2016 / Los Angeles Downtown’s REDCAT to present Japan’s Butoh stage, Oct. 7, 8, 9



REDCAT or Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts (California Institute of the Art) Theater

Japan’s Takao Kawaguchi Acclaimed work
About Kazuo Ohno – Reliving the Butoh Diva’s Masterpieces
Friday, October 7 to Sunday, October 9, 2016

Aout Kasuo Ohno trailer:  https://vimeo.com/166749437

REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts, presents the acclaimed Japanese performer Takao Kawaguchi new dance production About Kazuo Ohno – Reliving the Butoh Diva’s Masterpieces from Friday, October 7 to Sunday October 9, 2016.

Friday, Oct. 7, 8:30 pm, General $20, Member & Students $16
Saturday, Oct 8, 8:30 pm, General $25, Member & Students $20
Sunday, Oct. 9, 5:00 pm, General $25, Member & Students $20

Call the REDCAT box office to purchase at 213-237-2800.
More info and ticker link: https://www.redcat.org/event/takao-kawaguchi-japan-about-kazuo-ohno

Kawaguchi, who first came to REDCAT with the Tokyo-based collective Dumb Type, reimagines legendary works by revered Butoh dance master Kazuo Ohno in an original production that prompted both excitement and commotion in the Tokyo cultural scene.

Kawaguchi, one of Japan’s most sought-after dancers, challenged himself to literally “copy” the dances of the late Butoh master and co-founder Kazuo Ohno, from archival recordings.

What results is a hauntingly beautiful illusory duet between Kawaguchi and Ohno.

Presented just weeks before what would have been Ohno’s 110th birthday, About Kazuo Ohno attempts to reconstruct Ohno’s timeless masterpieces, including Admiring La Argentina, (1977) and My Mother, (1981), phrase by phrase.

Any interpretation of the inimitable work of Kazuo Ohno requires the performer to suspend his personal beliefs and interpretation, in order to project his body onto the forms and contours of the aged dancer as precisely as possible.

The result is a copy that is in itself an original, a choreography created by Kawaguchi with the illusory image of Ohno, one of the most honored artists in dance history.

“An emotional cataclysm, a dream-like form that detaches Takao Kawaguchi from his own body as a result of a metamorphosis.” – RTBF Radio/TV

Takao Kawaguchi Artist Statement

I never watched Kazuo Ohno dance on stage, not while he was alive. But now I see him in photographs and videos. Its always very beautiful, and though I cannot explain it well, I feel a certain affinity for the twists and undulations of his movements.

It even feels sensual. Maybe I have a similar quality within me?

In this performance entitled About Kazuo Ohno I set myself the task of literally “copying” the dance of the butoh master from video recordings of the premiere performances of Ohnos early masterpieces including Admiring La Argentina (1977), My Mother (1981), and Dead Sea, Ghost, Wienerwaltz (1985).

Usually characterized as largely improvisational, Ohnos dance is unique not only for his age but also for the distinctive features of his body and movements, which are essential to his dance. An attempt to copy his dance as it is, no more no less, means nothing but to suspend whatever interpretation the copier may have as well as his own beliefs, and to project himself onto the forms and shapes of the old dancer as exactly as possible.

The closer it gets, however, the clearer the gap becomes, minimum but inevitable no matter how hard the copier tries to diminish it. The paradox here is that this very gap, nonetheless, highlights the very distinct characteristics of the copier. The copy becomes original. 

The viewer layers the reminiscence of Kazuo Ohno onto my body, and those who dont know Ohnos dance, their imagination of it. The multiple images of Ohno and myself merge, surface and recede in turn. About Kazuo Ohno is, in a sense, a duet I dance with the illusory image of Kazuo Ohno. -Takao Kawaguchi


Choreography: Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata
Dance: Takao Kawaguchi
Dramaturge, Visuals and Sound: Naoto Iina
Costumes: Noriko Kitamura
Lighting: Toshio Mizohata
Company Management Toshio Mizohata (CANTA Ltd.)
Archival materials courtesy of Kazuo Ohno dance Studio, CANTA Ltd.

Tour produced and organized by Japan Society, New York and supported by The Japan Foundation Performing Arts JAPAN Program and the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan.