Friday, June 17, 2011

Butoh Road Trip

The journey of drawing Butoh did not stop after my posting here last year. Since then we’ve been able to schedule a few more sessions and I’ve been making contact with the Butoh community on several social network sites. An announcement came out for a Symposium in Los Angeles at UCLA. The travel would be relatively easy so I signed up.

The premier event of the weekend was a performance by three highly respected Butoh artists, Katsura Kan, Joan Laage, and Moro Akaji. Watching them gave me a new perspective on Butoh. Each reveled interesting nuances that simply cannot be experienced in a video. During his performance Katsura Kan repeated a gesture of covering his right eye with his hand. I had brought a small drawing pad /pencil and quickly sketched the gesture during a break. Later on that evening in my motel room, relying on memory, a more detailed drawing took shape. The final print, a drypoint intaglio, collagraph collage is included in this post.

The second day of the symposium was a discussion on the history and present state of Butoh. All very interesting and educational, however what I enjoyed most was meeting dancers, fellow artists and academics dedicated to the study of Butoh. I meet a number of very friendly folks and look forward to continuing correspondence with them.

The last morning of the symposium was a movement workshop with Katsura Kan. He introduced us to a very simple exercise that teaches you awareness of the body moving in space. I spent the remainder of the day revisiting my childhood neighborhood in West Los Angeles.

All in all a great trip!