Photography Joshua Weiner
Lauren Farber, New York:
Thank you for the wonderful workshop experience. I find it an honor to study with you. You are changing my perspectives on how to navigate through the world more effectively with the disabilities I have. Four years ago I was losing my ability to walk due to the muscle loss I had, caused by the muscular dystrophy. I was very doubtful of a future without the use of a wheel chair caused by this progressive disease. My neurologist suggested yoga and prescribed medication to manage pain and cramping of the muscles. I would like to write an article on the effect that my studies of dance with you are having on my mobility, balance and health.
Marissa Zappas, New York City:
Thank you so much for these last few days. I cannot express how incredible I think your classes are, and how nuanced, intuitive and beautiful your style of teaching is. I really appreciate being able to use butoh as a therapeutic practice at this point and feel safe to explore in your class. Especially in themes of femininity, loss and trauma which I am currently working through. Coming from a background in ballet (20 years) I also value learning actual technique and I greatly look forward to learning real butoh technique in the near future.
My sincerest thanks for gifting me this class. It has been one of the best journeys I've been on this year, without having to travel anywhere, physically; but to be able to close my eyes, and deeply breathe within the boundaries of a modest-size room, wherein I can 'travel' into a new body and space of mind; it was wonderful. Thank you so much for this experience. I hope to return soon. I am blessed to know you. With deep appreciation and enchantment, Lisa.
Brandon Fisette, New York:
Tonight's butoh class with Vangeline was a totally new and fresh way to think about this work. We were able to go deeper than ever into the work while remaining grounded in the biology of the human body thanks to a talk about different areas of the brain, theorizing on what we are accessing when we go into butoh. It was truly astounding.
I am amazed at how this teacher continues to teach me so much, something new every time, so present and fluid and entrancing.
Alana Rosa, winner, Best Actress 2015, Brazilian Press Award:
I want to say thanks for the butoh class. This class has impacted me a lot as an artist and as a person. Also like to share what I have just won the Brazilian Press Awards this year, and I'm happy with the growth of my work, and feel how much the Butoh has encouraged me and made my life so much better.
Chris Carlone, NYC:
I started taking Butoh classes 2 months ago with Vangeline France at Vangeline Theatre. I can honestly say that my life has truly been changed from it. I feel really lucky to have found it. I’m still very much figuring it out. First thing I must say is that I have never in my life had a teacher like Vangeline. I’ve never had a teacher who put every ounce of her soul into every single student all at once! Every word she speaks is chosen carefully and so meaningful and heartfelt. Her passion in class is infectious and makes you want to push harder. It’s truly thrilling to be in her class and to have just finished a 4 day workshop with her that has pushed me to new levels.
Alexandra Borovski, NY:
Thank you so much for the amazing workshop and transformative Butoh experience. I left the workshop on Sunday feeling a sense of empowerment and tender rawness... like I had been turned inside out. Thank you for cultivating a challenging and supportive space for us all to explore together. I genuinely felt encouraged and protected to suspend my being and I can't thank you enough for allowing that spaciousness.
Maria Fernanda Hubeaut, NYC:
In the last days i was extremely busy reorganizing my life again and in the middle I took 2 days Butoh worksop with Vangeline France. The experience was intense, painful, beautiful, powerful dance from the tanden or hara point, that they call the gate of the origin. We touch the chaos with were bodies made of clay, we melt into it, we go back together into ourselves, and into each of others there, at the end we exchange soft heart feelings creating a bridge that remember us in our humanity.
Thank you Vangeline all my gratitude for your lead in this classes.
I have been taking Vangeline's butoh classes for about two months and since the first time, these classes became an integral and essential part of my training. I work as a solo performer, curator and I lead action theater workshops in various art academies and residency programs. Vangeline's classes are the most profound and inspiring classes to which I return every week.
What I find really great is that classes are not oriented to one particular aim, as for instance, learning one particular dance technique, so anyone can take the classes (I once asked one of the dancers if it helps him on stage and he said it helps him in life). Yet the workshops are very methodical and intelligently build. Through very simple techniques we are lead into very profound and deep states of mind. At the same time non of the experiences are mystified, instead Vangeline gives very sober and simple instructions. I find this a truly rare ability of a teacher to know how to handle both theoretical and experiential knowledge.
Vangeline creates very safe environment in which every form of expression is welcome. After taking these classes I feel much less fear expressing myself both on stage and in everyday life. Which is so important as that immediacy contributes to a stronger presence on stage. Another sign of a good class is the community - a great group of people that keeps on returning and thus contribute greatly to commitment and depth of the practice. Classes are always very well attended, but despite the number of people, Vangeline devotes a healthy amount of personal attention as well as cultivates the sense of working in the collective.
Angela Urata, San Francisco:
This past Saturday, I entered the dance floor afraid that I wouldn’t belong. Thank you for your authenticity, clarity of vision, rigor and generosity. A liminal space was created, where we could shed skin, contracting into the gestational and expanding into our own vastness.
Thank you so much. Your offering resonates with me very deeply.
I have been experiencing so much love and openness. I can't express how much I appreciate the attention you share with me and everyone you work with. Being open to this feeling of light and love is something so profound.
I would love to make this work a main focus for me in my life.
Please come back to sf before too long.
Jackie Orr, Sociology Professor:
Vangeline -- It was quite wonder-full to get to experience the class, the space and intensities you created, and the wild possibility of bodies in Butoh worlds. Thank you so much. I am surprised by how the traces of the class keep lingering in my bodymind, leaving me feeling both very grounded and very opened. Deeply connected and deeply unsettled.
Erick Scheid, San Francisco:
Vangeline's workshops are an unpredictable deeply moving spiritual experience within Butoh. She is an antenna-like being, a transmitter. uncondtional care, guidance and trust is expressed through the ritualistic exercises in the "form" of Butoh. In my experience it goes beyond the physical movements. Her shamanistic qualities help one go so deep within the many layers of the emotional, the spiritual self...to find ...and seek the movement and stillness within is special and life changing..which for some of us can take weeks to process.
i would recommend these workshops to anyone who loves to dance, move, think, breathe, play, go deep within, be still, express to uncover layering and walls within yourself...to discover a realm of Butoh.
Delana Motter, performer ( San Francisco):
i extend my gratitude for the profound offering..very transformational indeed..your presence as a leader and teacher so strong yet almost translucent..as only a guide between the realms can be..
i came to the workshop with the desire to study further the dance form which is known as butoh..a title of an art so undefinable..
though what i experienced was nothing short of shamanic trance journeys..
some of the exercises awoke memories of being a warrior..fierce training of the body/mind spirit complex..
it felt like deeply important work we were doing~not only for ourselves, there , in a single room in San Francisco, but for humanity..healing the individual IS healing the collective.
Raquel Almazan writer/performer:
Having trained with Vangeline for two years and working with here on my own solo work has been a catalyst for my growth as an artist and in the butoh form. Her technique is so inviting to artist of all levels of butoh exposure. In her sessions there is a true space of limitless possibilites. Going to the deep places that my work required to explore. Most importantly Vangeline offers what most instructors take a lifetime to develop, the ability to take you on a massive journey. A journey that moves you through space,
emotional dimensions and your unlocked truths.
The time I shared with others in an empty space with your guidance was fantastically healing.
I feel i entered more deeply into the cave of my heart (the parts i have not visited for longer than my mind can understand)
thank you so very much for the invitation to go into the embodiment of commitment
and allowing the commitment to be what held me in trust
it was a wonderful process that i will look forward to doing again
in love and appreciation.
Irena Grgona, Actor:
I feel that Vangeline's work and the high artistic standards that she upholds complement the Meisner acting, movement, voice and masks techniques that I have studied at William Esper. I would highly recommend her classes to any actors wishing to uncover, explore and express sides of themselves and their humanity creatively in a safe and stimulating environment. Her gentleness, love for people and Butoh, made this an extremely inspiring and safe environment in which to explore, break free and create without the pressure of performance. She is one of the most passionate, generous, gentle and gifted artist and person that I know.
Kate Clugston, Dancer, San Francisco
Thank for a deeply interesting workshop. I found your techniques to be quite profound. I've danced Butoh before and have practiced energy work with chakra dance, but never have I experienced the simultaneous depth and lucidity in this split/consciousness state during performance. It was wild and peaceful at the same time and I'm very open to exploring this more.
Stacia, Performing Arts High School student (STAC)
You have been such an inspiration for me for the past few months. You working with us has opened my mind to new, more expressive ways to dance, and you have taught me how to put my soul on stage, not just as a performance, but as an offering, putting all inhibitions aside. Thank you for all you have taught me.
Lisa Bertuzzi, Massage Therapist, dancer
Vangeline, I appreciate your consistent and supportive manner.
Butoh challenges me to go to places I believe to be weak or insufficient. In surrendering to those thoughts, the energy becomes available to my body. The technique is so important. I'd like to see more dancers do Butoh, especially young ballet dancers.
Did I tell you that after the workshop last year that I had a spontaneous healing of my lower back? Seriously. It improved my health!
Thank you for bringing this discipline to the world and for your dedication.
Amanda Mee Ae Caughey, dancer
Vangeline offers her knowledge, heart, and soul, to each participant of the class, responding energetically to everyone's individual needs. Through her words, and presence, I feel energized to push past the limits of my body and mind, and safe to release emotional blockages, and express my true heart's desires. She provides an environment where I can explore my true being, and push through my fears. Her classes are an oasis which offer an authentic connection to others, and my purest self.
Kat Mac Millan, performer, doula, mother
When I work with Vangeline I am immediately reminded on a basic visceral level WHY I perform, and WHO I am. Vangeline, with her precise care and strong direction creates a space where I immediately feel safe enough to touch my truth and vulnerability, my strength and humor and then dance and move from this place. In a quest for authenticity and excellence both onstage and in daily life, my work with Vangeline is fundamental. She offers each one an opportunity to access themselves and then, through vigorous investigation open and express like never before.
Shoshana Green, Dance therapist, Butoh artist
Vangeline's teaching provided me an unforgettable opportunity to deeply feel, express and shed layers of conditioning which so often hide my humanity. The explorations in her workshops allowed me to deeply listen and respond to a raw honesty in movement, which continues to impact the quality of my artistic and daily life but also the creative energy I offer back to the community.
Eva Perrotta, Choreographer, Nu Dance Theater:
I have been working with Vangeline since a few years. Her work is always pushing my boundaries helping me to dig deeper into my personal journey. Connecting with my core, with what is essential, and forgetting about the rest. Forgetting about all I learned before everything become possible, open for me to explore. She is always leading me in a intense emotional journey, where my body is telling me as I go along the story.
Connecting with myself, and with others, with no judgement, deeper, and to a strong emotional level. Vangeline is creating a safe and inspirational environment to explore, breaking social and conventional boundaries, allowing to be true to ourselves, and to share.
Vangeline has also been leading workshops for my dance company, helping the dancers, to release their emotional dimension to the dance, not being afraid of showing their hidden parts, and discovering their freedom.
The intensity of her work is unique and deeply inspiring to me.
Mehran Farahbakhsh, NYC
I took a class with Vangeline, and through practices that seemed more physically a challenge, suddenly i found myself through a deep process of imagination, imagining deep thoughts, facing one of my deepest sorrows, I do not know how she did it, maestro, but she was there holding my wings while trying something that is deep and from the guts in this art form, surprisingly later I felt touched and light hearted, and I found myself profoundly resolved with something very personal, and I was extremely amazed at Vangeline being younger than me, and such an admirable soul, soon I learned about her performances and soon i even learned more shocking things about this wonderful woman, she is a true artist, a humble soul, an open soul to mysterious levels of human soul, and of course catching her performance tonite I realized she is not only a master of the arts in butoh, she is a reminder of old masters like Marcel Marceau in the art of miming, a transformational being, and truly some one who will put this art form into a new pedestal, every time she acts she revives it into a new interpretation of it.
I feel that it is about time that in an era that the only thing is left from the art, is the performing art, a rare form of performing art such as what Vangeline offers, to be recognized for what it is, a fascinating medium, and her for who she is, a Maestro, some one who has so much more to offer...and I am very fortunate to have taken classes with her, and were introduced to Butoh from one of the best in the art world...Best wishes and more success to you Vangeline, my teacher, and your partners in the company.