click through for HD–recommended

[Before I get into talking about Butoh, let me first just say that the above is a great example of how to make a single-camera document of a performance watchable afterward by people who weren’t there.  Greta job, Rick.  Everyone else, watch it full screen or not at all.]

Butoh is an art with far more people saying its name than doing it well, the sort of thing that’s easy to get turned off of by the people who will excitedly tell you about it.  Think Stan Brakhage or yoga or string theory or quinoa.  I originally dismissed it all as another bit of the weird, modern East for performers to dig into for avant garde street cred.  Well, actually that’s pretty accurate but really, that’s just the part you’ve got to get over to really dig into the meat of it and not taste the chemical tang of poseurdom.

As such, I won’t attempt to explain it much beyond saying that it strikes me as a very precise infection of Japanese stage traditions with all the trauma and weirdness of globalization’s cultural blender.  By which I mean: naked people in white paint dancing like their stuck in time, trying to pull the whole world towards or back from the brink.

Alright I’ll shut up and give you some Sankai Juku

This one‘s great too… it just won’t embed.

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