Arts and Entertainment

Unraveling the mystery of Butoh dance

Maureen Freehill is one of three Butoh performers who will showcase their work Saturday, Aug. 30. - Courtesy photo
Maureen Freehill is one of three Butoh performers who will showcase their work Saturday, Aug. 30.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Indonesian pagoda on David Smith’s Vashon property will be the setting for “3 Ways to Change,” an evening of Butoh dance performed by Shinjo Brewer, Maureen Freehill and Bridget Scott at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30.

The pagoda is located at 14725 108th Lane S.W.

Butoh dance is a highly specialized, unconventional and emotionally intense dance form that was first performed in post-World War II Japan. Training for Butoh dance emphasizes rigorous mental exercises that are even more important that physical preparations for the dance, some practitioners say.

According to Dan Hermon, webmaster of Butoh Net, “It is a dance that has as much to do with meditation or martial art training as it does to dance in the conventional sense. It derives its power from what the individual who dances it brings to it in a very mental as well as physical sense.”

All three of the dancers featured in “3 Ways to Change” have studied with Japanese dance legend Kazuo Ohno.

Shinjo Brewer is an ordained Zen Monk living in Sogenji Monastery. She is interested in developing a center where the interconnectness of spirituality, body work and daily livelihood is practiced and cultivated.

Maureen Freehill lived, studied and performed in Japan for five years with Butoh masters. She now teaches and performs in the Pacific Northwest.

Bridget Scott, a Londoner, debuted in 1990 as a member of the Butoh group Katsura Kan and Saltimbanques. Since then, she has collaborated with dancers and artists in Japan and Europe and created solo work, as well as trained in traditional Japanese dance.

Live music, wine and snacks will be available at the performance. Tickets are $10 at the door.

For more information, call Shinjo at 567-5697 or e-mail

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