Silhouette of dancer holding a mirror

Silhouettes, Butoh & Rebellious Daughters

When I cut silhouette no 4, of my then 6-month old daughter Taz, it never occurred to me that just 6 years later she would turn around and cut one of me!

Still less did it occur to me that, as the accomplished young woman she is today, cutting silhouettes would be just one of her wide portfolio of performance-art projects. Principal among these is the little-known Japanese art of Butoh, which Taz spent six years studying in Japan before bringing it home to London.

Butoh, is that dance?

Often staged as a solo dance, Butoh seems to combine elements of performance art, dance and meditation with extreme costumes and generally provocative approach to life. It is deeply fascinating, edgy, often slow moving, occasionally uncomfortable to watch, but always thought provoking and challenging. The audience is taken on an emotional journey by the dancer who plays with their human empathy, leading them forward with tiniest of gestures: perhaps the turn of a finger combined with an improbable stance. By the end they are left feeling as if they performed all the movements themselves, with their own body.

I’ve become very taken with it. One of the reasons I like butoh so much is the interesting shapes the dancers contort themselves into. They make great silhouettes!

Butoh Silhouettes

These silhouettes were made from the publicity information put out by Taz. They are essentially cut from some of photos I liked best (or which seemed to lend themselves best to silhouette). They were cut with scissors from back paper before being scanned to make these simple black images.

Early Silhouettes

Silhouette of a young girl with golden border
My silhouette no 4 (the fourth I ever made) of Taz when she was 6 months old
Paper cutting with caption in pencil: Dad's silhouette Love from Natasha 1995
and the silhouette Taz cut of me 6 years later

Rebellious Bodies

About a year ago Taz began talking about wanting to stage an international festival of Butoh in London, inviting performers of international stature from Japan, Europe and America. She felt the little-known art of Butoh was ripe for introduction to a UK audience.

Sounds ambitious? Good luck with that, I thought.

Within a few short months she had assembled a team around her, began talking to various venues around London and obtained funding from the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs. Next she embarked on a grant application to Arts Council England, immediately successful, and began booking her dream list of Performers.

The result is the Rebellious Bodies Festival, which took place in November, travelling not just to London but also to Birmingham, Newcastle and even Jersey.

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5 months ago

These are fabulous!

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