Friday, April 24, 2009

Christina Braun Butoh Costume Test at Tenderloin National Forest

Today I met with the butoh dancer Christina Braun at The Tenderloin National Forest to test out some of my hats on site to see what would work for her performance. She will be dancing for the grand opening of Tenderloin Natioinal Forest on May 9th. Her butoh improve piece will be in collaboration with the musician/composer Jeffrey Scott Perry who will play electric guitar. Christian has named our group collaboration Nectar.
Here is info on the space and grand opening:

I really enjoyed photographing her against the vibrantly colorful murals. It was also interesting to see how she changed her moods with each different hat. I know that when she has her white make-up on it will be a very dramatic pairing of costuming with movements. She may be wearing a different garment but I am glad I got a chance to photograph her in this old kimono from my grandma. I think it is from the 1950's and I like that it has some patchwork on it. It has a rich hidden past life. I also thought the kimono pattern and color went well with Rigo's blue and white tile pathway.

I was curious about the process of creating a butoh improve piece with music. Christina told me that she will give Mr. Perry a sort of outline of moods and gestures for every few seconds of her movements, like " 2-5 seconds-watches flower petals fall" With this outline, I think Mr. Perry will roughly compose a piece and email it to her and then she will practice a few time to that. I don't think they will be rehearsing together at all and will create the piece live on site for the festival. Such an interesting way to collaborate! The music will respond to Christina's rough outline of movements and moods and center on a theme about a humming bird using feedback, digital effects, and downright virtuosic performance technique on electric guitar.
Here is Mr. Perry's website:

My children loved this image below and can't wait for the performance. They both have been practicing this expression in the mirror all evening and entertained themselves to no end.

Christina found a dead potted plant in the corner of the benches and created this poignant gesture below. I have posted more images on my Flickr site:

I look forward to working with Christina on this project and on The SubZero water dance piece in June (see earlier postings). Here is her bio:

Choreographer Christina Braun's collaborations with composers have been presented regularly since 2002, including the Thailand International Butoh Festival "New Generations" 2006, and the West Wave Dance Festival "World Forms" 2007. Christina has danced with Katsura Kan since 2004, Koichi and Hiroko Tamano's Harupin-Ha since 1998, and Mary Sano and her Duncan Dancers since 1997. Christina choreographed the 2007 Woman's Will theatrical production of Mac Wellman's Antigone.

Christina’s project SF Butoh LAB's mission is to promote peace through art exchange by producing new dance performances, symposia and workshops. In 2008, Christina co-created BUTOH San Francisco, whose purpose is to foster the growth of the Bay Area Butoh artist and audience communities. Christina curates an ongoing Saturday movement class, the Berkeley Butoh Experience. As a facilitator to creativity and performance training, Christina gratefully utilizes the teachings of Butoh masters Akiko Motofuji, Yumiko Yoshioka, Akira Kasai, and Yoshito and Kazuo Ohno.


  1. these photos are brilliant! you've created such rich tableaus with the hats, the movements, the colors and the dancer's expressions. i'd never heard of the tenderloin national forest---thank you for the introduction!

  2. How fun! Thanks for sending along - the pics are great, such a fun, colorful location. As always, your hats are just amazing!

  3. Awesome photos! The grand opening looks like a ton of fun this Saturday. See you there!