#tbt: Butoh Master Kazuo Ohno's Surprising Take On Love
Kazuo Ohno in his iconic My Mother. Photo by Eikoh Hosoe, Courtesy DM Archives
In the May 1998 issue of Dance Magazine, we spoke to Kazuo Ohno on the occasion of a memorial performance for his mentor, butoh creator Tatsumi Hijikata. On performing with his son for the memorial, Ohno said, "Yoshito and me, we are two, but we are one. Love, but something different, too. Love is pain. 'I love' is like 'I have pain.' " This perspective is characteristic of butoh, a highly dramatic Japanese dance-theater form that visually tends toward darkness and decay. In 1988, Ohno was already in his 80s; he would continue to perform even after his 100th birthday. He died in 2010 at the age of 103.
My best running buddy was on my left. To my right, a total stranger with whom I'd suddenly become competitive. As the 15-person group headed into a two-minute push, the instructor got hyped, and the remix blasting Rihanna's "We Found Love" transitioned to "Smooth Criminal."