Forty years ago, Tatsumi Hijikata, a young Japanese studying modern dance in Germany, strangled a chicken to death on stage as part of his performance. The resulting uproar among the audience forced him to return to Japan, where the misunderstood choreographer set up the performance discipline of Butoh.
Painting their faces with a thick layer of white powder and dancing in near darkness, the Butoh performers mean to strip away the deceiving facade from the visible world and express the beauty that abounds equally in everything in universe.
Butoh, Hijikata' way of revolting against fixed ideas about beauty, is carried on to this day by more and more dancers from Japan. One of them is Hata Kanoko, who is going to stage A Pieced-Together Sukhavati tonight in Taipei, in which seven Butoh dancers, including three Taiwanese, will express Kanoko' ideas about Taiwanese identity.
After living here for six months, Kanoko found a new way to consider Taiwan's identity problem. "There are many different thinkings and identities on this island ... It's like the country is pieced together. When people try to define this country, drawing the borderlines, a lot of troubles arise. But if we cease to define the borderlines, we can be free to grow," she said in an interview with the Taipei Times.
A Pieced-Together Sukhavati will be performed at Whashang Arts District at 7:30 from March 25 through March 27. Tickets are available at the venue for NT$300 or NT$250 if booked in advance by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.