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Kota Yamazaki to dance in the Warhol’s Off the Wall series

Photo of Yamazaki borrowed from the Warhol website

Photo borrowed from the Warhol website

The Warhol, a favorite Pittsburgh museum and namesake of Pittsburgh native and revered pop artist Andy Warhol, will be including dance among its offerings for the 2012 Off the Wall series. Butoh-trained and Bessie award-winning dancer/choreographer Kota Yamazaki will be performing a work inspired by an essay entitled In Praise of Shadows.

Shadows and darkness, themes that are embraced within Japanese art and are often described as integral to the dance form of Butoh, seem a fitting subject for Yamazaki. The work itself, entitled (glowing) was in part a collaboration with a lighting designer and architect and according to the Warhol’s description of the piece takes place, “within a set constructed to evoke the interior of a traditional Japanese house.”

This is the first time that the New York based choreographer will present work in Pittsburgh and likely a rare opportunity to glimpse  a perspective derived from Butoh. The Japanese dance form Butoh evolved in part as a response to WWII. While some of the works of the works of Kazuo Ohno, one of the best-known Butoh artists, often included music of western origin, the intent of Butoh’s founder Tatsumi Hijikata was to create an artistic dance-form free of western influence and indicative of the current state of Japan.

Over time, Butoh has taken many forms spreading through Europe and the Americas. In New York dancers Eiko and Koma have made their own interpretation of modern dance and Butoh a great international success. In the introduction I received to Butoh, artist Tadashi Endo described Butoh as needing to continually evolve to stay truthful.

To experience a piece of the continuing story of Butoh here in Pittsburgh, see Yamazaki’s performance with company Fluid Hug Hug at the New Hazlett Theater at 8pm on April 14th. For tickets, visit or call (412) 237-8300.