In honor of Pride month, Vangeline Theater/ New York Butoh Institute and Howl Arts have come together in collaboration to present Queer Butoh 2021 Tuesdays June 8, 15 and 22nd, 2021 at 8pm. The online performances featuring LGBT/Q butoh dancers from Singapore, South Africa and Italy will stream Free at Howl Arts. After each live stream, the video presentations will be available HERE until June 30, 2021. This year the featured artists’ work will reflect on the intersection of Butoh and Queerness.

Butoh originated in Japan with a homoerotic work titled Kinjiki (Forbidden Colors) by Tatsumi Hijikata in 1959. This performance was received with mixed reviews and considered extremely controversial among those who witnessed it. In a desire to differentiate his new dance form, Hijikata originally called it ‘ankoku butoh’ (‘dance of utter darkness’) but as it attracted other artists, it’s title was shortened to Butoh, a term used for the dance form today. Even though Hijikata created Butoh in rejection of western dance following WWII, it does have roots in German Expressionist dance, drawing from the writings French authors and political activists Jean Genet and Antonin Artaud, and others.

Curator for Queer Butoh, Vangeline, is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form Butoh, and the artistic director of the Vangeline Theater in New York. Vangeline is a 2018 NYFA/ NYSCA Artist Fellow in Choreography, the winner of the 2015 Gibney Dance’s Beth Silverman-Yam Social Action Award, and author of the critically acclaimed book “Butoh: Cradling Empty Space” (2020). The Vangeline Theater is home to the New York Butoh Institute, dedicated to the advancement of Butoh in the 21st century.

Performance Schedule

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 8pm: XUE (Singapore) in Flowers, performed in 2019 in Brooklyn, NY, with a live accompaniment on electric guitar by John Barrington, an improvised score integrated with ASMR style field recordings of hand-manipulated chrysanthemums. In collaboration with Mika Orotea and John Barrington.
VHS Documentation: Mika Orotea.
With introduction by the artist (60 minutes).

XUE is a surrogate for artist Sher Chew — an eponymous conductor of clandestine realities, activated through live performance informed by the art of butoh. XUE is interested in aesthetic production as intervention, cultivating an impressionistic style of world building as a form of critical resistance. Read more about XUE HERE.

XUE - Photo courtesy of the artist

XUE – Photo courtesy of the artist


Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 8pm: Damiano Fina (Italy) performs Helios and talks about Queer Butoh Pedagogy (60 minutes).

Damiano Fina is an artist and writer, founder of the FÜYA method. A pedagogical approach to dance, alchemy and their spiritual origin since the Pleistocene. Since 2004 its artistic research has been influenced by alchemy, the ancient rituals of Classical Greece, the teachings of the Zen master Dogen, butoh dance, radical queer theory and continuous readings and meditations.  Read more about Fina HERE.

Damiano Fina - Photo by Riccardo Panozzo

Damiano Fina – Photo by Riccardo Panozzo


Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021 at 8pm: Tebby W. T. Ramasike (South Africa) in In Search of a Soul: A Blind Man’s Cry … the appeal, performed at TATWERK Berlin in February 2015. With introduction by the artist. (60 minutes).

Tebby Ramasike, is a South African choreographer, dancer/performer, dance teacher & researcher, butoh practitioner, cultural activist, residing in Europe since 1995. He traveled extensively during a period of research and collaborations, working with internationally acclaimed choreographers and teachers. He was nominated and won a number of prestigious choreography and dance awards. In 1999 he founded TeBogO Dance Ensemble (TBO), renamed TeBogO Dance – TBO, which since its inauguration has been invited to perform and teach internationally. Read more about Ramasike HERE.

Tebby Ramasike - Photo by Didier Berthelot & Fabrice Pairault

Tebby Ramasike – Photo by Didier Berthelot & Fabrice Pairault


Howl! Happening is a space of untamed creativity. Howl! Happening curates exhibitions and stages live events that showcase the historical legacy and contemporary culture of the East Village and Lower East Side. It is also dedicated to preserving the archives of artists who spent their creative lives working in this vibrant community and houses the Estates of artist Arturo Vega and the beloved performance artist, Tom Murrin aka “The Alien Comic.” To learn more about Howl Arts, Howl! Happening – Gallery | Performance Space | Archive, click HERE.

WHAT: Queer Butoh 2021

WHEN: Tuesdays – June 8, 15 and 22nd, 2021 at 8pm.

WHERE: Online at Howl Arts.

Tickets:  Free

To visit the Vangeline Theater/New York Butoh Institute website, click HERE.

Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton from Michelle Tabnick Public Relations press release.

Featured image: XUE (Sher Chew)- Photo by Richie Duque