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AMA–NO–GAWA explores the material and movement of the cosmos through the Butoh body. Ankoku Butoh, the controversial avant-garde Japanese dance form also known as the ‘dance of darkness’, has inspired, primarily through its originating spirit, Tatsumi Hijikata and his principal performer Yoko Ashikawa – a seemingly inexhaustible exploration into the realm of body consciousness.

AMA–NO–GAWA features Swedish Butoh choreographer and performer, Frauke, one of the leading exponents of Ankoku Butoh who has developed the Butoh body in both Sweden and Japan. Frauke choreographs and collaborates with South Africa’s First Physical Theatre Company in creating a new African Butoh work. The dance explores the AMA–NO–GAWA or ‘heavenly river’ of the cosmos and the natural and energetic material phenomenon within the universe. The work was created through a deep investigation into the embodiment of the performers from which resonates an inspired constellation of movement that moves beyond conventional dance vocabularies. It is a dance of cosmic energies that aims to move audiences on an elemental and physical level.

AMA-NO-GAWA features an original music score written by Henrik Åström.



Photos taken at Centenary Hall, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa, 23 June 2010 by Sian Cohen.



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Endangered is a dance performance inspired by the theory of evolution — the origin of the large variation found in the biological world. The work premiered at Atalante in Gothenburg, Sweden, in May 2012.

In Endangered the Butoh choreographer Frauke creates a powerful dance that touches the spectator to the bone.

Endangered consists of six living scenes in the solo format. The costumes have an integral role in the choreography. They are the amazing creations of Matilda Larsson: Birds nests covering Frauke’s breasts, a ghostly tent of resurrected limbs or a red dress–all capable of concealing what is up or down. But they are never spectacular just for the sake of being so.

What could easily have become six beautiful pearls on a string comes together as a mighty whole, where Henrik Åström’s music, Viktor Wendins lighting design and Åsa Thureborn’s set design bear equal weight amplifying Frauke’s choreography. The light and music also binds together the images and gives us time to reflect.

The Endangered team has studied bones and archaeology, looking for something beyond the time we live in. But there is no history to understand here, just a deep experience to take in. Many visual artists are approaching dance today. Frauke is rather the other way, she lets her dance control the visual world. Maybe the two are one and the same for her.

The dance consists of slow movement. Every gesture is carved out so that the human body is distanced and becomes something else–something thin and delicate, but with extremely high density. The transformation belongs to the alluring magic of Butoh.

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Photos by Åsa Thureborn.


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