Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-1871
  • E-ISSN: 1757-188X



Once relatively unknown outside of Japan, today butoh is gaining recognition as a movement training and performance genre. In English-language literature it is frequently characterized as ‘somatic’. What kind of somatics does butoh propose? To answer this question, this article places butoh within a larger historical framework of dance and western somatics, noting shared values and points of conflict. The research draws from the author’s co-taught community class in San Francisco to identify several aspects of what the author calls ‘butoh-based somatics’: practice as self-training, choreographic forces and performance attention. The article concludes by posing that to understand butoh’s subversive appeal for dancers and others seeking social change, the practice must be adapted and kept in dialogue with specific locations and contexts.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): butoh; choreography; dance; Japanese; performance; San Francisco; somatics; training
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