Ushio Amagatsu, éléments de doctrine
In Japan, white is the color of mourning. The butoh dancers smear the white powder body and the poeticization of the space that characterizes the pieces of the company Sankai Juku is like an exquisite corpse, in the literal sense of the term. For Amagatsu, founder of the company, butoh dance is both life and death.
Source: Fabienne Arvers
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.
Director, Choreographer and Designer
He was 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 of Jacob'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 the opera “Bluebeard's Castle” by Bartok's opera 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).
In March 2008, Amagatsu directed “Lady Sarashina,” Peter EOTVOS’s new opera at Opera National de Lyon (world premiere), and created two pieces: « Tobari - As if in an inexhaustible flux » and « Utsushi ». His last creations are « Kara・Mi - Two Flows » (2011) and « UMUSUNA - Memories before History » (premiered at Opera de Lyon, France).
Source : Sankai Juku 's website
More information : sankaijuku.com
Labarthe, André S.
André S. Labarthe was born on December 18, 1931 in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France, as André Sylvain Labarthe. He was a director and producer. He died on March 5, 2018 in Paris, France.
Source : IMdb
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
Ushio Amagatsu, éléments de doctrine
Artistic direction / Conception
André S. Labarthe, Alain Plagne
Production / Coproduction of the video work
Art production, Arcanal, CGP