SU-EN Butoh Company is active in Sweden since 1994, with performances, projects, dance films and publications. The company offers workshops, camps and apprenticeship training in SU-EN Butoh Method, a method developed from SU-EN’s training with Tomoe Shizune, the artistic director of Tomoe Shizune & Hakutobo, where Yoko Ashikawa was teaching and choreographing in Tokyo between 1988-1994. Ashikawas work was developed through 20 years of being part of Tatsumi Hijikata’s Ankoku Butoh, and later further developed by Tomoe Shizune. SU-EN graduated through a so called Debut performance (Hata age koen in Japanese) in 1992, with the performance Kaze no Cho at Tiny Alice, Tokyo under supervision of Tomoe Shizune & Hakutobo and was given the artist name SU-EN. Through this direct contact with these historically very important dancers, SU-EN has a direct lineage of Ankoku Butoh. SU-EN introduced this lineage of Butoh to Sweden in 1994, when she moved back to Sweden after 8 years in Japan. The work has been developed further and is still in development, and has evolved to SU-EN Butoh Method.
SU-EN Butoh Method consists of SU-EN Basic Training and the Body Materials, a vocabulary of about 70 different materials which are trained, and used for the choreographies. Some would be original materials that Hijikata created and later Ashikawa developed. Some are totally new Body Materials created by SU-EN. As part of the Butoh student’s training of SU-EN Butoh Method, the students will join in performances and assist in workshops, still from an apprenticeship point of view and as students. To keep the artistic level of the SU-EN Butoh Method and the Butoh Body of SU-EN Butoh Company, and to educate dancers with sufficient knowledge in this method, around 4-5 years of training is required. The training is not full time. The training is done in phases; 1, 2, 3 and 4. Only dancers that have completed phase 3 are entitled to teach the Body Materials, to develop their own method, based on the SU-EN Butoh Method, and to use SU-EN choreographic elements in their own performances.
Dancers with examination until 2020 are: TO-EN in 2009. KAI-EN in 2010. Along with the Debut performance and diploma an artist name is given. The dancers with the artist name of SU-EN Butoh Company examination will be introduced to the Butoh community in Japan, and are also living bodies of the artistic, spiritual, physical embodiment of the lineage from Hijikata-Ashikawa/Tomoe Shizune-SU-EN.
Any other Butoh student or dancer that promotes herself as having studied with SU-EN, is seen by SU-EN Butoh Company in the category of being inspired by the work or having had a basic introduction. Inspiration or basic introduction will never provide the same level of the Butoh Body and knowledge of the Body Materials as the proper training with examination, but only a small portion of a very intricate and demanding dance method.
”collaboration with, dancing with, performing with or working with SU-EN Butoh Company” is not acceptable
Furthermore, SU-EN Butoh Company sees the need to be clear about various methods, and not confuse that all Butoh is the same or that there exists a universal Butoh method. For example Tanaka Min’s Body Weather is its own, very distinct dance method. A problem in the development of future generations of Butoh dancers today is that they only take part in various short workshops of various (contradictory) methods, then gather fragments from these, and consider themselves as fully trained according to their personal needs.
SU-EN Butoh Company’s main vision is to educate dancers with sufficient skills so that the Butoh Body of Hijikata-Ashikawa/Tomoe-SU-EN will live on.
If anyone can provide any other facts about this or need to discuss how they should describe their experience, please feel free to contact SU-EN Butoh Company’s office at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SU-EN Butoh Company is supported by:
Swedish Arts Council, Uppsala City Arts Council and The Swedish Arts Grants Committee.