Butoh dance was born in Japan and has now spread throughout the world. The debate about the legitimacy or otherwise of the internationalisation of this artistic form is more lively than ever. In particular, the environment wonders if this dance, born from the genius of Tatsumi Hijikata in 1959 and rooted in the origins of this dancer in the remote region of Tohoku, can be legitimately danced even by non-Japanese performers.

Studying and researching butoh dance, one discovers that Tatsumi Hijikata’s own inspirations were based not only on Japanese literature, as in the case of Yukio Mishima‘s Kinjiki, but also on readings by Jean Genet and Artaud, as well as expressionist dance and Western music.

Globalization and butoh dance

As an Italian dancer and researcher on the philosophy of dance, I find that, on the one hand, it is necessary to get involved in this debate by respecting the Japanese cultural heritage, which this dance continues to maintain authentic, on the other hand, I think it is equally important to highlight the intercultural origins of this form of expression, in a world that in 1959 was already globalized.

By studying butoh dance and incorporating it into my artistic research, it was only natural to arrive at the creation of what I called alchemical dance.

At the dawn of the human being, after the hunt, we gathered around the fire to dance our gratitude to the universe. These were times of deep connection with our bodies and with the stars. The memories of our origins and the rituals of devotion to the dark world of death to praise life and the great cycle of existence are the vivid foundations from which the arts and mystics typical of our species are born, all over the world.

At these roots of the human being looks the butoh dance, as well as the alchemical mysticism. The Apollonian and Dionysian touch Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata as if there were no language barriers between the Mediterranean Sea and Japan.

FÜYA, the alchemical dance

The FÜYA method and my alchemical dance also look at these same roots with just one goal in mind: to return to prayer through the arts.

At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Viennese Secession declaimed a return of the arts to the sacred. VER SACRUM. Today, if we look at Klimt, we pay more attention to the decorative style, rather than to its message. The same happens when we look at a Greek statue or a painting by Caravaggio.

Yet, between one selfie and the next at the museum, someone is still enchanted. You can see it with a lost look, kidnapped in another dimension. It is in that state of ecstasy that my performance FÜYA Requiem looks. We have to go back to praying through the arts and we still owe a cock to Asclepius.

"Sensing vertebra by vertebra. Art is a vulnerable hunt."


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