By Sondra Horton
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Extra info for Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo (Routledge Performance Practitioners)
Ohno was born to dance, and also a superb actor, able to excavate great depths of emotion through his agile body and compassionate facial expressions. On the historical world stage, he can be compared with Isadora Duncan through the generous spirit of his dance and his power to move audiences. In Suiren (Water Lilies), there is a sense of pathos that follows in the wake of Ohno’s motions, traces of body memory as he trades his body for ours, dancing sometimes as an old woman, and at others like a lithe Fred Astaire (without the taps).
Circling back to Hijikata’s influence, Harupin-ha, a dance company in Berkeley California formed by Tamano Koichi and his wife, Hiroko, has performed on world tours with the popular contemporary musician Kitaro. ” Recent Japanese butohists who perform internationally and hark back to Hijikata and Ohno for their inspiration are Katsura Kan, Endo Tadashi, and the all female company of Kawamoto Yuko. BUTOH SHAPESHIFTERS 17 18 BUTOH SHAPESHIFTERS HIJIKATA: A CORPSE STANDING DESPERATELY UPRIGHT Hijikata grew up in rural Tohoku in the rustic Akita prefecture of the northern region of Japan’s main island of Honshu.
After Hijikata and Ohno started working closely together, Ohno’s dance radically changed. His dances had been full of life (sei) but soon he began BUTOH SHAPESHIFTERS 31 32 BUTOH SHAPESHIFTERS reflecting on the question of death (shi), which became the focus for his creative process. Shi to sei (death and life) become the two prominent themes around which Ohno’s performances evolve. In 1960, just one year after his first work Kinjiki, Hijikata choreographs Diviinu sho (Divine) for Ohno, a solo inspired by Divine the hero/ine of Genet’s novel Our Lady of the Flowers.