Do you know Butoh?

Aug 11, 2013, 09:42 IST | Phorum Dalal

Japanese dance critic Daisuke Muto will conduct a lecture and an open session to introduce contemporary Japanese dance forms and their historical context at Max Mueller Bhavan today

When we heard about a Japanese dance critic making a three-city tour to India, Mumbai being one of them, we were curious. Daisuke Muto will conduct a lecture on introduction to contemporary Japanese dance and its historical context at Max Mueller Bhavan, courtesy Japan Foundation and Dance Dialogues, a group that facilitates collaborations between Indian dance makers and enthusiasts.

The lecture will shed light on Butoh, started as a revolt against ‘(inter)nationalism’ in the late 1950s. “Butoh was a Dadaism -- a European artistic and literary movement -- which resists post-war reformation of society and culture which have been more and more Americanised. This form was also against Japaneseness. “Butoh, as a dance style, was consolidated in 1970s and 80s. They used slow movement like Noh, transvestism (cross dressing) like Kabuki, and many traditional cultural components. Some Butoh artists are still selling their look of exoticism, but it’s quite misleading,” explains Muto, who will also talk about how contemporary dance evolved around late 1980s and share his critical analysis of works by the latest dance-makers, with emphasis on different ideas of corporeality, accompanied by video screening of milestone works. “I want to exchange thoughts with the audience and understand the Indian dance culture and philosophy,” says Muto.

Muto is currently researching on the asymmetrical development of dance in the 20th century between the West and Asia. “While the West found a path towards modern dance, drastically detached from ballet tradition, Asia stepped into an endless struggle to reconcile traditional culture with Western modernisation,” explains Muto, whose research involves studying ‘Oriental dance’ by Anna Pavlova or Ruth St Denis and their influence on Asian dance, and the reaction of audiences to the dance form. “The history of Uday Shankar and Rukmini Devi in India fascinate me. Unknowingly, Asians have many historical experiences in common,” he concludes. Konichiwa, Daisuke san!

When: August 11, 4 pm to 6 pm
Where: Max Mueller Bhavan, Goethe Institute, K Dubash Road, Kala Ghoda
Entry: Free 

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