the poverty of movement

I was privileged to watch Syv Bruzeau, a butoh dancer and movement healer (watch her in another performance here) perform at the Spore Art Salon during its 23rd Edition on 30th October 2012. It was the first time (ashamedly) that I had seen butoh, and it was both an intense and immersive performance.

It is said that butoh is an art form that is beyond definition. That the body in a butoh performance rejects being the medium to represent a sign, which differs from forms like ballet  and modern dance, where form and movement utilise character as sign, and a time signature of these forms creates structure for the audience. 

And even as I stared at the body in its own abhorrence of performance, I became aware of a certain poverty in the concept of Bruzeau’s movements. Certainly, there were stylized elements; the whitening shroud of her garb, the blood-red ribbon pulled like a votive offering from her mouth, but these were imaginations bereft of context. They called to the viewer to form their own arc of connecting to each turn, each gesture that immolates itself the moment it is performed.

As Okamura writes, ‘Butoh exposes the texture of time in front of the audience.’ But it does so using the ‘otherness’ of matter, and questions space itself, which then complicates the way we are used to seeing time as connected to the notion of change, in all its attendant forms.

Enjoy the pictures.

Author: Marc

Creative educator. Sometime photographer. Fiddler of words.

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