Kazuo Ohno’s Dance Philosophy


41w56Bj2l7LOn the 27th of October 1906, the Japanese Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno was born in Hakodate, Japan. A hundred years later (only four years before his death!), unable to walk or stand any more, Ohno continued to ‘dance’ with his hands, thus summarising the essence of Butoh as the dance from ‘within’. He started dancing before World War II, but it is in the post-war period that his dancing career really flourished. The inspiration came from the new dance philosophy, conceptualised by Tatsumi Hijikata – the principal founder of Butoh.

Butoh means ‘dance step’ and ‘ancient dance’. It grew in opposition to both – modern Western dance, growing on popularity in post-war Japan, and to Nah – a traditional form of dance performed in Japan since the 14th century. Butoh was a direct reaction to European modernism and an attempt of revitalisation of the Japanese art scene. But…

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