The New York Butoh Institute Festival 2020 Continues This Weekend

The New York Butoh Institute Festival 2020

Friday, October 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 24 at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, October 25 from Noon until 3:00 p.m. ET

Via Zoom and Video on Demand

Tickets: $5-$10

Vangeline Theater/New York Butoh Institute presents The New York Butoh Institute Festival 2020, an online celebration of Butoh, a performance art form that grew out of the Japanese avant-garde scene of the 1950s. The Festival, which began on October 15, features an exciting program of Butoh workshops and exclusive Zoom performances of works by Butoh dancers from Asia, Latin America, South Africa, New York, and elsewhere in the United States. Vangeline’s nonfiction book, Butoh: Cradling Empty Space, was released during the Festival.

Remaining Schedule

Friday, October 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Red Flag on the Red Planet, a live, three-camera performance by Vanessa Skantze from Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA. There will be a discussion with the artist after the performance.

Vanessa Skantze Photo by Roxanne Nihiline

Skantze is a Butoh artist who has performed and taught in the US and Europe for more than 20 years. She became a student of Jinen Butoh founder Atsushi Takenouchi in 2003, having already co-created the sound/movement improvisation ensemble Death Posture in New Orleans. She is currently based in Seattle.

Tebby W T Ramasike Photo by Fabrice Pairault
Tebby W T Ramasike Photo by Fabrice Pairault

Saturday, October 24, at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET

Rising of the Unchained Silent Screams, a solo created and performed by Tebby W. T. Ramasike via Zoom followed by a discussion with the artist.

Ramasike, a South African choreographer, dancer, teacher/educator, researcher in dance, Butoh practitioner, and cultural activist, arrived in Europe in 1995 after working with different theatre and dance companies in South Africa and abroad. Currently, he is working on an interactive multidisciplinary crossover collaborative project and continues research on his concept of the Afro-Butoh.

Sunday, October 25 from Noon until 3:00 p.m. ET

Afrobutoh Workshop with Tebby W. T. Ramasike via Zoom

Free Event

In partnership with the Hokkaido Butoh Festival, a free screening of Butoh dancer Saga Kobayashi’s 2020 performance is now available online during the festival on Vangeline’s Vimeo channel. Kobayashi was a principal dancer of the founder of butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata.

To purchase tickets to the remaining performances, please visit Vangeline’s website.

You can also purchase the events on demand at Vangeline’s Video on Demand page on Vimeo until October 31, 2020.

Festival Highlights

Sitting with it, a collection of butoh short films

The six short films are a hybrid between film, poetry, visual arts, and Butoh. The last four of the short films featured are a direct response to the 2020 pandemic.

Aurora's Aura Nicholas Motyka
Aurora’s Aura photo by Nicholas Motyka
  1. Aurora’s Aura by Nicholas Motyka (USA/Japan). 6 min.
  2. Living Room by Kori Koolman (Israel/ USA). 22:55 min.
  3. Resting Bell by Sher Chew (Singapore). 11:26 min.
  4. Storm by Stéphanie Larrière (France/USA). 7 min.
  5. Sitting with it by Melissa Lohman (Italy/ USA). 11 min.
  6. 2020SavetheLife by Alana Rosa (BRAZIL). 13 min.
Ruta-de-la-memoria- Photos by Felipe Cona#4
Ruta De La Memoria Photo by Felipe Cona

Broken Body by Ruta De La Memoria (Chile)

Broken Body tells the story of three pregnant women who disappeared during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. Presented in association with Theater for the New City.

Ruta de la Memoria is a company from Santiago, Chile, that mixes theater, butoh, and dance. The company’s director, Natalia Cuéllar, is an actress and dancer who studied theater in Chile and continued her artistic training in Europe, following the lineage of Grotowski. Later, she moved on to Butoh, studying with different masters such as Butoh dancers Makiko Tominaga and Minako Seki. In 2008, she founded the Ruta de la Memoria Company, which focuses on the issues of gender, human rights, and memory. Since 2014, she has directed and organized the celebrated International Butoh Festival in Chile (FIBUTOH).

Yuko Kaseki ©Sigel Eschkol
Yuko Kaseki ©Sigel Eschkol

Butoh Improvisation by Yuko Kaseki (Japan)

Yuko Kaseki is Butoh dancer, performer, improviser, choreographer, and teacher based in Berlin. She studied with Butoh dancer Anzu Furukawa at Performing Arts Art University Braunschweig. She moved to Berlin in 1995 and founded the company Cokaseki. Her works incorporate the spirit of Butoh and borrow from Performance Art using objects, texts, and soundscapes. Her strong interest in breaking the border of physical existence leads to projects with mixed ability artists and performers.

Butoh: Cradling Empty Space

During the Festival, the New York Butoh Institute released its first nonfiction book, Butoh: Cradling Empty Space, explores Butoh through a scientific lens, challenging the current gender bias and shedding light onto this mysterious and often misunderstood art form.

Through twenty years of research, interviews with some of the world’s top practitioners, historical documents, and rare photographs, Vangeline shines a light on this “dance of darkness.” New revelations include the under-represented role of women in the development of the form, the connection between Butoh and neuroscience, and the cross-cultural perspective of international influences on the evolution of the dance.

Butoh: Cradling Empty Space will appeal to dance students, teachers, performance art scholars, movers, and anyone interested in choreography, theater, and Japanese history, culture and art. It includes rare photographs, helpful graphics, a detailed bibliography and footnotes, and resources for additional information. The book is now available on, Barnes & Noble, and kobo.


About Vangeline

Vangeline is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese art form Butoh. She is the artistic director of the Vangeline Theater (New York), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese Butoh while carrying it into the 21st century, and the founder of the New York Butoh Institute. She is a 2018 NYFA/NYSCA Fellow in Choreography. Vangeline has taught and performed in Japan, Finland, Chile, Hong Kong, the U.K, Denmark, Germany, France, the US, and Taiwan. She is the winner of the 2015 Gibney Dance’s Beth Silverman-Yam Social Action Award and the winner of the 2019 Janet Arnold Award from the Society of Antiquaries of London.

She is also the founder of the award-winning Dream a Dream Project, a dance program reaching out to the incarcerated population in New York since 2006. (JapanCultureNYC attended a recital at Queensboro Correctional Facility in 2013. Read about the experience here.)

About the Vangeline Theater/New York Butoh Institute

Vangeline Theater/ New York Butoh Institute aims to preserve the legacy and integrity of Japanese Butoh while carrying the art form well into the future. The unique art of Butoh originated in post-World War II Japan as a reaction to the loss of identity caused by the westernization of Japanese culture, as well as a realization that ancient Japanese performing traditions no longer spoke to a contemporary audience. The Vangeline Theater is home to the New York Butoh Institute, dedicated to the advancement of Butoh in the 21st century.