When Butoh meets contemporary

The workshop of Butoh, a Japanese dance theatre combined with contemporary dance, took place in Kochi

Published: 29th January 2018 09:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th January 2018 03:07 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Full body painted in shades of white or gold, grotesque costumes and clawed hands, this is what comprises the theatre of protest, Butoh, which is a type of Japanese dance theatre. This dance is not accompanied by a song or soft movements. Instead, it grabs the audience’s attention in the powerful movements by the performer.

Anna Nela from Germany and Fawas Ameer Hamsa from Bengaluru brought this art form alive in a three-day workshop, called ‘Resonace dance’, which took place at the Mamangam School of Dance in Kochi. 
Anna studied Butoh dance at the Subbody Butoh School in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. Thereafter, she has been teaching it to children and adults. “This art form, which was founded in the 1950s, is more of a protest form rather than a dance,” she says. “It showed what the society didn’t want to see, like sexual abuse, violence and the treatment of transgenders in society. Fawas and I have given it a blend of Butoh and the contemporary form.”

This is the first time that Anna and Fawas are working together. Fawas, a choreographer, dancer and actor in the film industry is trained in many classical and contemporary dance forms like Kalaripayattu, ballet, and tribal dance. But he is also a fan of Butoh. “It is a dance form that searches deep for the roots of discrimination, taboo topics and suffering, such as the catastrophe of Hiroshima,” says Fawas.  

The performance ended with a show of fire. “Like in Indian culture, there is a belief that fire can be used for purification,” says Fawas. “So, we ended our performance in the same way.” About 40 people attended the workshop. 

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