Thursday, April 02, 2009

April 3 Noted Japanese Butoh Performer Speaks

Butoh was birthed by Tatsumi Hijikata in 1959 in Japan. Hijikata tapped his birthplace's energy to create a new movement form. It was inspired by the wild energy of nature in the Northern Honshū countryside. Natsu Nakajima was born in the even further North, but came to Northern Honshū as a child when Russia expelled Japanese from Sakhalin. A trained dancer, she is one of the first woman to begin performing with Hijikata, in 1963. In 1969, she formed a small group, Muteki-sha. She created a continually evolving career work Niwa, The Garden. "Niwa is a forgotton garden, very tiny, very Japanese: it is the garden of my memory of childhood. I wanted to see my life from the perspective of a woman seated in a garden, watching it bloom and wither." She continues, "Butoh should reject any notion of symbolism, message, or formalism, and only express its energy and freedom. It is not an art I aspire too, but love." In another expression of compassion, Nakajima worked for many years with handicapped Japanese, establishing programs in many Japanese cities and performing with handicapped dancers. Nakajima-san has been teaching an intimate workshop on her movement ideas in Portland this week. She speaks of her artistic vision at Portland State University today. (quotes from Butoh, Viala and Masson-Sekine c1988)

This is an opportunity to see a seminal Japanese performer and perhaps a glimpse of a very special artistic life. The event is sponsored by Portland State University's Center for Japanese Studies and organized by Mizu Desierto founder of The Headwaters Studio.

At Portland State University. Smith Center, Room 298. Noon. Free