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“Chicago Butoh Veteran Nicole LeGette Revisits Asheville”

photograph of Nicole LeGette by Sage Solier

photograph of Nicole LeGette by Sage Solier

Press Release: Asheville Butoh Festival and Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre present . . . . . . .

What:  Chicago Butoh Veteran Nicole LeGette  returns to Asheville to collaborate with dancers, teach workshops, present rare butoh films, and a Work-In-Progress showing.

Where: BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street, downtown Asheville

When:     Sunday, November 8, 1:00 – 4:00 PM – Workshop with Nicole

Tuesday, November 10, 8:00 PM – Butoh film screening

Sunday, November 15, 1:00 – 4:00 PM – Workshop with Nicole

Tuesday, November 17, 8:00 PM – Butoh film screening

Saturday, November 21, 4:00 PM – Work-In-Progress showing

Cost:     Workshops: $50 for BOTH OR $30 for single workshop                        Films: Donation to Asheville Butoh Festival

Work-In-Progress showing:  Donation to Asheville Butoh Festival


The Legacy Butoh and Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre are proud to present the Midwest’s foremost butoh artist Nicole LeGette, to be in-residence in Asheville for the month of November. LeGette will be collaborating with local butoh dancers Julie Becton Gillum (Legacy Butoh), Sara Baird (Anemone), and Jenni Cockrell (strange daughters butoh) to create a new work to be premiered at the Asheville Butoh Festival April 7-10, 2016. On Saturday November 21, at 4:00 PM, a Work-In-Progress showing of the ongoing collaboration. This showing offers an opportunity to witness the “ma“ of butoh. The word “ma” in Japanese means the space and time between. The audience will witness the process of creation after conception and before performance.

LeGette’s accomplishments as resource, performer, teacher, curator, and producer will be employed for various activities during her time in Asheville. In addition to the creative collaboration, she will teach workshops and share rare butoh films with Asheville audiences. All events will take place at the BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street, in downtown Asheville.

Butoh originated in post-WWII Japan as an artistic reaction to the chaotic climate in the country following the war and the uneasy shift towards democratic values. Butoh dance is a postmodern movement in which formal dance technique is eschewed in favor of primal and idiosyncratic movements. Butoh was born from an amalgamation of influences including the German expressionistic dances of Mary Wigman and Harold Krautzberg, western writers Genet, Artaud and de Sade, and the artistic movements of Surrealism and Dada. Butoh uses the body brazenly, in its most corporeal state, as a battleground to attain personal, social, or political transformations. Butoh dance challenges convention and avoids definition in order to reveal the fervent beauty of the unique human spirit.

LeGette’s FERTILE SOIL workshops will take place on consecutive Sundays, November 8 and 15, 1:00-4:00 PM. No prior experience in butoh, dance, or performing-arts is necessary. These workshops are appropriate for curious people who wish to explore and express through their bodies in both free-form and structured creative exercises. They are also suitable for performers and those wishing to thoroughly challenge themselves. Cost for one workshop is $30; you can take BOTH workshops for $50.

The workshop on November 8 entitled  ‘body, body, body, flesh” investigates different conceptions of the ‘body’ and how butoh training techniques push, pull and expand the very act of manifesting embodiment. On November 15 workshop participants will delve into the “Serious Play of Butoh.” In traversing butoh’s territory of the grotesque we will navigate the tricky terrain between silly and sublime, finding the best of butoh in the playfulness of the conjoined twindom: how to be deeply serious while at the same time equally inhabiting the opposite.

On Tuesdays November 10 and 17, at 8:00 PM, rare butoh videos drawn from Nicole LeGette’s private collection will be shown. We will gather to view and discuss the art of butoh dance. This is an opportunity to see some of the Japanese pioneers of butoh in their prime, as well as more contemporary butoh work. Suggested donation $5.

LeGette is no stranger to Asheville; she performed and taught a workshop for the 2012 Asheville Butoh Festival. In 2003, LeGette established “blushing poppy” production and performance company. Her performance – in ensemble, collaboration and solo – has been presented across the US, Mexico, Japan, and Indonesia. In Chicago, she hosts regional, national and international butoh artists through innovative events and partnerships.






6-Week Introduction to Butoh

photograph by Sandee Johnson

photograph by Sandee Johnson


For those of you who can’t make Sunday Butoh Practice, how about something completely different!

WHAT: 6-Week Introductory Course in Butoh ~ ALL LEVELS ARE WELCOME!

INSTIGATOR: Julie B Gillum of Legacy Butoh,,, 828 683 1377

DATES: Mondays – October 5, 12, 19, 26, November 2, & 9

TIME: 6:30 – 8:30 PM

PLACE: French Broad Studios, 475 Fletcher Martin Road, Alexander, NC 28701,

COST: $15 per week or $60 for the full 6-Week course

The course will introduce some basic butoh concepts and exercises, along with their roots within the legacy of butoh, as I have learned from my mentors. Ideas include:
* Presence. Practicing one’s own existence in space and time; carrying one´s own body weight.
* Connecting the Inside with the outside while developing a sense of the subtlety and delicacy of space and time between.
* The desublimated body [We stand in between life and death.Decay is the dance of living organisms.  What is the beauty of fading out in dance?] vs the unleashed body [Movement without thinking in search of the body’s unconscious impulses.]
* Sensing. To use all ways of knowing to sense the essence of things. The power of focus in dance. The whole body has eyes.
* The empty body does not move intentionally. It is moved by something unseen.

Ongoing Butoh Training Practice


photograph by Sandee Johnson

photograph by Sandee Johnson

Ongoing Butoh Training Practice taught by Julie Becton Gillum
Sundays, 11:30 – 1:30 PM @ French Broad Studios
475 Fletcher Martin Road, Alexander, NC
Suggested Donation $20
Call Julie for more info. or about snow days: 828 683 1377
In honor of winter’s inward journey to the core of the dark cave of consciousness, our first classes will be structured around the concept of “Still Life.” We will explore the relationship between layers of the body from the interior core through bone, muscle, and skin outward into the exterior forces at work on our flesh. We will develop techniques and qualities of body action and inaction.




Vangeline Theater- Yi Chun Wu






9th Annual Asheville Butoh Festival

Legacy Butoh, in partnership with the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre, will present the 9th Annual Asheville Butoh Festival on Thursday, September 18 through Monday, September 22 at the BeBe Theatre in downtown Asheville.
The Festival, under the artistic direction of Julie Becton Gillum, will feature internationally renowned butoh choreographer and dancer Vangeline, along with solo works by Asheville dancers Jenni Cockrell, Susan Collard, Amy Hamilton, Megan Ransmeir, and Julia Taylor. Ticketed performances and workshops open to dancers of all skill levels will be offered.

“We’re so fortunate to have Vangeline as the featured artist in the Asheville Butoh Festival this year,” said Julie Gillum. “Vangeline believes that Butoh can be a vehicle for collective and individual transformation in the 21st century, and I’m eager for her to share her artistic vision, her extraordinary choreographic skills, and her mesmerizing performances, with Asheville dancers and audiences.”

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.


Photography by Michael Blase

Photography by Michael Blase

3 WORKSHOP DISCOUNT – $75 – If you sign up for all 3 workshops by September 15!

9th Annual Asheville Butoh Festival Schedule of Events:

***All events take place at the BeBe theatre, 20 commerce street, Asheville
Thursday, September 18
$17 in advance; $20 at the door; Senior $12, Student $10


Friday, September 19
$17 in advance; $20 at the door; Senior $12, Student $10


Saturday, September 20
11 AM – 2 PM Butoh Workshop with Vangeline

BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street, Asheville
$17 in advance; $20 at the door; Senior $12, Student $10


Sunday, September 21
11 AM – 2 PM Butoh Workshop with Vangeline
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street, Asheville, $30

BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street, Asheville
$17 in advance; $20 at the door; Senior $12, Student $10


Monday, September 22
6 – 9 PM Butoh Workshop with Vangeline
BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street, Asheville, $30


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.

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


Photography by Michael Blase

Photography by Michael Blase

Butoh Dance Workshop with Vangeline

“Butoh can lead us back to our rebellions, our private wars, our wounded selves, and through this process brings what is hidden into the light. “The process is deeply healing and transformative. Shedding various masks and layers of conditioning leads to more honesty. When we are stripped of our defenses, we can offer our best. We become capable of intimacy and humanity.” ~Vangeline

This Butoh workshop creates a supportive environment to start an individual and collective process of investigation through creative movement. Participants start a spiritual and energetic journey to express, heal and transform hidden aspects of themselves. The work incorporates Japanese Butoh techniques, guided imagery, bio-energetics, core energetics, creative movement, improvisation, release techniques, elements of Noguchi gymnastics. This unique training is an invaluable tool for dancers, actors, adult beginners, encouraging participants to open up and expand physically and energetically.

*All levels and complete beginners are welcome.


Vangeline - "Downrise" photography by Michael Blase

Vangeline – “Downrise”
photography by Michael Blase

Featured Artist: Vangeline

After 15 sold out shows at the Avignon Festival in July 2014, Vangeline is delighted to perform her solo FIFTH OF BEETHOVEN-Admiring Tatsumi Hijikata” in Asheville.

Beethoven meets Butoh as Vangeline’s performance conjures up the ghosts of two passionate giants who left us with an immeasurable legacy.

Tatsumi Hijikata’s costume worn for his last public solo performance in 1968 (is inspiration for Vangeline’s costume created by New York designer Todd Thomas (Katie Perry Prismatic Tour).


[photography by Michael Blase

[photography by Michael Blase

“Fifth of Beethoven – Admiring Tatsumi Hijikata”




Vangeline is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form Butoh. She is the Artistic Director of the Vangeline Theater (NYC), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese Butoh while carrying it into the 21st century. She was born in Bourgogne, France and moved to New York in 1993.

Vangeline’s choreographic work spans performance on stage and in film and has been performed throughout the US for the past 10 years. Her work has been heralded in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and LA Weekly to name a few. Time OUT Chicago named Vangeline’s, “one of the best Dance Visits of 2011.”

Since its inception in 2002, the Vangeline Theater has fused the post-apocalyptic vision of Butoh with the aesthetics of 21st century film noir. The Company’s unique style, which might be described as “butoh meets film noir,” is informed by Vangeline’s extensive training with Butoh Masters, including Tetsuro Fukuhara, Yoshito Ohno, Yumiko Yoshioka, Diego Pinon and Katsura Kan, as well as performing Butoh solo on stage and film.

Vangeline’s critically acclaimed choreographed works have been presented in New York at Joyce SoHo, White Wave, the New Museum, Dance Theater Workshop, PS122 Performance Space, and Abrons Arts Center. She was the recipient of a six-month artist residency at PS122 Performance Space (“New, New Stuff”); since 2006 she has received prestigious awards from the Puffin Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Asian American Arts Alliance, Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Robert Friedman Foundation.

She is the founder of the 7-year running, award-winning program “The Dream a Dream Project”, which brings Butoh dance to incarcerated men and women at correctional facilities across New York City.

Also active in film and theatre, Vangeline performed the critically acclaimed role of the ghost of Elizabeth Short (the “Black Dahlia”) in the 2011 Los Angeles production of ‘The Chanteuse and the Devil’s Muse.’ directed by David J (Bauhaus). The Los Angeles press unanimously praised her Butoh performance. THEATER IN LA selected her performance as one of the best 2011 performances in Los Angeles.

Recent film projects include a starring role alongside actors James Franco and Winona Ryder in the feature film by director Jay Anania, ‘The Letter (2012-Lionsgate). Vangeline is currently in collaboration with the Marina Abromovic Institute and Neuroscientist Suzanne Dikker, exploring the intersection of Butoh and Neuroscience.


photography by Kosuke Mori

Artistic Director: Julie Becton Gillum

photography by Kosuke Mori

@vangelinebutoh on twitter

Butoh “POWERHOUSE” Vanessa Skantz Returns to Asheville for Workshop /Performance

Vanessa Skantz

Vanessa Skantz

July 17, 2014
Press Contact: Sara Baird
PH: (646) 522-2518

Asheville dance companies Anemone Dance Theater and Legacy Butoh will collaborate to host acclaimed Butoh artist and choreographer Vanessa Skantze for an artist residency in Asheville the week of August 5-12.

Highlights of the residency include:

“Listening to the Bones: The Body as Instrument and Offering”
a movement workshop and performance open to the public

When: Saturday, August 9, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Where: Bebe Theater
20 Commerce Street
Asheville, NC 28801
Description: Creating a space of curiosity and trust while fostering intense physical/mental focus, the workshop will facilitate awareness of the concurrent structural and energetic alignment of the body; explore limits of flexibility and strength, speed and stillness, instability and ground; work in pairs to develop listening beyond the skin; and invoke imagery to be absorbed into the body–creating the offering of Butoh dance. Follow the workshop, a studio performance will feature workshop participants performing the newly created dance piece as well as Vanessa Skantze performing a solo set.

For more information or to register, email Sara Baird at or call (646)522-2518. Suggested donation is $30.

“Radiant Poison”
During her residency, Vanessa Skantze will work with professional dancers to choreograph Radiant Poison, a dance that journeys through four gardens: origins, illusion, creation, and dissolution. Radiant Poison will premiere October 25 and 26 at Grove Park in Asheville as part of UWABE – Art in the Park, a free outdoor dance series funded in part by the Asheville Area Arts Council with support from Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center.

Vanessa Skantze, a Butoh artist and teacher of yoga and dance, has performed in the U.S. and Europe for more than 20 years and is now based in Seattle. She co-founded the New Orleans sound/movement ensemble Death Posture and collaborates with renowned musicians such as Jarboe and percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani. Skantze has trained and performed with Jinen Butoh founder Atsushi Takenouchi, has created numerous ensemble works and solo pieces under the name Danse Perdue, and taught as part of Lydia Lunch’s Post-Catastrophe Collaborative.

Anemone Dance Theater, under the artistic direction of Sara Baird, is influenced by the philosophy of Japanese Butoh Dance – a theatrical poetry of opposites, absurdities and unanticipated beauty. In addition to directing her own company, Baird has performed with the Butoh Rockettes directed by Celeste Hastings, Poppo & Gogo Boys, Richard Move for the Guggenheim Museum, VH1, and the Cannes Film Festival, and has toured the U.S., South America, and Europe. In 2007, Baird was chosen by master Akira Kasai to perform at The Japan Society in NYC for his commission, Butoh America.

Legacy Butoh was founded in 2005 by Julie Becton Gillum, an icon of the Asheville dance community who previously founded three modern dance companies. Gillum has been creating, performing, and teaching dance in the US, France, Cuba and Mexico for over 40 years. Since 1998, she has created and presented major Butoh pieces at a variety of venues in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Mexico, along with producing the annual Asheville Butoh Festival. In 2009, she was awarded the prestigious Choreography Fellowship by the North Carolina Arts Council, which enabled her to travel to Japan to study with Butoh masters.

Sara Baird, Artistic Director of Anemone Dance Theater, and Julie Becton Gillum, Artistic Director of Legacy Butoh, are frequent collaborators, having choreographed and performed together at the Asheville Fringe Festival, as part of NC Stage’s Catalyst Series, at Black Mountain College Museum + Art Center’s Re-Happening, and at many Asheville street festivals.


WHAT: Butoh Dance Workshop with Nicole LeGette (No Experience Necessary)

WHEN: Friday April 25, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

WHERE: Bryson Gym, on the campus of Warren Wilson College at North entrance

COST: FREE to WWC students; Students with ID – $5; Adults and Seniors – $10-25 (sliding scale)

FOR INFORMATION: Email JULIE ; call /text 828 683 1377

photo of Nicole LeGette by Michelle Tupko

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


Come to our regular butoh practice led by Julie Becton Gillum and other practitioners of the form.

Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 – 11:30 AM,

Place: BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street, downtown Asheville

Cost: $5

For Info: or 828 683-1377


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.