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The Butoh of Hijikata: theater in the body


As part of the activities for the first International Festival of Butoh Dance in Latin America, “Bodies in Revolution,” we present the exhibition The Butoh of Hijikata: theater in the body, on the 30th anniversary of the death of Tatsumi Hijikata (1928-1986), one of the most outstanding avant-garde dancers of the twentieth century in Japan and around the world, and creator of Ankoku Butoh.

The exhibition, presented for the first time in Mexico, is a collaboration with the Hijikata Archive of the Center for the Arts of Keio University, Japan, directed by Takashi Morishita. The show includes photographs, videos, and both unseen and purpose-madeworks.


The collection, assembled especially for this occasion, gives a sense of the watershed for the world of dance that the Butoh of Hijikata represented when he was at the height of his powers, between the 1960s and 1970s.


It was the late 1950s when TatsumiHijikata first burst onto the Japanese dance scene, and over the following years he dedicated himself to creating and establishing an innovative form of bodily expression. He worked tirelessly as a radical and singular happener, in collaboration with other avant-garde performers.


Hijikata created a new style he called AnkokuButoh, a dance executed by the body and for the body. His best-known work is TatsumiHijikata and the Japanese People: the Body in Revolution (Nikutai no hanran), first presented in 1968 against a backdrop of social unrest and protests against those in power.


For TatsumiHijikata the revolution of the body represented a poetics of decadence,  where violence and sex were the principal subjects of a strange and anarchic dance. He explored Butoh under the watchwords of negation and innovation and transformed this technique into a unique form of corporeal expression, creating a method that not only depended on ideas but explored experience and memory in the body.


In the 1970s he took a new direction and focused on death and illness as his subjects. He declared that “Butoh is a stiff corpse, upright, struggling desperately for life.”


Takashi Morishita, director of the Hijikata Archive and curator of the exhibition, is considered the world’s leading academic authority on Butoh dance. He worked at Tatsumi Hijikata’s Asbestos Studio as a producer and assistant since 1972 and is the author of several essential books on the Butoh dance of this Japanese master.


Opening: March 31, 2016, 19:00
Until April 9
Underground Gallery











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Fotos: cortesía Archivo Tatsumi Hijikata.




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