Butoh Pedagogy in Historical and Contemporary Practice

Authored by: Tanya Calamoneri

The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance

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

Print ISBN: 9781138691094
eBook ISBN: 9781315536132
Adobe ISBN:


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At first glance, “butoh pedagogy” may seem to be an amorphous concept, as there are nearly as many teaching methods and aesthetic styles as there are practitioners in this increasingly global community. Within the growing butoh diaspora, it can be difficult to trace a methodological thread from the founders to now. Is there a central organizing principle among these varied approaches? My quest as a student and researcher has been to understand the key tenets of the form. There is an aesthetic core of embodying grotesque beauty and a philosophical orientation toward transformation in an almost shamanic, certainly ego-transcendent sense. And of course there is the characteristic glacial pace, which some teachers emphasize more than others. But training methods vary widely from pure improvisation, to strict learning of choreographic forms, to doing something outside of dance to learn about the body and human movement, such as the farming practices of Tanaka Min and his Body Weather–trained practitioners.

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