About the project

Someone should write something here. But here are the “Artistic Objectives” as specified by the grant:

Artistic Objectives:
1. to further promote butoh as a dance genre: the Asian People’s Theatre Festival Society has been a foremost organization promoting butoh in Hong Kong. Beginning with Datsuke whose workshop and performance attracted full house (Macauley Theatre) in 2009, the APTFS had a keen interest in promoting the art form in Hong Kong through workshops and performances. 2012 has been a particularly vigorous year in this respect – we invited (with the support of Japan Foundation)butoh master, Mr. Katsura Kan to do workshop twice in Hong Kong and his students to collaborate with Hong Kong’s butoh dancers to perform Curious Fish. We also invited Waguri san, another butoh master to come twice, first to do workshop and second to perform himself together with his students in Hong Kong a piece called Ghost stories based on Po Chung Ling. The present project would help to sustain interests and development of the particular dance art form in Hong Kong
2. to engage the first generation of butoh dancers in Hong Kong to work with the third generation of Japanese butoh artists (members of the group Wangnin Bunmei – kindly refer to appendix for introduction) to come up with a performance “Kowloon Walled City – A butoh interpretation”. The Kowloon Walled City has an interesting history, the origin, development and its demise have fascinates local and overseas sociologists, historians, architects, anthropologists and artists….The Japanese somehow were surprisingly attached to the place and this has been shown by the large number of books published in Japan on the Walled City – please surf into the following link to see the list of Japanese books on the place.

We believe that an interpretation with butoh movements of the origin, development and demise of the Kowloon Walled City by in a collaboration between Hong Kong butoh dancers and Japanese butoh dancers would be a sophisticated and intense piece of work because the philosophy of butoh, a dance originating from Japanese avant garde artists rebelling against both Japanese classical dance and Western modern/contemporary dance of the immediate post war days when Japan was considered (by such artists) to be experiencing extreme decadence and darkness, would so aptly posit and define the Walled City which was described sometimes as City of Darkness. The aethetics of butoh can generate a powerful piece of performance portraying the once lively but darkish goings on and transformation of the Kowloon Walled City. Needless to say, both of our Hong Kong artists and Japanese artists have keen interests in the history and development of the Walled City.

3. We anticipate this butoh performance involving the first generation of Hong Kong butoh dances and third generation of butoh dancers from Japan would not be a replica of the works of first and second generation of the Japanese butoh movement but a kind of neo-butoh configuration of gestural vocabularies of the contemporary Japanese and Hong Kong Chinese bodies.

4. Kae will be facilitating an 18 hour workshop on basic butoh, to familiarize more Hong Kong people for butoh.

Preparation and Implementation Plan
1. Correspondence between Japanese and Hong Kong artists through emails, sharing conceptions and experience related to the Kowloon Walled City, including reading, researching for information.

After agreeing on the keywords in the description of the Walled City and the key phases on the history of the Walled City, two sides would begin to improvise butoh movements that illustrate those keywords and key phrases, with or without music.

The two groups meet one week before the performances were due to happen, showing each other what have been worked out. Attempts will be made by the artistic directors to synthesize the works of both groups while music would also be devised/improvised by the Japanese musician and then rehearsed intensely for the performances. It would be subject to the viewing of some internal critics before the show opens.

target audience: butoh loving and dance loving public in Hong Kong and anyone interested the Kowloon Walled City

  • promotion strategy: promotion in dance publication, daily newspapers(press release and articles), periodicals, emailing/facebook etc., leaflets distributed at strategic places
  • special features: a Hong Kong –Japanese collaboration in butoh, telling the remarkable stories of a very unique community which had been destroyed for various rationale in modernizing Hong Kong
  • original/adaptation elements: it will be an original piece of neo-butoh dance inspired by butoh philosophy and aesthetics on the history of and life inside the Walled City inspired by the published writings, photographs and video game
  • expected outcome – it would be a memorable production and travelable one to the Guangzhou, Macau and Tokyo or Festivals abroad.

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