1st Edition

Butoh, as Heard by a Dancer

By Dominique Savitri Bonarjee Copyright 2024
    294 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the origins of Butoh in post-war Japan through orality and transmission, in conjunction with an embodied research approach.

    The book is a gathering of seminal artistic voices – Yoshito Ohno, Natsu Nakajima, Yukio Waguri, Moe Yamamoto, Masaki Iwana, Ko Murobushi, Yukio Suzuki, Takao Kawaguchi, Yuko Kaseki, and the philosopher, Kuniichi Uno. These conversations happened during an extended research trip I made to Japan to understand the context and circumstances that engendered Butoh. Alongside these exchanges are my reflections on Butoh’s complex history. These are primarily informed by my pedagogical and performance encounters with the artists I met during this time, rather than a theoretical analysis. Through the words of these dancers, I investigate Butoh’s tendency to evade categorization. Butoh’s artistic legacy of bodily rebellion, plurality of authorship, and fluidity of form seems prescient and feels more relevant in contemporary times than ever before.

    This book is intended as a practitioner's guide for dancers, artists, students, and scholars with an interest in non-Western dance and dance history, postmodern performance, and Japanese arts and culture.

    List of figures


    Introduction: Dust is Time’s Body

    Chapter 1. EMERGENCE: The First Collaborators

    Chapter 2. STRUCTURE: The Students

    Chapter 3. DISPERSION: The Mavericks

    Chapter 4. COMPLEXITY: A Contemporary Generation

    Chapter 5. EXHAUSTION: The Future of Butoh



    Dominique Savitri Bonarjee is a dancer and an artist, currently completing her doctoral research in the Department of Art, Goldsmiths University of London, UK.