Retreat Teachers



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 a Dream Project”, which brings Butoh dance to incarcerated men and women at correctional facilities across New York City.

Events with Vangeline

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…

Premier Solo Performance: The Slowest Wave
May 11, 2024

On Saturday evening, Vangeline will premier a new solo work, followed by a Q&A with the artist. Please join us! The Slowest Wave (excerpt) In collaboration with neuroscientists Sadye Paez and Constantina Theofanopoulou, neuro engineer Jose ‘Pepe’ Contreras-Vidal, and composer Ray Sweeten, Vangeline choreographed a 60-minute ensemble butoh piece during her Gibney Dance DiP Artist Residency 2022-2023. The choreography is uniquely informed by the protocol established for a scientific pilot study researching the impact of butoh on brain activity. For the groundbreaking art-science study, dancers’ brain activity was recorded at the University of Houston, Texas, with real-time visualization by multimedia artist Badie Khaleghian of the dancers’ neural activity. Results were then disseminated in scientific journals. Vangeline and Sweeten have built on a 20-year history of creative collaboration with a soundscape that is informed by techniques of brainwave entrainment (techniques that affect consciousness through sound). The Slowest Wave investigates through the use of scalp EEG how brain waves during butoh dancing compare to those emitted during other conscious or unconscious motor behaviors, such as speaking or meditating. Moreover, the study will elucidate the functional neural networks of the dancers and the neural synchrony within and between them. This project is meant…

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