A Unique Dance Form: Butoh

By Nurdan Karasu Gökçe.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

After World War II, a unique dance form was created in Japan called Butoh. Incorporating its own body shape, makeup, facial expressions and movements, the intent of its creators was to reject both western dance forms and the traditional Japanese dances. The body is visually represented in Butoh in many ways, involving body shape and makeup, facial expressions and movements. In butoh, the image never stands still. It always contains a movement, a contradiction. The contradictions that butoh refers or represents are the weakness and the needs of the human life. One should not separate body and the spirit from each other when talking about butoh. When it comes to the spirit, the technique of butoh is secondary. All possible images are used as canals toward an expansion of the body to the outer world. One can also view butoh as the abstract expressionist counterpart to the history of dance. Like the abstract expressionist painters, the butoh dancers aspire to the purest, the most direct expression of their emotions. Butoh dance is an art that began in Japan as a revolutionary underground dance movement, and although it is known through out Europe and America, it is still relatively unknown in Japan and in many other countries. The tradition, which was the reactionary catalyst for the birth of butoh, is also the conservative inertia, which may be preventing it from gaining acceptance in Japanese society.

Keywords: Butoh, Buyoh, Kabuki, Dance, Facial Expression

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.15-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 479.335KB).

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nurdan Karasu Gökçe

Co-Dean of Fine Arts Department, Fine Arts Department, Erciyes Universitesi, Kayseri, Turkey

Karasu Gökçe has BA in the field of painting at Education of Fine Arts of Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey (1990). She was awarded a scholarship by the Department of Higher Education Abroad of Turkish Ministry of Education to study abroad for being the top student among the 38 candidates, (1990). She attended a language school, LCP (Citrus College), CA, USA (1991-1992). She got her MFA in the field of painting at Fine Arts Department of Claremont Graduate University (1992-1994). Karasu assisted Prof. Dr. M.A. Greenstein in “Critical Theory” courses at Fine Arts Department, Claremont Graduate University and Prof. Dr. Kathryn Miller in painting and drawing classes at Pitzer College, Claremont, CA, USA. She worked as a substitute art instructor at First Street Gallery, Art Center. Between June-Aug. 1994, Karasu taught drawing and cartooning courses to 6th and 9th grade students in The Webb School. She started working as a Research Assistant at the Fine Arts Department of Erciyes University in Turkey (1994). She earned Proficiency in Art degree (PhD. In Fine Arts) with the body of art works and a thesis titled Creating Meditational and Spiritual Spaces with Color and Light at the Department of Art and Humanities of Hacettepe University (2004). She became an Ass. Professor and signed as Faculty Assoc.-Dean in 2005. She was awarded with “Akbank Honor Award” and exhibited her works at 22. Contemporary Artists Istanbul Exhibition, a juried art exhibition (2003). Karasu opened three solo exhibitions and attended many group shows in Turkey, USA and Bulgaria. Karasu has two published books Light and Shadows in Drawing, Kayseri_2007 and Drawing Techniques and Materials, Kayseri_2007.


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