Many years ago, when I was still trying to pick up and appropriate formal theatrical disciplines I took part in a Butoh workshop. The experience left me physically and mentally exhausted, but I don’t recall any profound emotional impact. Beyond the confines of the immediate physical activity of participating in the slow, slow, shockingly precise activity I have no impression of being galvanised – which is always what you are aiming for in any such activity.

Yet years after the experience I find myself continually, increasingly, haunted by my introduction to Butoh. The formal discipline is highly attractive, as is the glacial progression of the movement and the very clear psychological journey undertaken by the performers.

This clip of Ikeda Carlotta reminds me as much of the physical payment excised by the engagement with the protocol as it does the ineffable mystery underpinning the discipline.


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