Murobushi Kō and his Challenge to Butoh

Authored by: Katja Centonze

The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138691094
eBook ISBN: 9781315536132
Adobe ISBN:


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Murobushi Kō (1947–2015) occupies a key position in articulating butoh’s original intention of corporeal revolution. One of the unique traits of Murobushi’s work is that he persevered in exploring the political quality inherent in Hijikata Tatsumi’s butoh. Murobushi also attempted to challenge the image of butoh itself and to continuously remap corporeality. He opted for dance envisaged as a practice of radicalism and resistance and attempted to demonstrate that making this decision implies a certain responsibility, which puts us in the uncomfortable condition of facing corporeality and spectatorship (Centonze 2009). Hence, in Murobushi’s case, dance is a paradox that unfolds already as a political act, while being apolitical. Crucial to this aesthetic enterprise is the coupling between dance/corporeality and death, which guides the performer and the audience towards the raw experience of risk, danger, and crisis. The body stands out as a place where critical forces come into play, and the ground on which problematic conflicts interact.

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