Photo and art: Gunnar H Stening
Documentation photos not available. Video only.
© SU-EN Butoh Company


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In a space of incompleteness
She senses her way
Following the fragrance of powdery black
Softly licking a barely visible wound
Listening through fingertips
Skin ripped, healing with an itch
What remains when pain leaves?
When civilisation falls asleep?
Bodies shimmering
Embracing the world


Choreography and dance: SU-EN (Sweden)
Light design: Svante W Monie (Sweden)
Music and live sound: Lee Berwick (UK)
Space: SU-EN and Svante W Monie
Stage art and costume: SU-EN
Light operator on tour: Lina Kramar, Uli Ruchlinski
Production: Mon no Kai/SU-EN Butoh Company
Supported by: Swedish Arts Council, City of Uppsala, Cultural Affairs Board
Thanks to: Gilles Kennedy, Gottsundateatern, Daipan/Seattle, Zendora Dance Company and TNC Theatre/New York, Dansens Hus/Stockholm and Dansstationen/Malmö

The solo enters a world of leftover particles, the powdery soot making random patterns. Civilisation and cultural human behaviour relinquish remnants that cannot be controlled or discarded. The powdery soot makes its own dance in chimneys in cottages and industries, threatening the existence of living beings.

The process of organic material is an ever-changing process. The wood is chopped in the spring from logs, burnt in the fireplace in winter, leaving heat to warm our bodies, leaving ash that we throw on the ash pile, and leaving soot – a material disintegrating, dissolving, transforming, changing.

Prize-winning Swedish choreographer and butoh artist SU-EN presented her new solo butoh performance SOOT, for the first time in autumn of 2012, titled by performing arts critic Gilles Kennedy following full rehearsals. SU-EN worked closely with her collaborators for sound, light, and visuals in this return to solo performance after many years of creating large ensemble pieces for major venues.

Although SU-EN works significantly with colour, this new work has black as a theme. Black drinks in all other colours and devours light. The theatrical space is a space between all colours, the blackness of the room is shifted only through soft colour shades.

The piece was developed as a work in progress during autumn 2012 in the U.S. The full-length premiere took place in February 2013, at Dansens Hus in Stockholm, Sweden, after which it will tour in Scandinavia and internationally.