Standing on the shoulders of giants, I have been lifted, guided and carried and for that I am eternally grateful. Each season of this self-devised Butoh piece is dedicated to a master of Butoh I have had the privilege to study under. As there are 5 great teachers I worked with in all, I have included a 5th season – entitled Winter turns to Spring, which is also based on a Buddhist concept. In each of the seasons, I try to capture the essence of that master’s Butoh style as I understand it. As each Butoh master’s approach to training is quite unique and their own performance style varied and distinctive, this piece too reflects different energies and moods with the changes of the seasons. The piece explores the universal theme of the cycles of life and death. I am particularly interested in exploring the role that transformation plays in Butoh.
Helen Smith, first developed her passion for Butoh in Kyoto, Japan after meeting Zen Zen Zo with whom she has taught, performed and toured internationally since 1993. Other Butoh credits include Little Dove’s award-winning six women standing in front of a white wall at the Edinburgh Fringe festival (2007). Helen spent 3 years in Tokyo, Japan from 2007-2010 where she studied with Dairakudakan as well as butoh masters, Yoshito Ohno, Natsu Nakajima, Seisaku and Yukio Waguri. Her Tokyo ‘Butoh’ credits include: a guest appearance for Kazuo Ohno’s 102nd birthday party (2008); Another Republic by Natsu Nakajima’s company Mutekisha (2009); Crystal Brain by Seisaku and Dance Medium (2009), and her own butoh solo, A Dance For All Seasons (2010). Helen is now based in Melbourne, and has recently performed in Gabrielle New’s Butoh performance, Creature at Theatre Works as a member of the The Space Between Performance Collective.
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