#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.
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.