Coordinated by Ioanna Gkaragkouni
Butoh is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement.
Each session consists of some warp up time, technical steps with which we discover the importance of walking in Butoh, the choreographic and the improvisational part. With improvisation, we place emphasis on creating images retrieved from our stored memory, imagination, mind and environment. Exercises that review concepts such as lightness-gravity, compression-extension are applied as well as predefined moves, steps and walking inspired by Japanese culture and lifestyle are taught.
An important element in the Butoh lesson is improvisation, which is inspired by nature, the circle of life, and poetry and visual arts. A very important element in the Butoh sessions is improvisation, which is inspired by nature, the concept of the circle of life, poetry and visual arts. We are inspired by nature, poetry and imagination aiming to compose small parts of improvisational characters, working in groups, duos or solo. We embody poems and texts. Transformation is a fundamental element in Butoh and unlike other forms of dance, we follow our body and listen to it carefully and let our inner landscapes emerge outside every form.
Sessions are aiming in getting rid of our already formed “hard shell” that chokes our soul and makes our dance poorer.
No prior training or dance experience is required to participate in the lesson.
Ioanna Gkaragkouni has studied Ballet, Graham technique and Horton technique (modern), Dunham technique (Afro Carribbean Dance), Theatrical Arts, Dance History, Music, Improvisation, Composition, Performance technique, Jazz and Yoga at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York, from where she graduated in 1991. As a graduate, she both choreographed and took part in performances in New York City. From 1991 to 2000 she worked in vocational schools in Greece as a dance teacher. She then pursued four years in Japan (2000-2004) where she was taught the art of Butoh by its founders and great teachers. She was guided by the Butoh pioneers Akikο Motofuji (wife of Tatsumi Hijikata), Yoshito Ohno, Taketeru Kudo and Koichi Tamano at Tatsumi Hijikata Memorial Asbestos Studio, Tokyo in 2000-2003. She studied with: Toru Iwashita in Group Dairakudakan (2001-2002), Kazuo Ohno and Yoshito Ohno at Kazuo Ohno & Yoshito Ohno Dance Studio (Yokohama) from 2002 until 2004. At the same time she was studying Butoh dance in Tokyo with Akira Kasai at Tenshikan Studio. She has also attended a seminar on Noguchi Taiso Physical Exercises technique by Hatori in Asahi Culture Center in Tokyo.Joanna has taught, took part and choreographed many performances.
She collaborated as a dancer in a Butoh performance with Akiko Motofuji and Daiji Meguro. Since 2005 she began teaching, choreographing and performing in Greece mainly in drama and dance schools. She has also appeared in the TV show ART ERT on 4/11/2015 about Chinese culture, where she did an improvisation dance and she talked about the art of Butoh. For years, she has been a member of the Ministry of Culture and Sports as an examiner of contemporary dance and improvisation dance in introductory, qualifying and diplomatic exams for the Supreme dance schools.