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Kinkan Shonen - Graine de Cumquat

Maison de la danse 1981 - Director : Picq, Charles

Choreographer(s) : Amagatsu, Ushio (Japan)

Present in collection(s): Maison de la danse , Saisons 1980 > 1989

Video producer : Maison de la Danse

Integral video available at Maison de la danse de Lyon

en fr

Kinkan Shonen - Graine de Cumquat

Maison de la danse 1981 - Director : Picq, Charles

Choreographer(s) : Amagatsu, Ushio (Japan)

Present in collection(s): Maison de la danse , Saisons 1980 > 1989

Video producer : Maison de la Danse

Integral video available at Maison de la danse de Lyon

en fr

Kinkan shonen [Graine de cumquat]

The gesture in memory, towards the other side.
There is a kind of fish which, in the earliest phase of its life, is born male. Later, its male organs degenerate and it metamorphoses into a female. This is why male and female were originally one and the same. It is said that this male and this female copulated and gave birth to an egg. It's an odd story! So, over the course of its life, the fish experiences what it is to be male and female in succession. The origins of mankind are to be found in this fish. Long ago, fish emerged onto the land and began to live there. We know that a show has a beginning and an end. When we trace a circle with compasses, there is a starting point and a finishing point. When the circle is complete, these two points merge and a shape appears.
“Kinkan shonen (Graine de cumquat) [(Kumquat Seed)]” evokes a young boy's dream about the origins of life and death. The child standing on the beach allows his sight to dive beneath the surface of the ocean and fuse with the fish, the primitive stage of humanity. The dried fish which dress the set serve as a vital casing for the shaven-headed and fully-powdered dancers, as they slip out of their coating in a violently-disturbing transformation.    

Introductory poem:     
extract from “Dialogue avec la gravité”, by Ushio Amagatsu (in French, Actes Sud)     
(translated by Patrick De Vos)     

“Standing still on the fringe between earth and sea
In front, spreading as far as the eye can see, below the horizon,
swarming fish
Which from the depths gaze at the water's surface    
Their innumerable hearts are noisy
Sometimes in unison - an immense beating, sometimes randomly,
and unceasing, it starts over,
Until one determined species emerges and climbs out onto the continent,
begins to breathe, to put out hands and legs, to walk, to stand,
remnant images which superimpose one upon another,
to coalesce at the very end, there, behind you.

Before you, behind you.
Someone is looking at the back of the one who is looking at the sea.
Then someone else looks at this someone from behind…
The impression of standing at a point on some immense circle.
You believe you can close the circle by advancing,
Resolutely towards the sea.

A shadow flickers under my eyelids.
My eyes open slowly.
Everywhere before me the vast blue sky.

I had fainted.

At the point of the headland, the lighthouse, a wide sandy beach,
The warning bell.
The sun is shining with a violent light.
Daydreaming at the moment of the fall.

Darkness at the heart of my dream.

Nausea comes.
Besides, the evening had been hot, impossible to sleep,
Eyes wide open to face the dark,
As if I had asked some dreadful question.


Source: Maison de la Danse programming

Amagatsu, Ushio

Born in Yokosuka,Japan in 1949 and founded Butoh company Sankai Juku in 1975.
He created Amagatsu Sho (1977), Kinkan Shonen (1978), Sholiba (1979) before the first world tour in 1980. Since 1981, France and The Theatre de la Ville,Paris has become his places for creation and work and that year he created Bakki for Festival d'Avignon. The Theatre de la Ville, Paris he has created 14 productions since 1982.

Amagatsu also works independently outside Sankai Juku. In 1988 he created “Fushi” on the invitation ofJacob's Pillow Foundation, in the U.S., with music by Philip Glass. In 1989, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Spiral Hall in Tokyo where he directed “Apocalypse” (1989), and “Fifth-V” (1990).

In February 1997, he directed “Bluebeard's Castle” by Bartok conducted by Peter Eotvos at Tokyo International Forum. In March  1998, at Opera National de Lyon, France, he directed Peter EOTVOS's  opera “Three Sisters” (world premiere), which received  “Prix du Syndicat National de la Critique, France.”
“Three Sisters” has been seen in the 2001-2002 season at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, at Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels at Opera National de Lyon, and at Wiener Festwochen 2002 in Austria. In March 2008, Amagatsu directed “Lady Sarashina,” Peter EOTVOS’s new opera at Opera National de Lyon (world premiere). “Lady Sarashina” again received “Prix du Syndicat National de la Critique, France” and it was seen in Opera Comique in February 2009 and in Teatr Wielki, Polish National Opera, in Warsaw in April 2013.

Amagatsu has also presided on the jury of International Choreographic Competition of National Academy of Dance, Italy (2011), and the Jury of the International Meeting of Dance of Bagnolet (1992). 

Awards and merits include the Purple-Ribbon Medal by the Japanese government (2011), Geijyutsu Sensho Prize (Art Encouragement Prize) by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (2004). 

Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Letters by French Cultural Ministry (1992). 

Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by French Cultural Ministry (2014).
Books include "Ushio Amagatsu, des rivages d'enfance au buto de Sankai  Juku" (Biography dictated by Kyoko Iwaki, Actes Sud, 2013, France).  "Dilogue avec la Gravite"(Actes Sud, 2000, France). 

More information :

Picq, Charles

Author, filmmaker and video artist Charles Picq (1952-2012) entered working life in the 70s through theatre and photography. A- fter resuming his studies (Maîtrise de Linguistique - Lyon ii, Maîtrise des sciences et Techniques de la Communication - grenoble iii), he then focused on video, first in the field of fine arts at the espace Lyonnais d'art Contemporain (ELAC) and with the group « Frigo », and then in dance.
   On creation of the Maison de la Danse in Lyon in 1980, he was asked to undertake a video documentation project that he has continued ever since. During the ‘80s, a decade marked in France by the explosion of contemporary dance and the development of video, he met numerous artists such as andy Degroat, Dominique Bagouet, Carolyn Carlson, régine Chopinot, susanne Linke, Joëlle Bouvier and regis Obadia, Michel Kelemenis. He worked in the creative field with installations and on-stage video, as well as in television with recorded shows, entertainment and documentaries.

His work with Dominique Bagouet (80-90) was a unique encounter. He documents his creativity, assisting with Le Crawl de Lucien and co-directing with his films Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux and 10 anges. in the 90s he became director of video development for the Maison de la Danse and worked, with the support of guy Darmet and his team, in the growing space of theatre video through several initiatives:
       - He founded a video library of dance films with free public access. This was a first for France. Continuing the video documentation of theatre performances, he organised their management and storage.
       - He promoted the creation of a video-bar and projection room, both dedicated to welcoming school pupils.
       - He started «présentations de saisons» in pictures.
       - He oversaw the DVD publication of Le tour du monde en 80 danses, a pocket video library produced by the Maison de la Danse for the educational sector.

       - He launched the series “scènes d'écran” for television and online. He undertook the video library's digital conversion and created Numeridanse.

His main documentaries are: enchaînement, Planète Bagouet, Montpellier le saut de l'ange, Carolyn Carlson, a woman of many faces, grand ecart, Mama africa, C'est pas facile, Lyon, le pas de deux d'une ville, Le Défilé, Un rêve de cirque.

He has also produced theatre films: Song, Vu d'ici (Carolyn Carlson), Tant Mieux, Tant Mieux, 10 anges, Necesito and So schnell, (Dominique Bagouet), Im bade wannen, Flut and Wandelung (Susanne Linke), Le Cabaret Latin (Karine Saporta), La danse du temps (Régine Chopinot), Nuit Blanche (Abou Lagraa), Le Témoin (Claude Brumachon), Corps est graphique (Käfig), Seule et WMD (Françoise et Dominique Dupuy), La Veillée des abysses (James Thiérrée), Agwa (Mourad Merzouki), Fuenteovejuna (Antonio Gades), Blue Lady revistied (Carolyn Carlson).

Source: Maison de la Danse de Lyon

Sankai Juku

Artistic Direction: Ushio Amagatsu

Creation: 1975

Sankai Juku was formed in 1975 by Ushio Amagatsu, who belongs to the second generation of butoh dancers, the style established by Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. Butoh is a dance form that transcended the reactions of the “post-Hiroshima” generation in Japan and which set the foundations of a radical approach to Japanese contemporary dance from the end of the 1950s. The name literally means “Workshop of the mountain and the sea” referring to the two omnipresent elements of the Japanese landscape.
Sankai Juku is an autonomous company which began staging performances in Japan in hired venues. Sankai Juku's  first major production was “Kinkan Shonen” in 1978. This revealed Amagastsu's artistic direction, which gave butoh a clearer, more transparent and cosmogonical image. The force of each expression, each movement, each momentum, reaches back to the origins of the world to offer a passionate understanding of life and death. Sankai Juku was invited to Europe for the first time in 1980. From this first physical encounter with foreign cultures, Amagatsu developed his theory of a balance between “ethnic cultures” including his own Japanese, with a kind of search for universality. For Amagatsu, butoh is not simply a formal technique or a theoretical style, but one that aims to articulate body language to find, in the very depths of the being, a shared sense, a serene universality, even if it means resorting at times to cruelty or brutality.
As a result of his annual international tours over almost thirty years, but also through workshops and master-classes run by Sankai Juku in Paris, Japan and elsewhere, Sankai Juku's characteristic style and its highly-distinctive aesthetic are known today throughout the world. They are now influencing a growing number of artists in fields as diverse as contemporary dance, theatre, painting, fashion, photography…  Apart from his work with Sankai Juku, Ushio Amagatsu has composed two pieces for western dancers in the United States and Tokyo. He has also choreographed for the Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa. He has directed Béla Bartók's “Bluebeard's Castle” in Japan and the world premières of Peter Eötvös's operas “Three Sisters” and “Lady Shrashina” at the Lyon Opéra.

Source: Maison de la Danse show program

More information


Kinkan shonen [Graine de cumquat]

Choreography : Ushio Amagatsu

Interpretation : Ushio Amagatsu, Goro Namerikawa, Keiji Morita, Yoshituki Takada, Atsushi Ogata

Stage direction : Ushio Amagatsu

Lights : Yoshio Takagi

Settings : Yoshiyuki Yamada

Technical direction : Yuji Kobayashi

Sound : Yoichiro Yoshikawa

Other collaborations : (Première en 1978 au Nihon Shobo Kaikan Hall, Japon / recréation en 2005 au Biwako hall, Siga, Japon)

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Maison de la Danse - Charles Picq, 1981

Duration : 95'

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