April Fools Butoh Festival

Dear Friends,

This is to let you know about a very exciting upcoming event in the Asheville arts community. In light of recent disasters such as in Japan, Haiti, and Pakistan, a portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to The Red Cross and Doctors without Borders. Hope you can participate.

Sincerely,
Julie Becton Gillum

Press Release for April Fools Butoh Festival

What? 3 BUTOH Performances

When? Friday & Saturday, April 1, 2, 2011 @ 7:30
Sunday April 3 @ 6:00 PM

Where? BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street, downtown Asheville

Who? Seattle Dancers: Sheri Brown, Maureen “momo” Freehill
Local Dancers: Julie B. Gillum, Sara Baird, Megan Ransmeier,
Lucas Baumann, Andrew Braddock, Melissa McKee, Jenni Cockrell

How Much? In Advance – $15 (general), $10 (Seniors, Students)
At the Door – $17, $12

***
What? 3 BUTOH Workshops

When /Who? Saturday April 2, 1:00-4:00, Julie Gillum (Asheville)
Sunday April 3, 1:00-4:00, Sheri Brown (Seattle)
Monday April 4, 6:00-9:00 -“momo” Freehill (Seattle)

Where? BeBe Theatre, New Studio Of Dance,
20 Commerce Street, downtown Asheville

How Much? $50 per single workshop
$90 for all 3 workshops (9 hours!)

Get ready for the “APRIL FOOLS BUTOH FESTIVAL” Produced by the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre and Legacy Butoh, the festival will feature guest artists Sheri Brown and Maureen “momo” Freehill from the Seattle area as well as Asheville dancers in a smorgasbord of workshops and performances at the infamous BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce Street in downtown Asheville. Performances are Friday April 1 and Saturday April 2 at 7:30 PM with a Sunday April 3 show at 6:00 PM. For tickets or information, please check out our websites at http://www.acdt.org/ and http://www.ashevillebutoh.com/ or call 828 254 2621.
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 m 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 such as 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. The “APRIL FOOLS BUTOH FESTIVAL” gives the Asheville community a rare opportunity to see a broad spectrum butoh dance performed by seasoned professionals as well as emerging artists in the field.
Sheri Brown met butoh in 2000, after 11 years of theatre and street performance and never looked back. She has studied with butoh masters Katsura Kan, Diego Pinon, Akira Kasai, Natsu Nakajima, and Yoshito Ohno to name a few. Brown collaborates with artists from all disciplines and has received numerous grants and awards for her artistic work, both regionally in the NW and internationally. Brown serves as the Artistic & Programs Director of Seattle-based DAIPANbutoh (www.daipanbutoh.com), an organization dedicated to strengthening the presence of Butoh in the Northwest, through producing performances and workshops for and by local, regional and international artists. And when she has time she tours as a solo performer and teaches butoh workshops.
Brown will perform “Ainsi Soit-Il” (“Amen“) a solo incorporating aspects of mother, father, dreams, and the subconscious. “Ainsi Soit-Il” means “Amen” or “So be it” in French. “Rivers of Industry” is work-in-progress informed by butoh-fu (movement vocabulary) created by the Vangeline Theatre in NYC, recent travel to Bangkok, and collaborative fusion with Alan Sutherland from Seattle, and Asheville’s own Megan Ransmeier, “Rivers “ will be performed by Ransmeier and Andrew Braddock.
Performing Sunday only, Maureen “momo” Freehill, is Artistic Director of MomoButoh International Dance Company; based in Seattle area, with 30 years experience as performer, educator & director of body-based practice & performance. She holds an MFA from U of Hawaii & Certifications in Yoga, Hypnotherapy & Dance Therapy. Momo danced for 5 years with Kazuo and Yoshito Ohno in Japan. Momo will perform “Flower Child” about babies, bees and her New Haven child-hood memories of protests and socio-cultural experiments during the 60s and 70s. In addition, Freehill will be joined by Sheri Brown for a duet in Sunday’s performance ONLY.
For those of you who want to learn more about the delicious enigma that is BUTOH, there are three tasty workshops offered during “April Fools Butoh Festival.” On Saturday April 2, 1:00-4:00 PM, Julie B Gillum will offer material from her recent work in Japan with Seisaku, a Yoko Ashikawa disciple. Sheri Brown’s workshop, Sunday April 3, 1:00-4:00 PM will focus on searching for the eternal presence of pure force beyond the civilizations of Capitalism, Socialism, Westernization, and Modernization. On Monday April 4, 6:00-9:00 PM, Momo’s workshop incorporates Poetry, Visual Art, Music and Dance to evoke our soul’s deepest “Callings” toward an artful Life. All of these exciting workshops taught by professionals whose total combined years of experience falls just short of 100, can be had for the same price $90 . . . or $50 for a single workshop.

www.ashevillebutoh.com
www.acdt.org

http://momobutoh.net/

Jeezard Video

Video from the ‘Jeezard’ performances around the Asheville Fringe Festival 2011

Jeezard from Julie Gillum on Vimeo.

Asheville Fringe Arts Festival 2011

It’s time to get fringey again.  I am also including some performance events outside of the itinerary listed. Hope you can make it out for the festivities.

title: “The Jeezard Medicine Shows”
created by Julie Becton Gillum in collaboration with Sara Baird and Andrew Braddock
performers: Julie Becton Gillum, Andrew Braddock, Lucas Baumann (part 3)

part 1 – “Making The Jeezard”
location – in front of Asheville Art Museum at Pack Place
time – Thursday, January 20, 2011, 6:45 PM

part 2 – “Tongues”
location – Pritchard Park
times – Friday, January 21, 2011, 5:30 PM & Saturday, January 22, 2011, 5:30 PM

part 3 – “Snakearl”
locations – Friday @ BeBe Theatre, Saturday @ Black Mountain College Museum
times – Friday, January 21, 2011, 7:15 & Saturday, January 22, 2011, 7:15 PM

part 4 – “End Of The Jeezard”
location – starting at 140-D Roberts Street and ending at 123 Roberts Street
time – 7:30 PM both nights
music: Xambuco

The Asheville Fringe Arts Festival, January 20, 21, 22, 23, 2011

This is the annual multi-day and multiple venue performing extravaganza that ask artists of all types of genres and media (theatre, movement, music, spoken word, puppetry, spectacle, whatever!) to push their own boundaries and presents original and innovative performance art to a culturally adventurous audience. Now in our ninth year, join us and explore the Fringe. Keeping the “We” in Weird for Asheville for nine years!

The festival opening night event will be at the Asheville Art Museum, Pack Place on Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. ARTmob will present Pecha Kucha Night. Pecha Kucha means “chit chat” in Japanese. The Pecha Kucha experience features a visual avalanche of images that are collected from many contributors, each image is shown for 20 seconds. Pecha Kucha is fast paced and entertaining. Tickets for this event are priced at $3 for Art Museum Members; $5 for Non-Members

Among the 2011 Fringe venues will be the official Fringe box office and headquarters, the BeBe Theatre on Commerce Street. Featured in the shows at the BeBe will be Brooklyn’s Mari Meade Dance Collective. Led by choreographer Mari Meade Montoya, the company will perform “questions and unfinished sentences” a multi-media movement exploration of people’s life questions. Also performing at the BeBe is Taryn Packheiser from Greensboro, Taryn be will performing a solo multi-media piece entitled “Stag Unassisted.” Also featured are funny and strange videos by Kathleen Hahn and beloved local comedy sketch group, the Feral Chihuahuas and a profound shadow puppet piece by Red Herring Puppets, Lisa Struz.

At the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center on Broadway Street, there will be audio arts, experimental music and performance art for 2 nights (January 21 and 22, 2011). Musicians and composers such as Vincent Wrenn and Elisa Faires will premiere and showcase new music and ambient sounds along with digital visual artist Jason Scott Furr’s multimedia explorations. Featured at BMCM+AC will be AV Dance from Richmond, VA, led by artistic director, Ashley Valo, AVDance will perform “Tailed II” a movement piece that explores clothing and improvisation. Also premiering is “The Next Dog King” a theatrical performance collaboration from Jim Julien and composer Chandra Sukula with veterinarian Dr. Mark Ledyard that focuses on a young dog’s rise to power within a dog pack. Amanda Levesque and Tom Kilby of Interweave will perform an unique improvisational movement piece.

In the River Arts District, local dance company Moving Women and artist Shelley Pereda are collaborating on an installation and movement piece. Fringe performances by Runaway Circus, butoh dance priestess Julie Becton Gillum and dancer Amy Hamilton will be featured in a studio in the Wedge Building. Also, performances by multimedia artists, Stina Andersen and Marston Blow along with exotic dance performance by Dima.

An addition to the performances over the weekend is Saturday Fringe Ed Classes at Terpsicorps Dance Studio in the Wedge Building on Roberts Street. Among the class offerings are an intense Master Class with Mari Mead Dance Collective and theatre improvisation class with local imrov master, Mondy Carter along with movement improvisation with Kathy Meyers of Moving Women.

Artist performance schedules are subject to change and acts of gods and humans.

The Asheville FringeArts Festival is an annual presentation of the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre.

The Asheville FringeArts Festival is recommended for mature audiences only.

Tickets for the individual shows at the BeBe Theatre, BMCM+AC and the River Arts District are $12.00, $10.00 students/seniors. An all-access Fringe Freak Pass is available for $25.00.

Individual show Tickets and Fringe Freak All Access Passes will be available in January, 2011 at the BeBe Theatre, 20 Commerce St. Asheville, NC   Box Office Phone; 828 254-2621

Find out more at www.ashevillefringe.org

Jim Julien
Asheville Fringe Arts Festival
www.ashevillefringe.org
work phone: 828-255-1900

Our Mission–”The Asheville Fringe Arts Festival provides artists with opportunities to explore the edges of their work, to collaborate across genres and to bring new and innovative performances to culturally adventurous audiences.”

Boulder Butoh Festival

Julie has been invited to perform in the first annual Boulder Butoh Festival. Here is the link:

www.boulderbutohfestival.com

Check it out.

Butoh Garden Party

When: Saturday, October 2, 2010
Where: 104 Flint Street, Asheville

Come enjoy live performances with dancers and musicians Julie Becton Gillum, Erik Moellering, Julia Taylor, Elisa Faires, and Chandra Shukla

Join us for a glass of wine and live music and dance in the gardens. Suggested donation is $20/pay what you can.

All proceeds benefit Anemone Dance Theater and Legacy Butoh for the production of Yugen at the NC Stage Company’s Catalyst Series June 23-July 2 2011.

Please bring your friends. We hope you will join us!

Call Sara Baird/Anemone Dance Theater with any questions, 646.522-2518.
More information: www.anemonedance.org www.ashevillebutoh.com

Julie’s new vimeo chanel

Check out videos of some of Julie’s performances now online at vimeo:
http://vimeo.com/ashevillebutoh

More updates and video coming soon.

20081010-butap from Julie Gillum on Vimeo.

BUTOH DANCE WORKSHOP

What: Butoh Dance Workshop
When: Saturday, November 21, 1:00 – 4:00
Where: Bryson Gym, Warren Wilson College
Who: Taught by Julie Becton Gillum
Cost: $30.00
Contact: Julie Becton Gillum, email: jbgbutoh@gmail.com,
Telephone: (828)683-1377
“Create the form and the soul will follow.” Tatsumi Hijikata (founder of
butoh)
“Follow your heart and the form will reveal itself.” Kazuo Ohno (founder
of butoh)
Butoh 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 physical energy to come into being. Butoh has revolutionized what dance is and can
be. It ‘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.
Biography of Julie Becton Gillum: Julie Gillum has been creating, performing and teaching dance in
the US and internationally 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 1997. 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 2008-09 NC Choreography Fellowship and used the funds to go
to Japan this past summer to study butoh at the source.
During her three month stay in Japan, Gillum studied primarily with Yoshito Ohno, son of Kazuo Ohno.
She also studied extensively with Natsu Nakajima, a disciple of Hijikata during the early days of butoh.
In addition she took weekly classes with Seisaku, who danced with Yoko Ashikawa, Hijikata’s first
female dancer. Gillum also took intensive workshops and performed with internationally renowned
butoh companies, Dairakudakan and Sankai Juku. The November workshop will delve into new material
learned in Japan this past summer.What: Butoh Dance Workshop
When: Saturday, November 21, 1:00 – 4:00
Where: Bryson Gym, Warren Wilson College
Who: Taught by Julie Becton Gillum
Cost: $30.00
Contact: Julie Becton Gillum, email: jbgbutoh@gmail.com,
Telephone: (828)683-1377
“Create the form and the soul will follow.” Tatsumi Hijikata (founder of
butoh)
“Follow your heart and the form will reveal itself.” Kazuo Ohno (founder
of butoh)
Butoh 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 physical energy to come into being. Butoh has revolutionized what dance is and can
be. It ‘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.
Biography of Julie Becton Gillum: Julie Gillum has been creating, performing and teaching dance in
the US and internationally 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 1997. 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 2008-09 NC Choreography Fellowship and used the funds to go
to Japan this past summer to study butoh at the source.
During her three month stay in Japan, Gillum studied primarily with Yoshito Ohno, son of Kazuo Ohno.
She also studied extensively with Natsu Nakajima, a disciple of Hijikata during the early days of butoh.
In addition she took weekly classes with Seisaku, who danced with Yoko Ashikawa, Hijikata’s first
female dancer. Gillum also took intensive workshops and performed with internationally renowned
butoh companies, Dairakudakan and Sankai Juku. The November workshop will delve into new material

learned in Japan this past summer.

Here is the info about my upcoming workshop. Please let your friends know about this opportunity and feel free to contact me with any questions you have. Hope you can come!

What: Butoh Dance Workshop

When: Saturday, November 21, 1:00 – 4:00

Where: Bryson Gym, Warren Wilson College

Who: Taught by Julie Becton Gillum

Cost: $30.00 (FREE FOR WWC STUDENTS)

Contact: Julie Becton Gillum, email: jbgbutoh@gmail.com,

Telephone: (828)683-1377

“Create the form and the soul will follow.” Tatsumi Hijikata (founder of butoh)

“Follow your heart and the form will reveal itself.” Kazuo Ohno (founder of butoh)

Butoh 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 physical energy to come into being. Butoh has revolutionized what dance is and can be. It ‘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.

Biography of Julie Becton Gillum: Julie Gillum has been creating, performing and teaching dance in the US and internationally 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 1997. 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 2008-09 NC Choreography Fellowship and used the funds to go to Japan this past summer to study butoh at the source.

During her three month stay in Japan, Gillum studied primarily with Yoshito Ohno, son of Kazuo Ohno. She also studied extensively with Natsu Nakajima, a disciple of Hijikata during the early days of butoh. In addition she took weekly classes with Seisaku, who danced with Yoko Ashikawa, Hijikata’s first female dancer. Gillum also took intensive workshops and performed with internationally renowned butoh companies, Dairakudakan and Sankai Juku. The November workshop will delve into new material she learned in Japan this past summer.

Last Week in Japan

This is officially my last week in Japan. When I first arrived this seemed like a very foreign place. Now that I have been here for a while and contemplating a return to the good ole US of A, Japan feel like home and the US seems like some alien world full of ghosts and strangers.

I hope that is not the case! I really do look forward to getting back to being an artist and disseminating the inspiration I have received here. I feel like a sponge that has soaked up all it can and needs to be wrung out.  Well not really wrung out just squeezed gently!

I have gained so much from this experience. The workshops, classes and performances have been at the core, and through the butoh connection I have met fascinating new friends, been inspired by brilliant teachers, luxuriated in exquisite performance and even had time to enjoy a few amazing sights along the way.

I feel I have only touched the surface of the butoh opportunities that are here — I am just now getting into the loop of finding out about performances, classes and workshops. So many teachers, performers and artists struggling to survive and even succeed.  Butoh is alive and well in Japan; it just lives underground, on the fringe, along the edges, beneath the suface where you have to dig to find it. I am glad I brought my shovel, but mostly I used my hands and feet. My fingernails are pretty dirty from the effort but I will use that grime as fodder for new growth in my home community and beyond.

I visited with Kazuo Ohno again last night. My friend Nathan left a bouquet of lillies on Kazuo’s chest when we left. This beautiful image made me cry. He was so peaceful last evening, not like the last time — Yoshito was with us and seemed to stir him up. Kazuo was singing and dancing — in his way, with the feeding tube in his nose, his beautiful hands drawn up to his chest, his glowing skin vibrating with love and life — what dance is he doing now?

Sankai Juku Workshop

Sankai Juku is known for their visually stunning, ritualistic movement style, sensually performed by only men. The workshop was taught by director Semimaru, who was the original member of the company whose work is choreographed by Amagatsu. Members of the company took class with us and performed with us during the final performance at the end of the week.

During this workshop I learned a lot about the Noguchi Taiso method of body conditioning which is used by many butoh teachers. This method defines the body as a skin bag filled with water in which float the bones, muscles and organs. Movements involve shaking, waving, floating. Spinal alignment, a central axis, relaxed shoulders, and hanging from a string are basic to Noguchi Taiso. Semimaru also uses the ideas of tension /relaxation, center of gravity, vertical /horizontal, breathing, and rhythm in this work. These exercises felt so good to my body. I plan to continue them to keep me loose and strong.

The movement material we performed was not particularly interesting and used the same quality (soft, slow, wavy) throughout.

I did not feel a strong connection with Semimaru who is not particularly warm or friendly. I felt he just wanted us to pay our money, not make too much trouble and then go quietly away.

Kyogen Workshop

I took a 10-day workshop in Kyogen, the 700-year-old comedy form of Noh theatre taught by 8 different Kyogen actors, including Manzo Nomura IX, who is a Living National Treasure.  The form blends ancient techniques of Chinese and Japanese theatre. There is no book for teaching Noh and Kyogen. It is handed down by experienced actors and learned through imitation. Children begin learning at 3 or 4 in a 5-minute lesson. Each day 2 minutes are added to the lesson. The first role given to a child is that of a monkey. The role is quite a difficult one because the player must wear a mask which limits breathing and visibility.  During one of our sessions we put on the masks and moved around on the stage which proved to be quite challenging. The wearing of masks in Nom and Kyogen symbolizes the embodiment of the gods.

The workshop was from 10 – 5 every day and at the end we presented a performance to an audience. This was the most difficult work I have ever attempted! Dance and theatre have been challenging for me but I also felt that I had some talent or gift for it. This workshop showed me my weaknesses and really put me in my place.

There were 6 gaijin (foreigners), 2 from the US, 1 director from the UK, 1 director from Germany as well as a French director and dancer who was his wife.  The rest of the participants were Japanese dancers and actors. We were allowed to choose what we wanted to learn. I wanted a challenge so I chose to take on a small role (in Japanese) in one of the plays. All of the other gaijin chose to learn songs and dances which is actually the first step in learning how to be a Kyogen performer. I spent hours and hours outside of workshop time just trying to learn the lines, which are written in 600-year-old Japanese which is even difficult for modern Japanese speakers. The instructor and I decided that it was truly impossible for me to experience success in this role.

So then I began to try to catch up with my other colleagues who were well on their way to learning 2 songs and the fan dances that went with them. Again I spent many hours learning ancient Japanese words, strange melodies and how to move and manipulate a fan while wearing a tight kimono. I did eventually feel confidence in performing these dances and songs. The performance was terrifying but ended up being quite successful. I was most impressed by my Japanese friends’ performances in this completely unrealistic, extremely challenging form.

Another small role we all had was to perform as mushrooms, where we scurried around on the balls of our feet with our butts on our heels, very close to the floor and then squatted in stillness on our knees. This was very difficult.

Another small role we all had was to perform as mushrooms, where we scurried around on the balls of our feet with our butts on our heels, very close to the floor and then squatted in stillness on our knees. This was very difficult!

The Noh stage is designed with concepts from the Shinto religion in mind. All aspects of human life are included. The actors enter from the west, like ghosts travelling down a bridge from the past to the present to share a story. The audience sits in the south, highest point of the sun, the position of the gods. There is a small door on the eastern side signifying rebirth and transformation. This is the entrance for the assistants, played by high ranking actors who help with onstage costume and prop changes. Big lives come from small doors.  Upon entering the actors must bend low and step through from darkness into the light, birth into the Kyogen world. The north side is where the musicians sit. This is the dark shadow side into which the audience sees. The music (drums, flute and voice) is a significant part of the story, keeping the rhythm, reflecting the inner life of the characters as well as sound effects. There is a pine tree painted on the back wall, whose evergreen nature signifies all seasons. The three pine trees in front of the bridge where the actors enter are small, medium and tall to give perspective. A moat filled with small white stones surrounds the stage, both to include the element light and to illuminate the actors. Underneath the wooden stage huge earthenware pots are arranged to add resonance for voices and foot stamping in the dances. The columns are named for 1st , 2nd, and 3rd actors and signify their positions on the stage. The 4th column is called “metsuke” or eye-fixing column and is used for mask navigation.

Noh drama was created to entertain the upper classes and Kyogen is for lower social classes. The costumes for Noh and Kyogen are basically the same. High-class characters wear long “hakima” (pants) which drag the ground always striped to symbolize stability. Lower class characters, servants and such wear short hakima always plaid. The long pants signify that these characters don’t have to do as much movement as their lower ranking associates. Actors must practice manipulating and moving these enormous pantlegs, not to mention sleeves. swords, and the fans, which are used to represent pantomimed props. All Kyogen characters, whether high or low class wear the symbol of the dandelion on their costumes, symbolizing the toughness and stubbornness of the common people who will always endure. High class characters use real swords rather than fans which are used by the lower class counterparts.

The “Maku” (curtain) which is raised by 2 bamboo poles for the slow “suriashi” (sliding walk) entrances of the actors contains 5 colors suggestive of the 5 elements of human life: 1) Green – nature, 2) Yellow – metal for tools, 3) Red – fire for heat. 4) White – water, 5) Purple – earth. These symbols come from Taoist and Buddhist  philosophies.

Noh and Kyogen use exaggerated movement and voice because they were originally performed in outside gardens where the audience was farther away than in the more focused concentrated area of the Noh theatre. My personal belief is that, as ghosts from the past returning to earth to tell stories, these characters have forgotten how to be human and therefore must present themselves as best they can, from memories of what it was like to be in the world. The style also relates to samurai ideals of a kind of sadistic stoicism, keeping death in mind there is no time to relax; you must behave with focused, patient tension. Kyogen and Noh are like life, difficult and painful; you must endure, hold and build the tension until the release at the end.

Use of the voice is probably the most significant aspect of Noh and Kyogen. They told us to speak like we are singing, with the vocal current flowing like a river over stones. The actors exchange breath with eachother as they speak.

I have seen four different Noh /Kyogen performances. This workshop has given me such insight into this fascinating theatre form. Each time I witness a performance  I enjoy it more and feel that I gained so much understanding from the workshop. Thank you International Theatre Institute.