Unetsu, des œufs debout par curiosité
Unetsu, des œufs debout par curiosité
At the edge of a rectangular stretch of water, four Butoh dancers with alabaster bodies wrapped in silk execute a motionless and precious sabbat. Magicians from another world, they worship large suspended eggs that mirror the smooth and oblong shapes of their skulls. A long visual poem on the notion of origin, while trickles of water and sand fall from the fly system.
Butoh (dance of shadow) is a movement formed by Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata at the start of the 1960s in reaction to the secular forms of Japanese dance. In a “post-nuclear” aesthetic, nurtured by European literature (Bataille, Michaux, Artaud), it produced provocative and tortured shows in which the dancers’ bodies, as though twisted by traumatised collective memory, stigmatise the cataclysm. Several groups emerged, and Butoh received international acclaim, while in Japan it continued to be a relatively unpopular discipline. The Sankaï Juku group, founded in 1976, is part of a more aesthetic branch of this movement, associating cutting-edge scenographic techniques with the mystical themes of the ancient East.
Surce : Patrick Bossatti
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 : sankaijuku.com
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
Artistic Direction: Ushio Amagatsu
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
Unetsu, des œufs debout par curiosité
Choreography : Ushio Amagatsu
Interpretation : Sankai Juku
Production / Coproduction of the video work : Maison de la Danse de Lyon - Charles Picq, 1997
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