The Asheville Butoh Festival will host three exciting workshops by butoh artists: Vanessa Skantz of Danse Perdue from Seattle, Chicago dancer Nicole LeGette of Blushing Poppy Productions, and Monika Gross, a recent transplant to Asheville from NYC. Classes are open to all – no previous dance or butoh experience required. All workshops are $25 if registered before June 15; $30 on the day of the workshop.

“Deep Listening”

Ankoku Butoh Workshop with Vanessa Skantz

Saturday, June 16, 1 – 4 PM

BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street

"The Mona Lisa"Vanessa’s workshops are dedicated to creating a shared space of curiosity and trust while fostering intense physical/mental focus. The body in crisis of Butoh differs from a body that moves habitually. Its total existence is compelling. By witnessing  the simplest of movement:- crawling, rising, walking, falling-displays the naked immediacy of the natural world. Tree, stone, animal, water- embracing these energies re-connects the human body to the world beyond its skin and to the evolution of life within its own cells.

Workshop goals are:

– Communion with the breath

– Rigorous and rhythmic physical work, exploring limits of flexibility and strength, speed and stillness, lightness and weight, and the edge of balance

Listening to the bones, understanding anatomical and energetic structure as one source

– Employing the instrument of the body with its spirals, waves, folds and twists

– Working with sound/voice to develop listening skills

Honing “deep listening” skills through partner work involving direct touch, echoing, and the practice of being moved, being danced.

– Listening to the dance being born inside, seeking the unknown, allowing the world to be created anew at each moment

These elements are tools to create an empathetic bridge of our bodies. We strive for a dance in which we sacrifice our energy in recognition of the intense life that brought about who we are in this moment. To make this dance we must become, in the words of Antonin Artaud,” acrobats of the heart” as well as technicians of the physical body.

As these body practices are honed, we place imagery into the body to become other, and make the leap into transformation-a kind of willed possession in which the dancer viscerally draws other into his body.  How to find the raw feeling of the flower breaking through the earth, sucking at the sun, rather than the ideal?

Butoh Workshop by Nicole LeGette

Sunday June 17, 1 – 4 PM

BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street

Taxonomy of Transformation”

Transformation is one of the salient and radical aspects of butoh. The dance itself is found within the very act of transformation. Yet oftentimes, the detailed process of transmutation, this deliberate transit of the transition, is overlooked, not crafted. A certain indulgent sameness results, with focus on A and B rather than the space the lies between A-B.  In this workshop we will identify and investigate specific techniques that bring renewed attention to and encourage detailed crafting of the dance of transformation.

“The Continuity of Becoming” by Monika Gross,

Monday June 18, 6 – 9 PM

BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street

This workshop offers simple principles of the Alexander Technique as a way into the butoh dancer’s imaginative process of continuous conscious transformation:  A widened awareness of infinite Time and Space. An undivided perception of Self. Giving consent to being “danced.” Moving with curiosity and confidence from the Known into the Unknown. Falling upward. Rising downward. Slipping effortlessly into the Between Space of endless possibility.

Monika Gross is a Senior Teacher of the Alexander Technique, teaching sine 1985. She has a BFA in Drama from the NC School of the Arts and has trained in butoh over the past ten years with such teachers as Akira Kasai, Tadashi Endo, Yukio Waguri, and Atsushi Takenouchi.

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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.