Julie Becton Gillum

Julie is the artistic director of the Asheville Butoh Festival, has been creating, performing and teaching dance in the US, France, and Mexico for over 40 years. Julie has received numerous grants and awards for her choreography. She was awarded the 2008-09 NC Choreography Fellowship and used the funds to travel to Japan to study Butoh, her primary form of artistic expression. 

Julie will share an introduction to Noguchi Taiso (exercises). This practice is slow and gentle, great for all bodies and a fabulous companion to butoh.

“The materials that constitute our bodies are undoubtedly of this earth and have participated in and experienced the creation process . . . Our body, living here and now, includes the history of the earth.” 
Michizo Noguchi

Michizo Noguchi, a gymnastics coach and founder of this method in post-WWll Japan, was confronted with a realization that when everything else is gone the body still remains alive and subject to gravity. He used the body as a primary source and tool for developing a new kind of movement practice based in principles of nature, the way matter moves in space and time. The human body is 70% water, the rest is earth materials.

Noguchi proposes that natural effort free movement does not fight gravity but embraces it, using its force to assist the movement. A main principle of Noguchi Taiso is movement as a reaction. Instead of making a move intentionally the practitioner creates the conditions for the movement to arise as a natural response.

Noguchi Taiso has been adopted by many butoh, dance and theatre practitioners in Japan especially for its ability to empty the body of various learned, superficial and culturally derived patters of behavior, making it more transparent, aligning it with the more universal forces that are at play.

For more information see Julie Becton Gillum’s company Asheville Butoh Collective.

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.