Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
SU-EN Butoh Company had a world premier of their performance Luscious at Dansenshus in Stockholm last Thursday. They devoted the project to the 50th anniversary of Tatsumi Hijikata’s scandalous performance Kinjiki – forbidden colours in Tokyo.
It was the first time I saw a butoh performance. From the little I read about this moderm dance form with the roots in Japanese avantgarde I was intrigued by how the butoh performers worked with the body in space and in nature by deconstructing and challenging it in search for movement.
Nothing I knew about dance prepared me for this performance where I was taken out of the busy reality and separation from the body and nature and ended up in a don’t-know-where land. Like any other performance it is better experienced than described so I won’t even try.
Susanna Åkerlund (SU-EN) and her group have the priviledge and the burden of bringing butoh to the Swedish public. Not an altogether easy business in a country with Jantalagen -the unspoken law of not standing out from the crowd, trying to make oneself invisible and not special in any way. I am curious about the techniques used to work with the body and would love to meet the enthusiasts that all have to hold jobs outside to be able to do what they love but maybe got too optimistic signing up for their autumn camp in Almunge, here outside Uppsala. Tempting… Either way, I will look out for more of the group performances.
All photoes are reproduced with the permission of Su-En Butoh Company. Photography: Gunnar Stening.