Butoh is an avant-garde Japanese dance/theater form with a somewhat specific aesthetic, yet continually being re-invented. Butoh was created in the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima to express the horrors of the ongoing effects on the Japanese people, and also to break through Japanese taboos. Butoh is dance, theater, political activism, and most importantly a healing art. Butoh is personal, communal, spiritual, expansive, and feminine; it is meditation in movement, stillness, expressing the darkness and light. I am not an expert on Butoh, but it has elements that connect with my soul, and is the dance form in which I am best able to create. In this dance I find joy, express pain, and move beyond the ego.
I read Sondra Horton Fraleigh's book "Dance and the Lived Body" seven years ago, and in a recent Amazon search for books on Butoh I came across this book: "Dancing into Darkness".
Sondra expresses her experience of watching and dancing Butoh with exquisite depth. Her words bring me directly into the experience of the dance and the dancer, and it brings tears to my eyes. I am touched so deeply by Butoh that every element evokes strong emotions, creativity, and memory within me. Her book is composed as a diary of separate essays, which are quite lovely. I love her style. I think many people could enjoy this book, even if they are not interested in Butoh. She weaves together so many elements of spirituality, Zen, mythology, motherhood, birth, friendship, love, the earth, and the Goddess. She articulates her own thoughts and experiences, as well as those of many Butoh dancers. I especially love reading about the Butoh dance exercises, which are simply incredible, in my own experience as well as in this book. I was introduced to this dance form within a workshop with Eiko and Koma Otaki many years ago when I was 17, and it had a profound impact on the course of my life.