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An expressionist contemporary dance form which originated in Japan in the late 1950s. It was pioneered by choreographers such as Tatsumi Hijikata, Kazuo Ohno, and Kasai Akira. The first recorded butoh performance was Hijikata's Kinjiki in 1959. Although Hijikata stresses the spiritual imperative in butoh, the form is most readily identified by its physical appearance: the white painted faces, shaved heads, and nakedness of its performers and the distorted shapes of its slow-moving choreography. Companies such as Sankai Juku have added a designer sheen to butoh perfomances and attracted a new international audience.

Subjects: Dance — Theatre.

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