Asia Butoh Forum 2022
20220315

Asia Butoh is the first international festival organized in Taiwan that establishes a dialogue between history and contemporary Butoh in Asia. Drawing from his participation in international exchanges and interdisciplinary collaborations over the past decade, Hu Chia, artistic director of Huchia Theatre, invites 13 contemporary Butoh artists, curators, scholars and consultants from across eight countries. These visiting experts will participate in three online-offline forums at the Huashan1914 Creative Park.

To introduce the aesthetics of Ankoku Butoh to the public, Huchia Theatre has invited participating artists to conduct a “Online-Offline Workshop” that overcomes the barriers of distance, while bringing viewers to experience the training and backgrounds of various Butoh artists.

 

During the 2021 International Butoh Online Forum in Taipei hosted by the Taiwan International Butoh Association last June, it was evident that contemporary Butoh in the West was developing towards individual physical and spiritual explorations. The resulting spiritual connotation, bodily awareness, and stage performances differ greatly from Butoh practiced in Japan and across Asia in the 20th century, which focused on historical and social trauma.
 

Furthermore, starting from the end of the 1980s, some Butoh dancers in Japan also began practicing the original Butoh style that was no longer ankoku (darkness) or “distorted”. For example, the “Sankai Juku” dance troupe co-founded by Ushio Amagatsu and works featuring the “bright and clean” style are becoming increasingly popular around the world. After resistance to post-war development, the evolution of Butoh art in the 20th century became integrated with the spirit of the anti-establishment student movement in the late 1960s. In the post-war democratization process of Asia, Butoh was practiced in a significant amount of social movements, such as Daizo Sakurai's tent theatre, the People’s Theatre of the slums in the Philippines, and the participation of Taiwan’s theatre circle in the controversies surrounding the Lo-Sheng Sanatorium. All of the above are considered the spiritual continuance and extension of physical resistance in the post-war Butoh social movement. In Taiwan, theatrical community members or Butoh masters such as Chung Chiao, Wu Wen-Tsui (Wu Shi-Wen), and more also exchanged or studied with the second generation of the Japanese Butoh during this time, before putting the spiritual value into practice in issues related to Taiwanese society.

 

Hua Chia, founder of Huchia Dance Theatre and committee chairman of the Taiwan International Butoh Association, connects Butoh artists, curators, scholars and consultants in Asia based on his understanding and efforts in the art of Butoh, as well as his experience in exchanges at home and abroad, to organize the festival 2022 Butoh Asia – History and the Present. Based on the historical background described above, Huchia Dance Theatre and Taiwan International Butoh Association are hosting the festival to explore and reveal the current development of Butoh in various Asian countries and its contemporary transformation and localization through discussions with experts, including Butoh dancers, researchers, and critics in various Asian countries. The public is invited to the 2022 Butoh Asia – History and the Present festival to learn about the Butoh development in various countries and the Butoh training methodologies within each dance community.

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