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Japanese Butoh to Orange County: Sankai Juku Comes to California

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Established in 1975 and having performed in 700 cities and 40 countries since then, the Japanese butoh company Sankai Juku brings its 1998 award-winning work, Hibiki, to the Irvine Barclay theater this Saturday for a single show. Under the direction of western-trained Ushio Amagatsu, the company will present Hibiki (translates to Resonance From Far Away), accompanied by a lyrical and electronic score by Takashi Kako and Yoichiro Yoshikawa.

For the don't-know-anything-about-this viewer/reader, butoh (pronounced "boo-toe") is a form of dance created in Japan in the aftermath of WWII. It is characterized by an extremely slow movement vocabulary, hairless, near naked bodies painted white and striking imagery, often disturbing and reflective of a culture that has seen its share of catastrophe. As a counterpoint, the motifs of rebirth and the passage of time bring an elegance and emotional depth to the stage.

This company is known across the globe as being the apex of an art form that is the intersection of dance and visual imagery, often revealing an unforgettable poeticism.

Though it’s happening down the road a bit, I think it’ll be well worth the Saturday drive.

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