What is Butoh? (舞踏 Butō; The dance of darkness)
The short answer? A Zen Dance Practice. Zen deals with the present, and Butoh is a 'dance of darkness'. And so the dance uses the space, philosophy and practice of Zen, to show light on and honour the hidden aspects of self, life, and experience. It is exploratory, experimental, and contemplative, a true Mystic Art.
The core of this practice is consciousness as the creative medium. The present spacial matrix is the canvas, and the human spirit is the paint.
Wikipedia states: - "Common features of the art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion. However, with time Butoh groups are increasingly being formed around the world, with their various aesthetic ideals and intentions"
Subtle Body Techniques - For practicing Butoh
The technical exploration and the application of the technical insight can be in the form of dance, theatre, performance art and circus arts. The techniques also have various non-professional and health benefits.
The particular emphasis of this approach is subtle sensation and movement awareness. This is a practical emphasis, and involves exercises intended to work with a group of individuals of varying experience and physical awareness. The aim is to create a space for participants to experience a subtle state of awareness in the body, and then have the opportunity to experiment with movement and expression from that space. In this way, participants can be exposed to the technical dimension of the Butoh dance, but maintaining the individualistic nature of Butoh itself.
With respect for my teacher Rhizome Lee at the school of Subbody Resonance Butoh Himalaya in Dharamsala, (HP)
In basic terms, Subbody means performance and practice from a state of very sensitive and 'subtle' consciousness. A practice of changing ones state of consciousness, to access deeper dimensions of experience: With the subtle state (just like meditation) there is access to dormant impulses and what we call 'Qualia' (basically a word which could mean emotion, memory, physical sensation, imagination, impulse). The subtle experience contains a plethora of options to move through, from a deepening internal landscape, to using the spacial matrix as a medium for expression.
Techniques including but not limited to:
Spacial Matrix Awareness
Central Axis Orientation
Kugutsu - Puppet work
Hip foot and leg strength
Sustained body awareness
Group awareness and mimicry
Small increment focus
Subbody and Character work