about vangeline

Vangeline is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form Butoh. She is the Artistic Director of the Vangeline Theater (New York), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese Butoh while carrying it into the 21st century, and the founder of the New York Butoh Institute.

Vangeline is a 2018 NYFA/NYSCA Artist Fellow in Choreography. Her work has been heralded in publications such as the New York Times (“captivating”), Los Angeles Times, (“moves with the clockwork deliberation of a practiced Japanese Butoh artist”), the Ballet Review, and LA Weekly to name a few. In 2016 and 17, her solo Butoh Beethoven: Eclipse received critical acclaim and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as in New York: ‘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."

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, and perceptions of gender.

Vangeline's critically acclaimed butoh works have been presented in New York at Joyce SoHo, White Wave, the New Museum, Dance Theater Workshop, PS122 Performance Space, Triskelion Arts and Abrons Arts Center. She has performed her critically acclaimed works internationally (France, the U.K, Chile, Taiwan, Denmark, Hong Kong, and Germany).

In New York, she was the recipient of a six-month artist residency at PS122 Performance Space ("New, New Stuff"); she has received multiple awards from Puffin Foundation, Japan Foundation, New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York Council on the Arts, Asian American Arts Alliance, Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Robert Friedman Foundation. She is the founder of the 12-year running, award-winning program “Dream a Dream Project", which brings Butoh dance to incarcerated men and women at correctional facilities across New York City. Widely regarded as an expert in her field, Vangeline has taught at  Cornell University, New York University, Brooklyn College, CUNY and Princeton University (Princeton Atelier).

Vangeline in Scotland - 2015

Vangeline is the winner of the 2015 Gibney Dance's Beth Silverman-Yam Social Action Award and the winner of the 2019 Janet Arnold Award from the Society of Antiquaries of London. Film projects include a starring role alongside actors James Franco and Winona Ryder in the feature film by director Jay Anania, 'The Letter (2012-Lionsgate). She has recently been invited to perform for Grammy Award Winning artists SKRILLEX and  Esperanza Spalding; her work is the subject of CNN’s “Great Big Story” "Learning to Dance with your Demons" and "Dance of Darkness."

She is a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and is currently writing a book, which explores a groundbreaking, scientific approach to butoh. Each year, she curates the New York Butoh Institute Festival, taking place in New York City.

Vangeline bewitched the audience as she moved with immense, concentrated slowness. Her drawn out and painstaking movements were hypnotic. Vangeline, with her controlled flow of energy and compelling energetic shifts, obliges a depth of concentration that nullifies time.
— Karen Greenspan. The Ballet Review. Summer 2018 - Page 34-36


Watch Vangeline on CNN's Great Big Story

Film directed by Matthew Placek for Visionaire World of Vangeline's butoh performance in Daniel Arsham Lunar Gardens (2017).

Excerpt from the show Elsewhere performed at Gibney Dance in New York on May 24, 2018, by butoh dancer Vangeline with live music composed by Yuka C. Honda.

                              Vangeline Artist Statement

Whether we explore the Self through words, images, music or movement, we symbolically offer to others a vision and a statement about that which we are. We help define and shape collective ideals by undertaking this journey into ourselves.

Butoh leads us back to our conflicts, our wounded selves, and through the process brings what is hidden into the light. The process is deeply healing and transformative.

Shedding various masks and layers of conditioning leads to more honesty. When we are stripped of our defenses, we can offer our best. We become more capable of intimacy. We can be fully creative.

To quote Psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. ”the more mechanized and fragmented the world around us, the more we must develop the humanity of human relations. The more we live in a mass society, the better we must know how to have intimate relations.”

Butoh can take us on a path to embracing ourselves fully, transforming our Shadow, finding beauty and strength from the depth of our fragility.

It can be an instrument of personal and collective transformation in the 21st century.
This transformation comes from holding a mirror to each other and integrating our many facets - the beautiful and the ugly; and from reintegrating the forgotten of our society into our midst.

Contact: vangeline@vangeline.com