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Following up on on the showcase of Japanese dance butoh it organised in 2012 in Poznań, Made in Art foundation has invited a group of international butoh dancers to take part in an artistic residency taking place on 25 September – 6 October 2013 at Poznań’s Teatr Ósmego Dnia. The participants include: Gabrielle New (Australia), Basia Prądzyńska (Poland), Szymon Stolarski (Poland), Agnieszka Rura (Poland), Sharmila Naudou (France), Antoine Carle/Tchivett (France), Philomène Zeltz (Belgium), Brigitte Hoornaert (Belgium), Olivier Raymond (France), Thibaut Cora (France), Philippe Grout (France), Hiroko Komiya (Japan), and Atsushi Takenouchi (Japan), world-famous butoh dancer, who will be responsible for the project’s choreography and its general conception. The residency’s key element is the project Sou-ma-toh.

The artists will exchange their dance experiences, participate in workshops, work on their solo performances coached by Atsushuiego Takenouchi, but first and foremost concentrate on the creation of Sou-ma-toh.

Sou-ma-toh will be presented on 7 October (7 pm), concluding the residency.

About the piece:

SOU-MA-TOH???

When I was eight I fell off the roof and felt death for a moment.

Before I crashed on the ground I remembered all the important moments in my life so far.

The memory of life – the most colourful images revolving, flickering while they danced around a candle’s light.

That is what the Japanese call the s?mat? lantern.

Compared to a star’s life, human life and the life of all other creatures in Earth is like a blink of an eye, a s?mat? lantern.

I have a vision. Each of us is a s?mat? lantern and has his life frozen in sketch form.

When the lantern is lit, the sketches begin, just like starts in the nightly sky, to flicker and dance.

But there are in this world also forgotten beings who remain in the dark and whose lanterns cannot light.

For example forlorn children or elderly people; people injured in wartime battlefields who have nothing left but prayer; revolutionaries calling for freedom; soldiers losing their senses due to slaughter and drugs; Aborigines driven out of their lands, dying; people isolated by disease; loved and abandoned male and female prostitutes; insane actors and beggars; living creatures, woodlands and their spirits vanishing in bomb fires or because of environmental destruction; disappearing gods of seas and mountains; ancient dance.

Let us light the s?mat? lantern of these dying beings and spirits being pushed into darkness. Let us light the lantern of memories hidden in darkness deep inside ourselves. Let us free them from the idea of darkness, and catch them as an uncovered, true manifestation of life; let us dance until light appears. This way we will light up their s?mat? lanterns.

This dance is a requiem for beings captured in darkness. Look at a nightly sky. The stars are also s?mat?s travelling in Space.

A star’s life is just a blink of an eye compared to the Universe’s life. Our lives are also s?mat? lanterns lasting for a blink of an eye before we die. Look! Countless s?mat? lanterns begin their dance in the sky…

Atsushi Takenouchi

S?mat? (“a revolving lantern”) is a traditional Japanese lantern consisting of two cylinder-shaped layers made of paper or fabric, one inside the other. The inner layer has images on its walls and a fan on its top which moves when the candle positioned in the centre of the lantern produces air. When revolving, the inner layer casts flashing shadows on the outer layer.

Project’s partners:
Teatr Ósemgo Dnia, Japonica Creativa (Japanese studies student club, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań), Foundation of the University of Arts in Poznań, Poznań City Hall, State Government Victoria, In Habit International, Punctum

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