A dialogue with gravity
UMS presents Sankai Juku Oct. 23-24 at Power Center; Japan's finest exponents of Butoh dance
By James Leija
University Musical Society
Ushio Amagatsu, the founder and artistic director of Sankai Juku, trained in classical as well as modern dance before he devoted his life to butoh. Butoh first appeared in Japan after World War II and is often defined by its playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, and absurd environments.
Traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow, hyper-controlled, mesmerizing motion, butoh represents to Amagatsu a “dialogue with gravity,” whereas most dance forms revel in the escape from gravity. It plays with the perception of time and space through slowing down the experience — the dance equivalent of haiku, only much longer.
The company, whose name translates to “studio by the mountain and the sea” and implies the characteristic serenity of the work, last appeared in Ann Arbor in 1999. In 2002, the work that they will perform, Hibiki – Resonance From Far Away, received an Olivier Award for “Best New Dance Production.” “[Ushio Amagatsu] conveys the infinitely minute yet spellbinding transformations of a world in constant metamorphosis.” (Dance Magazine)
For more information, please visit UMS PRESENTS SANKAI JUKU