My art is an art of improvisation. It is dangerous. To succeed, one must first reach the very depths of the human soul, and then, express it’ (Kazuo Ohno)
‘I am an artist, choreographer and performer trained in Butoh since 1992. My desire to see this type of work grow and evolve in the UK led me to develop this organisation. Audiences and participants for this art form are now fully established in the UK and Butoh has now become quite mainstream, and as familiar to students and audiences as African, Contemporary or Indian Dance. But it is important to acknowledge that Butoh is also always best when it’s not trying to be mainstream – it is an edge dance, a dance of the underground, a dance in the shadows’.
(Marie-Gabrielle Rotie 2020)
A Tiny History of Butoh in the UK.
In the 1980’s Lizzie Slater (writer/historian) was very active in promoting Butoh and organising performances and workshops for Japanese practitioners including:
Sankai Juku, Natsu Nakajima, Mutsutaka Ishi and Kazuo Ohno.
Between 1980 and 2000 other companies, invited by established dance organisations such as Dance Umbrella, Sadlers Wells, Tramway in Glasgow, Edinburgh Festival and The Place Theatre, have included: Ariadone/Carlotta Ikeda, Ko Murobushi, Sankai Juku and Kim Itoh.
However, compared to other European countries the appearance of Butoh was sporadic and rare. Interesting early pioneers of Butoh in the UK included Lyndsey John, Nick Parkin and Dymphna Darcy. In 1992,Ray Baskerville (dancer) established Butoh Kinoko and he can be credited with organising numerous workshops and the first two dedicated Butoh festivals in the Uk, in collaboration with Chisenhale Dance Space. The organisation dissolved in 1996.
In 1997 London Butoh Network was established as a voluntary run not-for-profit association. Marie-Gabrielle has since then been the driving force and producer/artistic director of all workshops and festivals and in 2002 renamed the organisation Butoh UK to reflect its growing membership outside of London. Butoh Uk has a database of over 2000 email recipients interested in Butoh.
Butoh UK has previously received funding from various sources, including Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Daiwa Anglo, Japan 2001and Arts Council of England. Partner festival and organisations include The Place Theatre, Dance Umbrella, Jackson Lane, Chisehale Dance Space and Goldsmiths University of London,