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Kazuo Ohno


(October 27, 1906 – June 1, 2010)
was a Japanese dancer and inspirational figure in the dance form "Butoh".

Butoh is an avant-garde dance form that originated in post WWII Japan,
characterized by white body paint and conceptual, tortured movements.


"The best thing someone can say to me is that
while watching my performance they began to cry.
It is not important to understand what I am doing;
perhaps it is better if they don't understand, but just respond to the dance."


“ My intention in dressing as a woman onstage
has never been to become a female impersonator,
or to transform myself into a woman.
Rather, I want to trace my life back to its most distant origins.
More so than anything else,
I long to return to where I've come from.”


A Message to the Universe
by Kazuo Ohno, 1998

“On the verge of death one revisits the joyful moments of a lifetime.

One’s eyes are opened wide-gazing into the palm,
seeing death, life, joy and sorrow with a sense of tranquility.

This daily studying of the soul, is this the beginning of the journey ?

I sit bewildered in the playground of the dead.
Here I wish to dance and dance and dance and dance,
the life of the wild grass.

I see the wild grass, I am the wild grass, I become one with the universe.
That metamorphosis is the cosmology and studying of the soul.

In the abundance of nature I see the foundation of dance.
Is this because my soul wants to physically touch the truth ?

When my mother was dying
I caressed her hair all night long
without being able to speak one word of comfort.
Afterwards, I realized that I was not taking care of her,
but that she was taking care of me.

The palms of my mother’s hands are precious wild grass to me.

I wish to dance the dance of wild grass to the utmost of my heart.”

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