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Michelle Tabnick
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The New York Butoh Institute and Vangeline Theater present the New York Butoh Institute Festival 2018, Oct. 18-21

by Michelle Tabnick
September 5, 2018
Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-1109
The New York Butoh Institute and Vangeline Theater present the New York Butoh Institute Festival 2018, a celebration of diversity in butoh featuring 16 artists from Japan, Brazil, Chile, UK, Israel, Italy, Germany, France, Costa Rica, Spain, and the United States. Curated by Butoh artist Vangeline, the Festival will consist of an exciting program of butoh workshops and masterclasses, as well as four nights of groundbreaking performances by fierce female butoh dancers from  October 18-21, 2018 at the Theater for the New City's Johnson Theater, 155 1st Avenue, NYC, 10003. Tickets are $15 and are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3508983. For more information about the festival or to enroll in the workshop and masterclass, visit www.vangeline.com/calendar-of-upcoming-events.

Over the past 60 years, Butoh has become a universal and international movement language. Developed in post World War II Japan, the minimalist avant-garde dance form has grown, evolved, and traveled worldwide.

New York Butoh Institute celebrates the way the art form has grown and shifted in the 21st Century, ensuring the style is reflective and responsive.

Nicole Watson (U.K); Natalie Cuellar and Raimundo Estay (Chile); Alana Rosa (Brazil); Melissa Lohman (Italy); Margherita Tisato (Italy); Sindy Butz (Germany); Keren Shavit (Israel); Azumi Oe (Japan); Yokko (Japan); Mariko Endo (Japan); Sophie Amieva (Spain/France); Nurya Chana (U.S.); Will Atkins (U.S.); Raquel Almazan (Costa Rica/ Spain).

Thursday, October 18 at 8pm: Nu Canal (Nurya Chana) in "Techne Soft"
Featuring: Nurya Chana (USA), Yokko (Japan), Margherita Tisato (Italy), Sophie Amieva and Will Atkins (France/ USA), Melissa Lohman (Italy/USA) and Raquel Almazan (Spain/ Costa Rica).
1 hour and 50 minutes with an intermission

Nurya performs in a spectacular structure that she herself created. In "Techne Soft," Nu Canal uses multi-media solidifications of invisible structures to strip down the process of making, peeling mental systems, unfurling the feeling narratives lying underneath. 

Friday, October 19 at 8pm: Sindy Butz in "Vanished Country-Your own breath"
Featuring: Nicole Watson (U.K.), Keren Shavit (Israel), Mariko Endo (Japan), Alana Rosa (Brazil); Azumi Oe (Japan), and Sindy Butz (Germany).

1 hour and 50 minutes with an intermission
"Vanished Country-Your own breath" is inspired by the melancholic poem "Am Fenster" (By The Window) by the German writer Hildegard Maria Rauchfuß. The text became a classic through the former East German cult rock band City in 1977. On stage, a video projection represents the emotional state of being trapped in an ideology, gazing through a foggy window onto the other side, into a better reality and freedom. The dancer on stage juxtaposes the feeling of physical and mental narrowness through oppression (video) with nuances of liberation, solidarity, and intoxication of joy. A sculptural element of a window/ portal connects both worlds.

Saturday, October 20 at 8pm:
Nicole Vivien Watson - Surface Area Dance Theater - U. K. in "The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed"
Featuring: Nicole Watson (U.K.); Natalia Cuellar and Raimundo Estay (Chile)
1 hour and 30 minutes with an intermission

"The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed" explores creation myth and Messy Play, made in collaboration between Matthew De Kersaint Graudeau (Sound) and Ben Jeans Houghton (Sculpture). The Mud Formed A Finger, Pointed offers a study of the human body as an uncanny object that oscillates between figuration and abstraction, body and material, depicting an object becoming human, a human becoming an object and the protean states between. Nicole Vivien Watson emerges from an industrial bucket, her body covered in dripping, viscous liquid. The work embodies a contemporary creation myth that melds object and subject, abject and sacred, non-human and human. By invoking the narrative imagery of creation myths where humans are formed from the earth, within the aesthetic of the fetish Messy Play and through the language of Butoh, the performance links our understandings of the contemporary body and our imaginings of a primordial past.

Sunday, October 21 at 3pm: Natalia Cuellar and Raimundo Estay in "XIBALBA".

"A spine chilling ancient ritual" says Leopoldo Pulgar Ibarra, "Xibalba" invites audiences to come closer to the complex world of the Mayan mythology, in a performance created by Natalia Cuellar, butoh performer and director of the Rutadela Memoria company ("Cuerpoquebrado"), who specializes on plays based on the concepts of gender, memory and human rights.

Featuring: Nicole Watson (U.K.); Natalia Cuellar and Raimundo Estay (Chile)
1 hour and 30 minutes with an intermission

October 13-14: Butoh workshop with Vangeline: Mastering the mind/body connection in Butoh
October 18-21: Four nights of performances at Theater for The New City
October 23rd: Closing night of Festival: Butoh Master class with Natalia Cuellar.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Nu Canal (Nurya Chana), born 1988 in the Bronx, studies cellular molecular processes, embodied anatomical sensation, the science of feeling, ecological geometry, animism, hypnotic trances, primitive architecture, fetish idols, and awareness methodologies. She is a graduate of EastWest School of Dance, Aprovecho Sustainability School, Green Meadow Waldorf School, Skidmore College, many Butoh master training workshops (Katsura Kan, Tetsuro Fukuhara, Yumiko Yoshioka, Vangeline, Maureen "Momo" Freehill, Yukio Suzuki and more) and is currently a Hunter College MFA candidate.
Sindy Butz is a visual artist, Butoh dancer and educator. She grew up in the suburbs of communist East Berlin, Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She started her dance education in Ballet, Dance Theater and Folk Dance at the age of 6 in the professional Children's Dance Theater Strausberg under Nora Jarchow-Dürrenfeld/ Palucca School. She has been performing since the age of 9. Butz holds a Bachelor's Degree in Visual Arts of the academy AKI Enschede (Netherlands) and a Master's Degree in Art Science, of the University of the Arts Berlin (Germany), with a focus on performance art, sculptural installation and contemporary ceramics. In 2009, equipped with the DAAD research grant on assistive technology and wearable art for the Interactive Telecommunication Program at New York University, she moved to New York. Shortly after her arrival she started training dance with Vangeline. Butz has performed for Vangeline Theater in New York at the Brooklyn Museum, New Museum, Princeton University, Bronx Academy of Art and Dance, Dixon Place, and Asian American Art Alliance among others.

Nicole Vivien Watson, director and founder of Surface Area Dance Theatre. As a passionate learner, she places investigation at the centre - point of practice, within which are interdisciplinary processes. When asked to describe her interests, she consistently refers to an understanding and informed perception of Butoh, which can be described as a contrastive spectrum of philosophy, performance and socially concerned activities. Equal to her knowledge of Butoh, is a persistent consideration of non - verbal communication. Nicole began studying British Sign Language (BSL) six years ago and with a scholarship from the Royal Ballet Benevolent fund, she is in the final stages of her BSL education. Butoh and BSL occupy a generative importance within her practice, that Nicole describes as "luminous pillars that support continued personal and professional development." Nicole is a 2015 recipient of a Royal Ballet Benevolent Award, a Daiwa Anglo- Japanese bursary holder 2015 - 16, a 2016 - 17 Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation supported artist and a Artists International Development Fund - Arts Council England and British Council, 2016 Awardee. 

Natalia Cuéllar, Actress and dancer, studied theater in Chile, then continued her artistic training in Europe, following the lineage of Grotowsky. Later, she moved on to Butoh, studying with different masters such as butoh dancers Makiko Tominaga and Minako Seki. In 2008, she founded the Ruta de la Memoria Company in Santiago, Chile, a company which focuses on the issues of gender, human Rights and memory. Cuéllar's works have been critically acclaimed in Chile and dubbed "amazing" (FabianEscalona), "impressive" (MariettaSanti ),"intense and shocking" (PedroLabraHerrera - ElMercurio), and "spine-chilling" (LeopoldoPulgarIbarra). Since 2014, she has directed and organized the celebrated International Butoh Festival in Chile (FIBUTOH).  www.fibutoh.com

Raimundo Estay, Actor, dancer and lighting designer, studied theater and contemporary dance in Chile. He has developed his research in Butoh since 2007, and is the founder of the Ruta de la Memoria Company with Natalia Cuéllar. He is also the co-founder of the Butoh International Festival in Chile, FIBUTOH. 

Vangeline (curator) is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form Butoh. She is the Artistic Director of the Vangeline Theater (New York), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese Butoh while carrying it into the 21st century, and the founder of the New York Butoh Institute.

Vangeline's work has been heralded in publications such as The New York Times ("captivating"), Los Angeles Times ("moves with the clockwork deliberation of a practiced Japanese Butoh artist") and LA Weekly,to name a few. Time OUT Chicago  named Vangeline's "one of the best Dance Visits of 2011." More recently her BUTOH BEETHOVEN: Eclipse received critical acclaim in New York and was dubbed:  "incredibly moving and powerful. It is clear that Vangeline is an artist who knows the darkness of Butoh well and has the incredible skill to make that darkness dance…Vangeline has the control and poise of a true master of Butoh." With her all-female dance company, Vangeline's  socially conscious performances tie together Butoh and activism. Vangeline is the winner of the 2015 Gibney Dance's Beth Silverman-Yam Social Action Award. Film projects include a starring role alongside  ctors James Franco and Winona Ryder in the feature film by director Jay Anania "The Letter" (2012-Lionsgate). In recent years, she has been invited to perform with/for Grammy Award Winning artists SKRILLEX and Esperanza Spalding and is currently writing a book about Butoh. 

VANGELINE THEATER/ NEW YORK BUTOH INSTITUTE aims to preserve the legacy and integrity of Japanese Butoh while carrying the art form well into the future. The unique art of Butoh originated in post-World War II Japan as a reaction to the loss of identity caused by the westernization of Japanese culture, as well as a realization that ancient Japanese performing traditions no longer spoke to a contemporary audience. One of the major developments in contemporary dance in the latter half of the 20th century, Butoh combines dance, theater, improvisation and influences of Japanese traditional performing arts to create a unique performing art form that is both controversial and universal in its expression. The Vangeline Theater is home to the New York Butoh Institute, dedicated to the advancement of Butoh in the 21st century.

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY (TNC) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning community cultural center that is known for its high artistic standards and widespread community service. One of New York's most prolific theatrical organizations, TNC produces 30-40 premieres of new American plays per year, at least 10 of which are by emerging and young playwrights. Many influential theater artists of the last quarter century have found TNC's Resident Theater Program instrumental to their careers, among them Sam Shepard, Moises Kaufman, Richard Foreman, Charles Busch, Maria Irene Fornes, Miguel Piñero, Jean-Claude van Itallie, Vin Diesel, Oscar Nuñez, Laurence Holder, Romulus Linney and Academy Award Winners Tim Robbins and Adrien Brody. TNC also presents plays by multi-ethnic/multi-disciplinary theater companies who have no permanent home. Among the well-known companies that have been presented by TNC are Mabou Mines, the Living Theater, Bread and Puppet Theater, the San Francisco Mime Troupe and COBU, the Japanese women's drumming, and dance group. TNC also produced the Yangtze Repertory Company's 1997 production of BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH, which was the only play ever produced in America by Gao Xingjian before he won the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature. TNC seeks to develop theater audiences and inspire future theater artists from the often-overlooked low-income minority communities of New York City by producing minority writers from around the world and by bringing the community into theater and theater into the community through its many free Festivals. TNC productions have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and over 42 OBIE Awards for excellence in every theatrical discipline. TNC is also the only Theatrical Organization to have won the Mayor's Stop The Violence award.
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