Review- Hyperallergic Magazine- Spectral: The Ghost Dance of Butoh
by David LaGaccia on March 4, 2013
"a terrific visual experience... extremely well done..the dance of darkness became a dance of light"
TIME OUT CHICAGO BEST DANCE VISIT 2011
Honorable mentions: Best dance visits | 2011 in review
Posted in Unscripted blog by Zachary Whittenburg on Dec 28, 2011 at 8:00am
" Her solo, SPECTRAL, which she performed shaking violently, in a heavy white dress, holding a piece of twine and with both eyes rolled back into her skull, was bone-chilling "
Choreographed and conceived by Vangeline, described by the New York Times as “captivating in her devotion to simple movements,” SPECTRAL is a performance of Butoh—the avant-garde Japanese dance form that developed after Hiroshima—that seeks stillness in search of the sacred within. SPECTRAL is Artistic Director Vangeline second collaboration with filmmaker and video Artist Geoff Shelton. Set in a dream landscape with dancers wearing period costumes and white body make up, SPECTRAL/HEAVEN AND EARTH uses unique production elements to create an unknown world of darkness enhanced by projection on smoke and flickering light. Vangeline's solo, which conjures up haunting images of the ghosts of women past and their often forgotten sacrifices, has been critically acclaimed by Time OUT Chicago (Best Dance Visits 2011) and featured in the film The Letter (2012) with Winona Ryder and James FRANCO.
Inspired by the former 19th century Duch textile mill that is now home to the Gaga Arts Center in Garnerville New York, Filmmaker Geoff Shelton and Butoh artist Vangeline have created "Spectral". The mill, built in the 1830’s, employed over 800 women at one time. Over its 170 year history of prosperity, tragedy and abandonment, a strong presence developed within the walls, between the buildings and along the empty roads. Inspired by the history of all the women who worked at the mill making uniforms for soldiers during the Civil War and World War II, Spectral conjures up haunting images of the ghosts of women past and their often forgotten sacrifices.
ABOUT VANGELINE, VANGELINE THEATER AND BUTOH DANCE
Vangeline is an award-winning teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form Butoh. She is Artistic Director of The Vangeline Theater Inc., an all-female dance company that she founded in 2002. With her all-female dance company, Vangeline’s socially conscious performances tie together butoh and activism. Her performances have dealt with subjects as varied as feminism, climate change, war and perceptions of gender.
Vangeline’s Butoh work has been commissioned by Grammy award-winning artists SKRILLEX and Esperanza Spalding, and is featured in a major motion picture “The Letter” with James Franco and Winona Ryder, as well as on CNN's Great Big Story. Recently her solo BUTOH BEEETHOVEN: Eclipse received critical acclaim in New York and was dubbed: ‘incredibly moving and powerful. It is clear that Vangeline is an artist who knows the darkness of Butoh well, and has the incredible skill to make that darkness dance...Vangeline has the control and poise of a true master of Butoh."
The Vangeline Theater engages, empowers, and educates through Butoh. The company has been a leader in the development of contemporary Butoh dance since its founding in 2002. Vangeline Theater fuses the post-apocalyptic vision of Butoh with the near-cinematic aesthetic of 21st Century science-fiction noir. Informed by the expansive vision of pioneering choreographer Vangeline, the Vangeline Theater brings to life her timeless and uniquely American style of Butoh that continues to captivate audiences.
Butoh, the explosive, convention-shattering performance art that has redefined the limits of dance and theater, is the original Japanese contribution to modern dance. The form was created in the late 1950s byTatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, avant-garde postwar Japanese artists who drew upon their native agrarian myths, the iconoclastic theater of Antonin Artaud and the influences of Western modern dance. Today, Butoh enjoys an extraordinarily high level of popularity worldwide, currently being preserved and evolved by dance groups like Sankai Juku and soloists alike.
Vangeline in Spectral
Watch Vangeline on CNN"s Great Big STory