The world of traditional dance in Japan, as that of modern and contemporary dance, is very immense and multifaceted. So as to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of butō it is of great importance to also consider the traditional dance in Japan, in particular in its most complex and renowned forms, i.e., dance (mai) in nō theatre and dance (buyō) in kabuki theatre. In this paper the focus is placed particularly on the significant features of dance in kabuki and its confrontation with nō, modern and contemporary dance phenomena with reference also to the geidan (the artist's commentary on his or her art) by kabuki actors, and other written works of the Edo period. The term buyō is a coinage claimed to have been adopted for the first time by novelist and dramatist Tsubouchi Shōyō in Shingakugekiron (Theory of a new musical theatre, 1904), through which the new dance movement (shinbuyō) was born in Japan. As acknowledged, however, the term buyō combines two different trends and forms within Japanese traditional dance: a) mai (a word more used in the Kamigata area today): a dance characterised by a circular and horizontal movement. It is inspired by kagura-rites which call upon the divinities and consciously lead towards a trance-and by other shamanistic movements. Mai is visible in the most ancient forms of dance in Japan, from kagura to nō dance, etc. b) odori (more frequent in the Kantō area): a dance composed of hops, jumps, bounces and springing, it is an excited and wild (individuai and collective) dance that invigorates and animates popular dances, and is characterised by free and ecstatic liberation, the impulse of joy and unconsciousness. It is derived from furyū odori, nenbutsu odori, kabuki odori and has been developed into the refined and complex form seen on the stages of kabuki theatre. The origin of the circular movement in mai is religious and magical, and consciously invites divinities, spirits. It also coincides with augurai blessing for peace and prosperity in agricultural rites. Mai in nō theatre is an extremely concentrated dance, now conformed to a sequence of modulated and codified movements (shosa), and to a limited variety of shōdan (chanting, musical and choreographic sections), and is highly vague but consequently dense in suggestiveness and poetical resonances. The kabuki dance, odori, on the other hand, is the ranbu, an exalted dance, a parody of the orthodox and more traditional dance models. This latter is a movement of a liberated body, lost in joy and ecstasy, abandoned to impulses and passions in an aesthetical way, characterised by a more rhythmical and marked music. However, through the evolution of kabuki, dance is no longer a popular dance that the dancer enjoys by himself, but a dance that delights the audience, that enjoys the performer's choreutic art. This paper traces the transformations of kabuki dances and their development from the group and circle dance odori to the kabuki buyō (by contemplating the introduction of a new element, furi, i.e., a more mimetic movement, more imitative, and closer to the real-life gestures), to the brilliant solo performances of the onnagata (female impersonators), to male character dance, up until the henge buyō (i.e., dance with metamorphosis where the actor disguises himself in many ditTerent characters with rapid costume changes (hayagawari). In the Japanese theatrical tradition dance is a very important element of the performing arts. The theatre genres of nō, kabuki, etc. are multi-layered arts in which words (poetry), dance, stage movement, chant and music, theatrical and staging setting are involved in an aesthetical world of fascination and charm. As Gunji Masakatsu once said, the history of Japanese theatre is also the history of dance, and it is by means of dance and its body language, before verballanguage, that mind and body are manifested in harmony and transmit emotions and theatrical passions to the audience by way ofthe five senses (sensibility). In kabuki art the eccentric aesthetics of kabukimono, their exoticism and strangeness, the oddness ranging from yūjo kabuki (courtesan kabuki) to wakashu kabuki (young men kabuki), centred on sensuality and sexuality, gradually developed into a more dramatic art divided into many acts that were also combined with dance scenes and other situations. From the influence of the antecedent no theatre, kabuki continues to develop into a theatrical complex structure never forgetting its distinctive sensual and original staging, nor the the actor's art display. The dance is the flower of the actor's art, but in kabuki buyō choreography will start from the word ofthe chant/poetry. Gestures are inspired by words and the dancer performs a character. He is the protagonist of an action or plural actions on stage. Only in modern times have dance and choreographers become free of the bond with kabuki theatre, with drama. The solo or collective performances were oriented more and more towards a pure dance, to experimentations also free of words, music and significance, where the dancer interprets himself, or simply the body, without representing a character.

“Kabuki to buyō: mai, odori, henge”

RUPERTI, Bonaventura
2010

Abstract

The world of traditional dance in Japan, as that of modern and contemporary dance, is very immense and multifaceted. So as to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of butō it is of great importance to also consider the traditional dance in Japan, in particular in its most complex and renowned forms, i.e., dance (mai) in nō theatre and dance (buyō) in kabuki theatre. In this paper the focus is placed particularly on the significant features of dance in kabuki and its confrontation with nō, modern and contemporary dance phenomena with reference also to the geidan (the artist's commentary on his or her art) by kabuki actors, and other written works of the Edo period. The term buyō is a coinage claimed to have been adopted for the first time by novelist and dramatist Tsubouchi Shōyō in Shingakugekiron (Theory of a new musical theatre, 1904), through which the new dance movement (shinbuyō) was born in Japan. As acknowledged, however, the term buyō combines two different trends and forms within Japanese traditional dance: a) mai (a word more used in the Kamigata area today): a dance characterised by a circular and horizontal movement. It is inspired by kagura-rites which call upon the divinities and consciously lead towards a trance-and by other shamanistic movements. Mai is visible in the most ancient forms of dance in Japan, from kagura to nō dance, etc. b) odori (more frequent in the Kantō area): a dance composed of hops, jumps, bounces and springing, it is an excited and wild (individuai and collective) dance that invigorates and animates popular dances, and is characterised by free and ecstatic liberation, the impulse of joy and unconsciousness. It is derived from furyū odori, nenbutsu odori, kabuki odori and has been developed into the refined and complex form seen on the stages of kabuki theatre. The origin of the circular movement in mai is religious and magical, and consciously invites divinities, spirits. It also coincides with augurai blessing for peace and prosperity in agricultural rites. Mai in nō theatre is an extremely concentrated dance, now conformed to a sequence of modulated and codified movements (shosa), and to a limited variety of shōdan (chanting, musical and choreographic sections), and is highly vague but consequently dense in suggestiveness and poetical resonances. The kabuki dance, odori, on the other hand, is the ranbu, an exalted dance, a parody of the orthodox and more traditional dance models. This latter is a movement of a liberated body, lost in joy and ecstasy, abandoned to impulses and passions in an aesthetical way, characterised by a more rhythmical and marked music. However, through the evolution of kabuki, dance is no longer a popular dance that the dancer enjoys by himself, but a dance that delights the audience, that enjoys the performer's choreutic art. This paper traces the transformations of kabuki dances and their development from the group and circle dance odori to the kabuki buyō (by contemplating the introduction of a new element, furi, i.e., a more mimetic movement, more imitative, and closer to the real-life gestures), to the brilliant solo performances of the onnagata (female impersonators), to male character dance, up until the henge buyō (i.e., dance with metamorphosis where the actor disguises himself in many ditTerent characters with rapid costume changes (hayagawari). In the Japanese theatrical tradition dance is a very important element of the performing arts. The theatre genres of nō, kabuki, etc. are multi-layered arts in which words (poetry), dance, stage movement, chant and music, theatrical and staging setting are involved in an aesthetical world of fascination and charm. As Gunji Masakatsu once said, the history of Japanese theatre is also the history of dance, and it is by means of dance and its body language, before verballanguage, that mind and body are manifested in harmony and transmit emotions and theatrical passions to the audience by way ofthe five senses (sensibility). In kabuki art the eccentric aesthetics of kabukimono, their exoticism and strangeness, the oddness ranging from yūjo kabuki (courtesan kabuki) to wakashu kabuki (young men kabuki), centred on sensuality and sexuality, gradually developed into a more dramatic art divided into many acts that were also combined with dance scenes and other situations. From the influence of the antecedent no theatre, kabuki continues to develop into a theatrical complex structure never forgetting its distinctive sensual and original staging, nor the the actor's art display. The dance is the flower of the actor's art, but in kabuki buyō choreography will start from the word ofthe chant/poetry. Gestures are inspired by words and the dancer performs a character. He is the protagonist of an action or plural actions on stage. Only in modern times have dance and choreographers become free of the bond with kabuki theatre, with drama. The solo or collective performances were oriented more and more towards a pure dance, to experimentations also free of words, music and significance, where the dancer interprets himself, or simply the body, without representing a character.
Avant-gardes in Japan, Anniversary of Futurism anda Buto: Performing Arts and Cultural Practices between Contemporariness and Tradition
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/25997
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