Renounced Japanese Dancer Maintains Early Butoh Tradition

Photo: Heo/Butoh


Mexico’s Guillermina Bravo Dance Theater is slated to host a one-night-only performance of renowned Japanese dancer and choreographer Yumiko Yoshioka, a member of the first generation of Butoh dancers, on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m.

Yoshioka will perform “Before the Dawn,” a scenic introspection on human transformation.

Butoh, also known as the Japanese Dance of Darkness, emerged in Japan in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Butoh focuses on transformation, darkness and desire (one of the first Butoh performances, in 1959, touched on desire within homosexuals).

Rather than aspiring to an aesthetic ideal, the dance attempts to expose the joys and sorrows of life, exploring the most fundamental elements of physical and psychological existence.

For the general audience, it appears as a type of dance or silent theater that displays extreme visual images created by a thin, white-painted dancer.

Although it was initially rejected in Japan (and elsewhere), Butoh has now become a contemporary dance form showcased all over the world with Yoshioka being one of the first generation of dancers to perform Butoh.

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