Butoh: Receptivity and the Nervous System
May 9 - 12, 2024
In this workshop, Vangeline teaches participants to explore the link between receptivity and Butoh, as well as receptivity’s impact on the nervous system. This work focuses on relaxation techniques and the parasympathetic nervous system, supported by the technique of Noguchi Taiso. Noguchi Taiso or Noguchi gymnastics is the foundation of Butoh. Professor Noguchi developed this release technique between the 1950’s and 1970’s in Japan, in search of a method “devoid of ego or violence”.
What can we allow to blossom when we deeply release tension, and when we enter into a harmonious dialogue with gravity?
Zen practitioners often feel a real sense of support by sitting together in the zendo. We can also understand Butoh is born from exchange and communal work. Because Butoh is not about “showing” it is also not about judging what we’ve been shown. Together in movement led by acclaimed Butoh performer Vangeline, participants will experience opportunity for great opening.
Join us starting on Thursday evening for this multi-day movement retreat. Vangeline’s Butoh classes incorporate Japanese Butoh, Bio-energetics, core energetics, elements of Noguchi gymnastics, and guided imagery to offer a high-energy workshop adapted to each group’s level of physical fitness.
Vangeline draws on 20 years of experience as a Butoh teacher and dancer, and has 35 years of expertise in the field of dance. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book of non-fiction Butoh: Cradling Empty Space. With her all-female dance company, Vangeline’s socially conscious performances tie together butoh and activism. Vangeline is the founder of the New York Butoh Institute Festival, which elevates the visibility of women in butoh, and the festival Queer Butoh. She pioneered the award-winning, 15-year running program The Dream a Dream Project, which brings butoh dance to incarcerated men and women at correctional facilities across New York State. Her choreographed work has been performed in Chile, Hong Kong, Germany, Denmark, France, the UK, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
She is a 2022/2023 Gibney Dance Dance in Process residency and the winner of a 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Dance Award. She is also a 2018 NYFA/NYSCA Artist Fellow in Choreography for Elsewhere (a work that began as an artistic commission from Surface Area Dance Theatre with support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund UK); the winner of the 2015 Gibney Dance Social Action Award as well as the 2019 Janet Arnold Award from the Society of Antiquaries of London. Her work as an educator, choreographer, and curator has been supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, Japan Foundation, New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Council on the Arts, Robert Friedman Foundation, and Asian American Arts Alliance.
She is a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine. She teaches trauma-informed Butoh classes. Vangeline welcomes students with disabilities, including students with hearing impairment, and/or students who are visually impaired or wheelchair-bound students. All workshops are open level and beginners are welcome.
At 8pm on Saturday evening, Vangeline will perform a new solo work, The Slowest Wave followed by a Q&A with the artist, register here for the performance only.
Here, read an interview with Tricycle magazine, and listen to the BBC in Dessa Darling’s show Deeply Human where Vangeline is featured. Vangeline’s book, BUTOH Cradling Empty Space is available online or at booksellers
As with all in-person retreats at the Monastery, participants are required to follow the current protocol for keeping everyone safe (this link is updated frequently so check back). Review the current protocol requirements before registering, and if you have further questions, please contact the registrar.
Financial concerns should not prevent you from attending a program at the Monastery. If you can’t afford the program fee, you can see these options.
Vangeline is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form Butoh. She is the Artistic Director of the Vangeline Theater (NYC), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese Butoh while carrying it into the 21st century. She was born in Bourgogne, France and moved to New York in 1993. You are encouraged to read her full biography here. Widely regarded as an expert in her field, Vangeline has taught at Cornell University, New York University, Brooklyn College, CUNY, Sarah Lawrence, and Princeton University (Princeton Atelier). Film projects include a starring role alongside actors James Franco and Winona Ryder in the feature film by director Jay Anania, ‘The Letter” (2012-Lionsgate). In recent years, she has been commissioned by triple Grammy Award-winning artists Esperanza Spalding, Skrillex, and David J. (Bauhaus). She is the author of the critically-acclaimed book: Butoh: Cradling Empty Space, which explores the intersection of butoh and neuroscience. Her work is the subject of CNN’s “Great Big Story” “Learning to Dance with your Demons.” She is featured here in an interview with Tricycle magazine, and here on the BBC in Dessa Darling’s show Deeply Human. She is also the founder of the award-winning program ” The Dream…
Learn more about Vangeline