• Becoming Nothing to Become Something: Methods of Performer Training in Hijikata Tatsumi's Buto Dance

      Kahlich, Luke C.; Nagatomo, Shigenori; Welsh-Asante, Kariamu; Williams-Witherspoon, Kimmika (Temple University. Libraries, 2012)
      ABSTRACT This study investigates performer training in ankoku buto dance, focusing specifically on the methods of Japanese avant-garde artist Hijikata Tatsumi, who is considered the co-founder and intellectual force behind this form. The goal of this study is to articulate the buto dancers preparation and practice under his direction. Clarifying Hijikata's embodied philosophy offers valuable scholarship to the ongoing buto studies dialogue, and further, will be useful in applying buto methods to other modes of performer training. Ultimately, my plan is to use the findings of this study in combination with research in other body-based performance training techniques to articulate the pathway by which a performer becomes empty, or nothing, and what that state makes possible in performance. In an effort to investigate the historically-situated and culturally-specific perspective of the body that informed the development of ankoku buto dance, I am employing frameworks provided by Japanese scholars who figure prominently in the zeitgeist of 1950s and 1960s Japan. Among them are Nishida Kitaro, founder of the Kyoto School, noted for introducing and developing phenomenology in Japan, and Yuasa Yasuo, noted particularly for his study of ki energy. Both thinkers address the body from an experiential perspective, and explore the development of consciousness through bodily sensation. My research draws from personal interviews I conducted with Hijikatas dancers, as well as essays, performance videos and films, and Hijikata's choreographic notebooks. I also track my own embodied understanding of buto, through practicing with these various teachers and using buto methods to teach and create performance work.