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Butoh College 2019: Performance Series

Butoh College 2019: Performance Series

Saturday, April 13th: Koichi & Hiroko Tamano + Kudo Taketeru

Saturday, April 20th: Kudo Taketeru Solo: “The Candy Explosion”

Friday-Sunday, April 26-28th: SHADOWTENDER: Liber II



KOICHI & HIROKO TAMANO were among the very first to perform Ankoku Butoh, which translates literally to “the dance of darkness.” The genre emerged in the late 1950s in post-atomic Japan. It was created by two dancers, Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata, who sought to create a new, uniquely Japanese form of expression that completely rebelled against the establishment, and the increasing westernization (capitalization) of Japan. Koichi joined Hijikata’s dance company in 1960 and was named by him “the bowlegged Nijinsky”. Hiroko joined the company a few years later and eventually Hijikata encouraged the Tamanos to introduce butoh to the U.S. The Tamano’s performance in the 1976 “Japan Now” exhibition at SFMOMA was the first Butoh seen by an American audience and made a big sensation. The Tamanos moved their dance company Harupin-Ha from Tokyo to Berkeley, California in 1979 with the blessings and encouragement of their teacher. For decades the Tamanos have brought their particular style of workshop and performance throughout the west, inspiring new generations of artists to express themselves freely and holistically in relationship to the land they live and move upon. Their playful and spirited approach to community and creative life is at the heart of WITD and it is always an honor to bring this butoh Mama and Papa back to our home…where the seeds they sew are guaranteed to bring the wildest and most poetic of dreams.

For this special 1 night only performance, we have invited the Tamanos to work with Kudo Taketeru in the creation of a performance which honors the lineage passed from student to teacher.



“The art of butoh tends to reject anything to do with technique. I did not even intend to ‘take up’ butoh. It depends on what we want to say to the world through the body. The body of a butoh dancer is like an empty vessel, it should be able to contain any material on earth that emerges through the imagery of the movements made.” Says TAKETERU KUDO, whose journey in dance took him to study under Koichi Tamano in the US. After appearing on stage with Tamano and Yukio Waguri, he began dancing solo in 1992. Before he established his own troupe, Tokyo Gien-kan, he was a member of the well-known butoh dance troupe Sankai Juku until 1998. Kudo’s work is said to channel the spirit of Jean-Louis Barrault, Vaslav Fomich Nijinsky and Yukio Mishima. About the Workshop he says, “Everyday I look back into the body that I am carrying around. My dancing is a way to unravel a more free state.”

This 1 night only performance will be a sharing of Taketeru’s newest solo work, The Candy Explosion.



Portland Premier

SHADOWTENDER: LIBER II is a love letter to the terrifying secrets of the queer female body - the silent language of memory, nightmares, transmutation, and the endless desire to bloom. Loosely inspired by the concept of the Jungian Shadow, it is an invitation to untangle twisted muscle and locked joints…to transmute a struggle for dominance into a tender embrace.

Created by a vibrant bi-coastal creative team of dancers, immigrants, artists, designers, and scientists, SHADOWTENDER: Liber II combines butoh, physical theatre, martial arts, alchemy, and wearable sculpture to externalize aspects of self that we fear and repress for the purpose of fostering dialogue and integration. Each performance will be followed by a QA session with the artists.

Natalya Kolosowsky (artistic director/performer), Maria Thomas (movement consultant/performer), Magda Kaczmarska (choreographer), Adam Cooper-Terán (sound designer), and Lindsey Bruno (production manager)

To learn more about the SHADOWTENDER project please visit our website or connect with us on Facebook.


SUNDAY 18: 2pm

This project is generously supported by the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

For pricing we are inspired to use this model by Worts and Cunning. Please follow this link for credit and in-depth information on how it works.



The sliding scale is a tool that allows for the services of our teachers to be obtained at multiple price points based on the circumstances of the purchaser. We believe that teachers deserve to get paid and students deserve classes which recognize the multiple realities of economic access and privilege that exist. Please refer to this graphic and do your best to truthfully select at the price point that most accurately fits your economic reality. There are a limited amount of slots for the two lower price points at the end of the scale. Please be mindful that if you register at the lowest end of the scale when you can truthfully afford a higher registration price, you are limiting access to those who truly need the gift of financial flexibility.

Later Event: May 4
Fire and Meat