Sleep & Lack Thereof (Upd: Nov 12, ’22)

One-third of our life is spent sleeping so this is certainly one world we should not neglect. A sleepy body tends towards relaxed or floppy, both of which are rich qualities to use in butoh.

Sleeping but still dancing is yet another butoh paradox.

There can be different sleepy body qualias. Somebody can be sleep deprived which can lead to an erotic or delusionary state. Somebody can be sleep walking as shown in the Butoh in Real Life series video #7: Somnabulist Boy. Somebody could be undergoing sleep paralysis, which may appear as a frozen state on the outside but be very active on the inside.

Exercise 1: Dreaming Share

This is meant for a group. Find a comfortable place to sit upright and to go towards sleep but not completely. Notice anything that comes up in the half awake, half sleep state. Write down as much as you can. This can all be shared to the rest of the group either in sharing circle or even more participatory as the images for a dance score.

Exercise 2: Movement in Dreaming Sleep

Find a position in which to sleep or appear to be sleeping. Within this sleep, some action begins to happen such as running, fighting, etc. How are these movements translated while in the sleeping body? Think back at the sleeping dog for instance who is running in her sleep. Her legs may be moving slightly mimicking the motions of running.

Exercise 3: Sleep Walk

Walk across the floor slowly in a sleep state. Relax the body. Really feel the sleeping happening as you are standing up. The head is in a nod somewhere.

Tatsumi Hijikata’s butoh-fu mentioning sleep¹

(1) Odilon Redon’s Flower; (2) Pollen; (3) Flowers & Children; (4) Children; (5) Horse; (6) Bull; (7) World of Birds & Beasts; (8) Bird Dances; (9) Sleep Walker; (10) Heavy Neck; (11) Celebration Within The Wall; (12) The Materials Walk; (13) Soot; (14) Quiet House;² (15) Sick Dancing Princess/Ailing Dancer

¹ Waguri, Yukio, Butoh-Fu CD-Rom. 2006.

² Lee, Rhizome. Behind The Mirror: A Butoh Manual For Students. 2010.

³ Lee, Rhizome. The Butoh. 2017. Pages 337-354.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email