Message of Solidarity On Being Face-to-Face/LIVE

As Butoh Lantern, we have carried out intensive butoh programs and butoh retreats, during the pandemic period, which started in March 2020. Each of our programs was organized as a face-to-face /LIVE international events.

We wish to share the principles to which we have devoted our lives and work as artists. In order to do this, we have positioned ourselves to continue to work during this period when art, art institutions and venues have been sacrificed. We believe that canceling our events for whatever reason is the worst choice we can make.

Our USA and Canada tour, which was to happen during the spring and summer of 2020, was the first and last event we had to cancel. After that, our Serbia event in August 2020 was not possible because the country closed down 15 days before our event. Almost overnight we were able to shift our program to Istanbul.  We developed the Istanbul process to include video /photography projects, street and studio performances, as well as simultaneous face-to-face /LiIVE and zoom workshops for international participants.

After Istanbul, we organized a 3-month Lviv, Ukraine international program covering the fall and winter of 2020; during our time in Lviv, we created street performances, gallery performances, presentations & performances in art centers, studio performances and intensive training workshops. 

In January, 2021, we started with a one-month program at the Theater Madrasa, which is a research center in the mountains outside the city in Turkey, with all kinds of opportunities. This international program was found to be very successful by the participants, instructors and the Madrasah team, so we held our 2nd month long retreat in March. We organized indoor and outdoor performances, presentations and seminars, a workshop program lasting 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and butoh jams. Many of the January students returned for our March event in addition to some of our Ukrainian participants from the Lviv project.

When our Tanzania event, planned for the spring of 2021, was canceled due to the slow pace of the organization, we started to create an alternative program in Novi Sad, Serbia. When this event was canceled 2 weeks prior, following the continuation of curfews in Serbian cities, we worked on other possibilities in a very short time and did not find an option that satisfied us.  At this point, Theater Madrasa expressed its desire to continue collaborating with us. We held a meeting with the participants and decided to organize our 3rd Butoh Retreat this year at the Theater Madrasa.

We see our work, not as a part of the entertainment industry, but as a basic life-sustaining need. A society that gives up its art will eventually fall into spiritual decay. As Butoh Lantern we intend to reflect on ways to continue feeding art to the masses, regardless of the circumstances or restrictions.

We are concerned about the course of human existence on earth (anti-social and introverted behaviors, people restricted from leaving their own countries, external world fear and foreign phobias). By forcing all possibilities, we draw attention to the global importance of the continuation of people from different cultures to live, work and create together under all conditions and circumstances.

Based on the framework and principles stated above, Butoh Lantern will organize a retreat for the third time this year at Theater Madrasa,.

We are excited to be able to work with an international group of artists /researchers who share the same sensitivities with us for 3 more weeks.

Please check out our information and try to join us in this challenging and rewarding process in a splendid natural setting.

Butoh Lantern is a performance and teaching project created by Adam Koan of Shadowbody, Julie Becton Gillum of Asheville Butoh Collective, and Özerk Sonat Pamir.

The idea rose out of a friendship carved by continuity, creativity and support in the face of shock and driving through unknown forces over which we had little power or control.

By continuing to collaborate, teach and perform throughout this debacle, the three of us became a tight-knit group. Our vigilant effort to stop crime, the grief we shared and the support we gave to each other created a power between us.

We work to implement the following within the Butoh world:

(1) A universal ethics & the breaking of silence, with a zero tolerance for abuse, especially to women and children.

(2) A culture of coexistence through dance, which increases the demographic & reaches out to those that are marginalized due to finances, age, gender & ability.

(3) A research into the aesthetics of sustainability & necessity.

(4) A re-communication between natural-urban & emotional ecosystems.