Seattle Butoh Festival 2015: July 10 – 19

Posted on July 09, 2015, 10:09 am
3 mins


Butoh movement has worked its way into a lot of contemporary performance art since the dance form was established in Japan in the decades following WWII. It was inspired by infirmity and trauma, and this was especially evident in the early years. Grotesque, violent and graphic imagery was typical. Over time, different styles have emerged internationally, ranging from the more blatantly gothic, to the more minimal and athletic, to full blown spectacles from groups like Sankai Juku, which has enjoyed great popularity worldwide.

The core of Butoh is humanistic, driving performers to place themselves in the body of the infirm, the weak, the animal or even the inanimate. It is deeply focused on the body, but this means different things to various teachers, and some make it almost shamanic. For local collective DAIPANbutoh, it’s almost yogic, as its embrace of the Butoh practice aims to access greater awareness of bodies and prejudices, allowing even novices to break down individual judgment from the inside out. Performances may become sorrowful or wild, but the intended effect is not merely cathartic, but also empathetic.

Alexander Riding, “Luftloss”, Seattle Butoh Festival 2014. Photo by Kaoru Okumura

Alexander Riding, “Luftloss,” Seattle Butoh Festival 2014. Photo by Kaoru Okumura

DAIPAN’s 6th annual Seattle Butoh Festival – Exploring the Global Body invites as its special guest Diego Piñón of Butoh Ritual Mexicano, whose practice aligns well with DAIPAN’s own vision. From the event page:

Butoh Ritual Mexicano (BRM) challenges us to awaken and explore all the human qualities ranging from the subtle to the outrageous… BRM training involves high-impact aerobic movement, active meditation, and guided improvisation, all embraced within a space of communal ritual. The collective physical training consists of shaking, low-level ground work, partnering, impulse exchange, and transpersonal communication.

The first weekend offers a number of workshops, followed by performances the following week. Check out the site for more information.

Seattle Butoh Festival 2015 – Exploring the Global Body


Where: Taoist Studies Institute (225 N 70th St, Seattle 98103)


July 10: 6 PM to 9 PM

July 11: 12 PM to 6 PM

July 12: 10 AM to 4 PM

Secure a spot online.


July 15, 5:30 PM: Art in the Park @ Cal Anderson Park (1635 11th Ave)

Free out door event by DAIPANbutoh and Maureen Freehill

July 17 and 18, 8 PM: Master Performances @ Broadway Performance Hall (1625 Broadway)

Tickets available online. ($22 general seating, $18 for students and seniors)

July 19, 12 PM to 3 PM: Outdoor performance @ Kubota Garden (9817 55th Ave S)

Free event organized by KOBUT Butoh


T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.