This October, New York Butoh Institute will present a free virtual series highlighting women's important contributions to butoh. In October 2021, Women Defining Butoh will showcase recent works by two generations of women butoh pioneers. Virtual performances will live stream on www.vimeo.com/vangeline and be available on-demand for a limited time. The calendar of festivities will be available at www.vangeline.com/calendar-of-upcoming-events.
The series will showcase butoh dancers Natsu Nakajima and Saga Kobayashi, active since 1966; Yumiko Yoshioka and Minako Seki, the first female pioneers to reach Europe in the 70s, and third-generation dancer Yuko Kaseki. Following butoh's migration East to West, our series follows the spread of butoh in the US via Hiroko Tamano, who settled in San Francisco in 1980, and Joan Laage, who first introduced butoh to Seattle in the 90s. Our series celebrates the legacy of these butoh legends with performances by the all-female troupe Daipan Butoh (Seattle), Mexican dancer Eugenia Vargas, Chicago-based dancer Cristal Sabbagh, and New York-based company Vangeline Theater. To kick off this series, New York Butoh Institute is pleased to administer, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lifetime Achievement Awards to Natsu Nakajima, Saga Kobayashi and Hiroko Tamano.
"Butoh is alive and well today," says Vangeline, curator of this series, "and it is largely due to the pioneering work of women since the 60s. These women are still very active today and are vital contributors to butoh's global success. Their legacy endures; with this series, we celebrate women's achievements and hope to inspire the next generation of dance-makers."
Vangeline is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form butoh. She is the artistic director of the Vangeline Theater (New York), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese butoh and the New York Butoh Institute's founder. She is a 2018 NYFA/NYSCA Artist Fellow in Choreography. Vangeline's work has been heralded in publications such as the New York Times ("captivating"), Los Angeles Times("moves with the clockwork deliberation of a practiced Japanese Butoh artist"), and LA Weekly, to name a few. More recently, her solo Hijikata Mon Amour received critical acclaim in New York Butoh Institute Festival 2019 ("a triumphant experience for both performer and viewer"– Broadway World). With her all-female dance company, Vangeline's socially conscious performances tie together butoh and activism. She is the founder of the 15-year running, award-winning program "Dream a Dream Project," which brings butoh dance to incarcerated men and women at correctional facilities across New York State. Vangeline has taught and performed internationally in Japan, Finland, Chile, Hong Kong, the UK, Denmark, Germany, France, the United States, and Taiwan. She is the author of the book of non-fiction Butoh: Cradling Empty Space (2020). www.vangeline.com.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.