Monthly Archives: April 2013

8th Asheville Butoh Festival WORKSHOP INFORMATION

Jenni Cockrell


BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street

This years festival will offer four exciting workshops for you to really get yourself satiated with the expressive art of butoh. Each workshop is designed for all levels of experience so spring into action and bring butoh into your body and life.


WHEN: Friday April 26, 10 AM-1PM

TAUGHT BY: Maureen “momo” Freehill


WHEN: Saturday April 27, 12 PM – 3 PM

TITLE: “One Drop”

TAUGHT BY: Keiko Hashimoto

DESCRIPTION: This class will explore the following questions:

How can we connect the unchanging and the ever-changing in our life?                            How can we bring one drop of life to the big river?

Through the human body, using exercises in space like walking, standing, levels, qualities of strength and delicacy, we will discover “space flower” or “stone back”. This workshop will connect to Friday’s workshop with momo, in that both these teachers’ primary mentor was butoh c0-founder Kazuo Ohno.


WHEN: Sunday April 28, 12 – 3 PM

TAUGHT BY: Florence Poulain and Bob Lyness

TITLE: “Collective Consciousness at Play”

DESCRIPTION: In the tradition of butoh master Diego Pinon, this workshop will focus on exploring states of mind and attitudes, ranging from the subtle to the grotesque, through individual and interactive explorations. In this process of self-discovery we will connect with one another,  cultivating a supportive energetic exchange.


TITLE: “Dance and the Archetypal Symbol: An Improvisational Butoh Workshop”

DESCRIPTION: This improvisational, Butoh inspired class will explore the question “How does the soul experience image and archetype?”  Through Butoh exercises and improvisation, we will delve into symbols and images, exploring them as vital seeds for dance, performance and the human experience.

TAUGHT BY: Jenni Cockrell

WHEN: Monday April 29, 6 – 9 PM


Keiko Hashimoto
photography by Stanka Usha Tsonkova

P R E S S  R E L E A S E


CONTACT: Julie Becton Gillum, 828-683-1377 /

Legacy Butoh, in partnership with the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre, will present the 8th Asheville Butoh Festival on Thursday, April 25 through Monday, April 29 at the BeBe Theatre and other venues in downtown Asheville. The Festival, under the artistic direction of Julie Becton Gillum, will feature both local and international dancers and will include ticketed performances and workshops, along with several free outdoor events.
The unique art of butoh originated in post-World War II Japan as a reaction to the loss of identity caused by the westernization of Japanese culture, as well as a realization that ancient Japanese performing traditions no longer spoke to a contemporary audience. One of the major developments in contemporary dance in the latter half of the 20th century, butoh combines dance, theater, improvisation and influences of Japanese traditional performing arts to create a unique performing art form that is both controversial and universal in its expression. Hallmarks of butoh include white painted faces and bodies, very slow and controlled movement, and contorted postures. The dances are often based on themes of nature and evoke images of decay and resurrection, of fear and desperation, and of eroticism, ecstasy and stillness.
“Butoh is a wonderful art form for dancers of every discipline to experience and learn, but it’s also great for actors and other performing artists,” said Susan Collard, Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre co-artistic director and the co-producer of the annual butoh festivals. “We’re proud to give our community the opportunity to interact with some of the butoh world’s most accomplished artists.”

Julie Becton Gillum

photography by Reiner Doost

The 8th Asheville Butoh Festival is directed by the acclaimed 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. She currently teaches modern dance, musical theatre, performance art and butoh at Warren Wilson College. 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 several renowned butoh masters.
“Butoh is a natural for Asheville because we have so many adventurous spirits here,” said Gillum. “Interest has definitely been building for audiences and artists alike. In fact, I fielded so many requests to participate in this year’s Festival that I had to turn some dancers away.” Gillum is particularly excited about the four free outdoor performances occurring throughout the Festival. “The free concerts are our way of giving more people an entry point into butoh so they can see that it’s not intimidating or esoteric,” she said. “Butoh is actually the opposite of esoteric; it’s simply the body speaking for itself. The butoh workshops are also an entry point, as they are open to anyone 18 years or older regardless of their movement experience. Participants should wear comfortable clothes and come with an open mind.”

"sky reach"

photography by Esneiver Keko Zorrilla

The internationally acclaimed Japanese actor /dancer Keiko Hashimoto experiments with using the “body as subject” through voice, movement, and theater. She studied and performed with Kazuo Ohno and his son Yoshito Ohno, the originators of the butoh movement, and went on to receive numerous grants for her performance work in the US, Japan, Paraguay, and Brazil.

Maureen “momo” Freehill is Artistic Director of the MomoButoh International Dance Company, based in the Seattle area. She has 30 years experience as a performer, educator and director of body-based practice and performance, and danced  for five years with Kazuo and Yoshito Ohno in Japan.

Bob Lyness, who hails from Washington, DC, has studied butoh with Diego Pinon and Yoshito Ohno, his main mentor and inspiration, and has performed with various Butoh artists in Japan, Hawaii, New York, England and Mexico.

Florence Poulain, Born in the Loire Valley, France now resides in New York City. A professional photographer, Florence’s mentor is Diego Pinon. Florence presently co-directs Deep Tanks Studio an art /performance space on Staten Island.

Local butoh performers include Jenni Cockrell, Lucas Baumann, Sara Baird, Melissa McKee, Monika Gross, Giles Collard, Julie Becton Gillum, Valeria Watson-Doost, and Brit Castaneda. There will also be a “Sound Installation by CILLA VEE LIFE ARTS”.

Florence Poulain

photography by Kristopher Johnson



Thursday, April 25

5:00 PM “Black White Les Butoh” Valeria Watson-Doost, Brit Castaneda, and others
Pack Square Park
FREE, no tickets required
(Check for updates)

8:00 PM “Uninvited Guests” a concert featuring local butoh dancers
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street.
$15 in advance; $17 at the door; Senior $12, Student $10

Friday, April 26 10:00 AM -1:00 PM Workshop with Maureen “momo” Freehill
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street
$25 in advance; $30 at the door

5:00 PM “Butoh Tarot” by Jenni Cockrell
Vance Monument
FREE, no tickets required

8:00 PM “Uninvited Guests” a concert featuring Keiko Hashimoto, Florence Poulain, Bob Lynnes, Maureen “momo” Freehill, and local dancers
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street
$15 in advance; $17 at the door; Senior $12, Student $10

Saturday, April 27

12 noon – 3:00 PM Workshop with Keiko Hashimoto
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street
$25 in advance; $30 at the door

5:00 PM Performance of “Oracle of the Snake” by Maureen “momo” Freehill
Pritchard Park
FREE, no tickets required

8:00 PM “Uninvited Guests” a concert featuring Keiko Hashimoto, Florence Poulain, Bob Lynnes, Maureen “momo” Freehill, and local dancers
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street
$15 in advance; $17 at the door; Senior $12, Student $10
Sunday, April 28

12 noon – 3:00 PM “Collective Consciousness at Play” a workshop with Florence Poulain
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street
$25 in advance; $30 at the door

5:00 PM “Toothwort” by Melissa Mckee
Skully’s courtyard on Lexington Avenue
– FREE, no tickets required

8:00 PM “Uninvited Guests” a concert featuring Keiko Hashimoto, Florence Poulain, Bob Lynnes, Maureen “momo” Freehill, and local dancers
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street
$15 in advance; $17 at the door; Senior $12, Student $10

Monday, April 29

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM “Dance and the Archetypal Symbol: An Improvisational Butoh Workshop” by Jenni Cockrell
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street
$25 in advance; $30 at the door

Advance and door tickets for all Festival performances and workshops may be purchased in person at the BeBe Theatre, located at 20 Commerce Street in downtown Asheville, or by calling the box office at 828-254-2621. Discounted advance tickets must be purchased by April 24.

For updated information on the Festival schedule, artists, and workshops visit For ticket information and box office hours, visit or call 828-254-2621.

Florence Poulain

photography by Kristopher Johnson

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