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In Memory of Kazuo Ohno

Kazuo Ohno passed away today. He was 103. With Hijikata Tatsumi, he founded Butoh. He was one of the most beautiful dancers.

You can read a bit more about him here and here.

I’ve organized some videos of him performing, below.

Here’s something older, a trailer for a film featuring Ohno and others:

Ohno never stopped dancing. He performed in a wheelchair in the 1990s, and the following videos see him dancing with Virginie Marchand on his 99th birthday:

And this last one is my favorite, but you’ll have to click through for it.

May he rest in peace.

  • A. D. Jameson is the author of five books, most recently I FIND YOUR LACK OF FAITH DISTURBING: STAR WARS AND THE TRIUMPH OF GEEK CULTURE and CINEMAPS: AN ATLAS OF 35 GREAT MOVIES (with artist Andrew DeGraff). Last May, he received his Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the Program for Writers at UIC.

6 thoughts on “In Memory of Kazuo Ohno

    1. Butoh is where I began my study of contemporary dance. When I first saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

      From the NY Times obit:

      His last Japanese performances were in 2007. Past his 100th year, he sometimes “danced” with his hands alone or crawled on all fours to communicate with his audience, making use of the working parts of a body ravaged by illness and age, perhaps the perfect metaphor for the dark art of Butoh.

      Dark, but also very beautiful. And at times very whimsical and joyous.

      1. Yeah, I’ve seen some way over-the-top Butoh performances. Love it all. The manic and the barely moving. The deep dark contortions and the lithe contours. The idea of dancing from within the womb changed my concept of art forever. I’m as indebted to Ohno as I am to Coltrane and Calvino.

  1. Thanks Adam. More to check out.

    Does anyone remember the beginning of the third section of Hal Hartley’s Flirt set in Japan? It begins with a dance number. Similar? I can’t recall too well, but there is a shot of a dancer rising from below the frame that is very frightening.

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