Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh: Dancing in a Pool of Gray Grits by B. Baird – some reflections and uses

Hijikata Tatsumi and Butoh: Dancing in a Pool of Gray Grits- By Bruce Baird

link to youtube Bruce Baird lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOImHO0lAbY

This is a great book that opens into Hijikata’s own playfulness, not only with language but with the chance that memory gaps can provide to create, generate, invent, play with mesh-ups, transformation, endless adaptation of a theme.

Reflecting upon some passages offered in the book (p: 186-189):

In my opinion, few things are important to understand or to grasp, to come to terms with in Butoh dance. One of these, is the distinction of our many bodies.

My young body not when I was younger is a very different stance. My young body has qualities that are stored inside me; I can go to where those memories are and taste my young body, smell it, feel it in my skeleton, in my muscles, in the folds of my facial expressions. I can then play with language to generate and create, like Hijikata mentions the importance and the necessity of doing so.

To a certain degree playing endlessly with no confinement with language structure and creation in Tatsumi Hijikata recalls aspects of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy such as the concepts of stuttering, becoming, and the use of “and …and…and” to create recreate transmute so to always be surprised, to stutter in own’s own language, to become – always becoming other – minor.


At times, before practice, if I feel a bit off or tired or in need of a push I invite this sort of reflections and I perceive them as teachings that continue on from what I read:

‘My “manybodies” are rich in qualities, it is advisable for me to approach them with curiosity, greedily, silently “nothingly”. Which one do I want to play with, which one wants to play with me…then it all comes, pouring out or stagnating in’.


As Peter Brook once wrote, “there are no secrets”. I hope you can be stimulated from the information here provided, whether we agree or not, whether we enjoy the narrating style or dislike the over academic and complain of the under expressed…either or, it is good to reflect on the various presentations Butoh dance has in the world.

Many-bodies dancing to all!

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