called butoh and she began taking classes.
Tamayura is a live recording of a full-moon performance that featured the legendary Butoh dancer Koichi Tamano.
Using Theater Mitu's Whole Theatre methodology, the production incorporated a range of global performance traditions, including elements of Japanese anime, Indian Kathakali, Japanese kabuki, butoh, Chinese object puppets, Greek bard tradition, and percussion, as well as an original music score.