A fascinating read on how butoh was perceived in France, halfway between aesthetic shock and a fantasised vision of Japan
This book tells about the fascination for butoh in France from the moment of shock when it was discovered at the end of the 1970s. This fascination, which caused some misunderstanding, fostered a desire for new horizons – particularly for Japan – which fashioned contemporary dance, booming at the time. What aesthetic desires did butoh fulfil? What did it shift and unsettle in contemporary dance?
To analyse this phenomenon of perception is to deconstruct the associated commonplaces. It also means reading over the history of dance in France: among other things butoh summoned up desires for expressionism in contemporary dancers who at the time were attracted by American abstraction. In an approach combining aestheticism with cultural history, movement and critical discourse analysis, this book connects the more recent choreographic story with more ancient stories of Japanism and the memory of Hiroshima, therefore revealing the many dynamics that guided the vision of butoh to this day.