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Butoh, Bodies, and Being


This essay argues for a fluid view of the Japanese avant-garde dance form. Just as butoh resists fixity, this essay is a pastiche of perspectives constituting multiple interpretations of butoh rather than a singular explanation. Through a consideration of Judith Hamera’s 1990 essay “Butoh, Ma, and a Crosscultural Gaze,” coupled with recent popular attention to the form, historical narratives of the Japanese avant-garde and butoh, personal narrative, and reflections provided by butoh performers, this essay opens up alternative ways for thinking about dance practices, and butoh specifically, in performance studies.