“Kazuo Ohno” posted from: The Citrus Report | Art, Culture, News, Graffiti, Music, Street Art, Clothing, Politics, Reviews
I was walking across the bridge to Manhattan, hungry, clutching my stomach and writing in my head. I was in the Financial district, saw workers leaving their stores and shutting their gates. I felt around in my pockets, moving a ball of lint in between my fingers, taking it out and releasing it into the wind. I watched it scale the stories of buildings until it faded along with the day. Night arrived when I was in SoHo. I kept walking, passing restaurants and their windows; smelling meals I couldn’t afford and imagining their morsels digesting in my body. There was movement behind me- people yelling and screaming. I saw a door shatter and a woman throw her bags at a lover. I passed by, going around the fight, trudging along aimlessly, eventually passing the Village, Chelsea and the West Thirties. I walked up and down 42nd Street, looking for lost bits of money carelessly strewn, having remembered finding a hundred and several twenties on different occasions. There was nothing but trash and half-eaten pretzels. I watched a cop on a horse watching me. His glasses reflected the light surrounding the city and I watched that too spread upward into the sky, making its normally black color into a velvet violet. I left, walking up a few more blocks and resting against a building whose architecture I admired.
A door opened and a small, paper thin man appeared to my right. He was smiling and had the energy of a child. Instantly I felt warm around him. He walked closer to me and asked how I was doing. I told him I was alright, just reading the street.
“I love to watch people,” he said. “They interesting.
We talked for awhile, and he thanked me for “allowing [him] to speak English, for [he] rarely [was] able to in Japan.”
He knocked on the door behind him, a large sphere of a head appeared and nodded. He turned to me and asked if I wanted to go in. I said yes and followed him through a labyrinth of corridors. A soft drone of noise was percolating through a crowd of people and curtains. He brought his mouth to my ear and whispered, saying that I had to stay here, that we couldn’t go any further, to be quiet and to look through the curtain. I brought my fingers to the fabric and pulled it back. A sliver of light immediately flooded my vision. After adjusting my eyes I saw two figures completely cloaked in white, covered in paint and fabric. One was utterly still, moving slower than a mountain while the other moved magically between him, slowly, stoically. His arms started to vibrate, their movements originating from a pulse at the outer edges of his limbs, the movement moving like liquid toward his torso. I turned to the man who brought me inside and asked him what this was.
I brought my eyes back to the slit in the curtain and watched for an hour standing, not feeling anything. The performance finished and I turned to the man and thanked him, told him that I had never seen or imagined anything as beautiful as this before. He brought his hand to my face and wiped a falling tear that I had not noticed for the performance had paralyzed me. I walked back home that night, feeling nothing and thinking nothing- just floating through spaces between the street and sidewalk.
Kazuo Ohno, one of the founders, creators and the soul of Butoh died today at the age of 103.
He was an inspiration to everyone from Nobuyoshi Araki to Jean Genet to Bjork- a man whose creation of an art form with friend Tatsumi Hijikata still ripples out in waves, affecting and effecting people like myself days and years away. He was a man who gave his life up completely to his art, never retreating into himself, but spilling himself completely on stage for everyone to see in every performance.
“After his 90th birthday, he was still active as a Butoh dancer… Kazuo Ohno has continued dancing as if he was nourished by his age. When he could not walk by himself, he danced with the supports by others. When he could not stand even with the supports, he danced as he seated himself. When his legs didn’t move as he wanted, he danced with his hands. When he lost himself, he crawled on his knees and audience were so moved by watching his back.” —An excerpt from the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio biography on him
– Jason Jaworski
San Francisco, CA
Posted By The Citrus Report