BUTOH dance avoids the use of mirrors in training. Kasai notes “When you are watching your body in a mirror while dancing, you are not dancing, but you are analyzing the visual stimuli and might be losing the precious/subtle sensations in your body ” . Just like the dancer who intentionally rolls back the eyes, the dancer who watches himself or herself in the mirror diverts attention from alternative resources s/he possess for perceiving the body… the use of mirrors creates an imbalance between an outwardly directed and inwardly directed focus. The mirror seduces the dancer’s focus outside of him/her, leaving the ability to focus inwardly untapped. Watching one’s body in the mirror relies on vision, the sense we tend to exercise most, thereby failing to exercise the dancer’s ability to invoke the perceptual capabilities of other senses, such as the olfactory and auditory capabilities, and especially the tactile.
From the abstract for: Perception in Butoh Dance by Toshiharu Kasai and Kate Parsons (Memoirs of the Hokkaido Institute of Technololy, No.31 2003 pp.257-264).
Additional imagery and video in Butoh – Dance of Darkness at La Ivolution.
Butoh – Revolt of the Flesh in Japan and a Surrealist Way to Move by Johannes Bergmark. First published in and written for Mannen på gatan, Stockholm 1991. With an introduction from 2008 and an appendix from 1993.
Fraleigh, Sondra Horton. Butoh : Metamorphic Dance and Global Alchemy. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2010.
Moore, Shannon C. Ghosts of Premodernity: Butoh and the Avant-Garde Performance Paradigm 2 (March 2006): 45.
Osinski, Zbigniew. “Grotowski blazes the trails : From objective drama to ritual arts” The Drama Review 35 / 1 Spring (1991): 95-112.
Zarrilli, Phillip B. “Psychophysical Approaches and Practices in India: Embodying Processes and States of ‘Being–Doing’” New Theatre Quarterly / Volume 27 / Issue 03 (August 2011): 244 271. Published online: 03 August 2011.