Butoh Roots

David Jumping Over Wall, "Cairn" photo by JBGButoh History: Originating in post WWII Japan, Butoh dance is a postmodern movement in which formal dance technique is eschewed in favor of primal and idiosyncratic styles that transform the human body and allow raw primal energies to come into being. Butoh is one of the major developments in contemporary dance in the later half of the 20th century. It has revolutionized what dance is and can be. Butoh’s influence on today’s dance world equals that of Martha Graham or Merce Cunningham. Butoh is an attempt to create new forms of movement and expression. Butoh uses the body brazenly, in its most corporal state, as a battleground to attain personal, social, or political transformation. It searches for the dance that pushes buttons, steps on toes and slips between the cracks of definition in order to reveal the fervent beauty of the unique human spirit.

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About Julie

The Asheville Butoh Festival is directed by the Asheville area butoh dancer, choreographer, and teacher Julie Becton Gillum. As founder of three modern dance companies, and ultimately Legacy Butoh, Gillum has been creating, performing and teaching dance in the US, France, Cuba and Mexico for over 40 years. Gillum’s primary form of artistic expression has become butoh, which she has been practicing, performing, and teaching since 1998. She has created and presented major pieces in the genre at a variety of venues in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Mexico. Gillum was awarded the prestigious 2009 Choreography Fellowship by the North Carolina Arts Council, which enabled her to travel to Japan to study with renowned butoh masters Yoshito Ohno, Natsu Nakajima, Akaji Maru, and Seisaku.