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Photo: Sankai Juku

Photo: Sankai Juku

Photo: Sankai Juku

Photo: Sankai Juku

Photo: Sankai Juku

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Sankai Juku

Unetsu - The egg stands out of curiosity


25 Aug

ca 1h 30min

Göteborgs Stadsteater



425 kr


Sankai Juku

Unetsu - The egg stands out of curiosity
Göteborgs stadsteater

More than three decades after its world premiere, UNETSU, perhaps the most renowned production in Japanese Butoh dance, is now re-created. The opening in 1986 was highly acclaimed and the production quickly became a modern classic that has been performed around the globe since then. The new interpretation now appearing at The Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival was created in 2018.

This performance circles around the egg as a symbol of birth as well as death, and of the light and the darkness that fill humanity and our connection to the universal. The dancers, with white faces and bright red fingertips, move as if they were strange beings, highly coordinated, slowly, contained, through a dark, sparce scenography of water and sand. Their bodies are reflected in the black surface of the water, the calmness of which is broken by a waterfall. It is uncomplicated, beautiful and moving.

Butoh was created in the beginning of the 1960’s, partly as a reaction to traditional Japanese artistic dance, but also from a desire to free the body. The art form, beyond dance and esthetics, involves ideology and philosophy. The dancers maintain an investigative attitude toward the body in the world. With roots in Japanese culture, Butoh has been strongly influenced by modern western phenomena such as performance art, happenings and avant-garde theatre. It is an art form that is hard to define, between dance and performance art, that focuses on an almost absurd corporeality, often challenging societal taboos. Butoh concerns the dancers’ inner life rather than their ability to perform difficult, quick moves.

Sankai Juku is one of the companies that have strongly contributed to the spreading of Butoh outside of Japan. The company was founded in 1975 by the dancer and choreographer Ushio Amagatsu, who is also the creator of UNETSU. For Amagatsu, who passed away earlier this year, Butoh wasn’t so much a technique nor an intellectual attitude, but rather an attempt to articulate the inner depths of a person and the common emotions that unite us, be they peaceful or brutal.

Sankai Juku has previously visited Gothenburg twice, in 1985 and 1992. On their second visit they performed the original version of UNETSU here at The Gothenburg City Theatre. International guest performances were unusual here at that time, and Sankai Juku contributed with their performance to the inspiration that led to the inception of The Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival two years later. With this summer’s UNETSU, the festival pays homage to that earlier era and to the founders of our event.  By presenting this new version of the work, we’re making it possible for a new generation of performing arts audiences to experience the power that generated Sankai Juku’s reputation and sparked the beginning of our festival as well. We’re closing the circle.

Direction, choreography and design: AMAGATSU Ushio 
Assisted by: SEMIMARU
Music: YAS-KAZ, YOSHIKAWA Yoichiro
Dancers: TAKEUCHI Sho, ICHIHARA Akihito, MATSUOKA Dai, ISHII Norihito, IWAMOTO Taiki, TAKESE Makoto, ITO Soutaro
Tour Manager: Gaëlle Seguin / [H]ikari Production
Co-production: Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, France and Sankai Juku, Tokyo, Japon / with the support of Shiseido and Toyota.

UNETSU is presented with the generous support of The Stena Foundation.

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