Butoh
The dance of global darkness
in Globalgothic
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This chapter discusses a number of suggestions and assumptions concerning the description of butoh as a recognisably gothic aesthetic. Ankoku butoh, literally the 'dance of utter darkness', was first performed in Japan by Tatsumi Hijikata and then developed by Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno into a global dance practice. The chapter uses butoh to raise some questions about the notion of a 'globalgothic', where the signifier 'global' may too quickly or cleanly invoke the worrisome spectre of cultural imperialism and corruption. It also uses butoh to raise some questions of the hegemony of Western ideological powers. For butoh philosophy and practice, the concept of the 'global' appears at a site other than the geographical, a site best captured by the word's medical, corporeal sense of encompassing or involving the entire body or psychosomatic organisation. The chapter considers how butoh relocates its venue of terror from the politico-geographical to the politico-corporeal.

Editor: Glennis Byron

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