A History of French Fascination with Butoh

Authored by: Sylviane Pagès , Sherwood Chen

The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138691094
eBook ISBN: 9781315536132
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315536132-28

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Abstract

Since the late 1970s, one of butoh’s deepest evolutions – as much aesthetic as economic – occurred in its export from Japan to North America and Europe. Dancers such as Eiko & Koma or Ishii Mitsutaka traveled to Germany and the Netherlands in the 1970s, while France also quickly became a landing ground for butoh. Beginning in 1978, significant prestigious productions in France 1 generated media shockwaves and an aesthetic impact on the French choreographic scene, serving as an important step in the global export of butoh. Drawing on my previous research on the reception of butoh in France, including an examination of the chronology of butoh in France and the sites of butoh activity, its critical reception, and its impact on contemporary dance (Pagès 2009c, 2015), I will analyze the stages of the French fascination with butoh, the reasons for its success and its effects.

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