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The Yugen Dance, or Yugen Butoh, is a movement research created by Luciana Elias to express her work as a director, teacher and performer.


"I consider Yugen dance, or Yugen Butoh, as a possible path to the poetry of gesture. A dance that embraces what is ephemeral through simplicity and awareness towards one's own particular potential of movement expression"

Yugen is a Japanese word that can be translated as: that which is ephemeral. The intention of this dance is to open a space of investigation in which the focus is beyond the gesture, what matters is what remains: an aroma, a flavor, a memory, whether it is within the dancer's experience or concerning the public's own imagination while perceiving the dance. Yugen dance is an artistic experience that considers body and psyche as inseparable, understanding that the body in performance carries a subjective baggage filled with affections, memories and defenses. This dance can be about a passage, a memory, something that is born and dies, it is about a dancing body that owns itself and moves, lucid, through the thresholds of its own ego, while facing the known and conscious and also being welcoming to the shadows of the unconsciousness, either to transgress, vividly experience, metamorphose or to perhaps merely become the expression of an elegant and elementary simplicity, that will boldly manifest, almost as if it discovered itself, until it briefly disappears.


         Butoh was a dance created by Hijikata Tatsumi in the mid-1960s in Japan. It was an avant-garde artistic expression emerged in a troubled political context. With the imminent rise of the rationalist enlightenment around the world and faced with a tense and contradictory relationship with the USA, after the Second World War, an identity crisis began in Japan. At this political juncture, several artistic movements and manifestations became popular in the Japanese counter-cultural scene. It is within this social and political moment that the Butoh dance is born, elaborated by its creator, Hijikata Tatsumi, in collaboration with Kazuo Ohno.

        Ankoku Butoh, Hijikata's dance original name, was also known as the Dance of Darkness or Dance of Death. His artwork had a deep relationship with death and existence, embracing all its fragility and potency. Considering some of Hijikata's artistic and political investigations surrounding the body in performance, the Yugen Dance takes inspiration from Butoh's perspectives around the body. The Yugen movement research, for instance, begins with the understanding of death and life as places of passage, transition and metamorphosis.

"Eu me lembro de estar diante da morte em minha infância, em Garanhuns, Pernambuco. Tenho a imagem da minha família reunida ao redor de minha bisavó, que estava deitada e consciente de que morreria. Houve um breve momento em que ela respirou fundo e de repente se foi. Simples assim. 

Essa lembrança de minha bisa morrendo “como um passarinho” envolta de pessoas testemunhando aquele acontecimento tão elementar, e certamente poético, acabou deixando um forte rastro dentro de mim. E esse sopro da efemeridade do tempo, a memória de quando presenciei essa morte, de algum modo, acaba sempre sendo convidada a dançar comigo uma 'dança yugen'"

In Performance, Directing

Workshops, Performances



Dance path, in movement research and in Butoh's universe

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"O projeto de seu Ankoku Butoh (nome original da dança de Hijikata Tatsumi) fundou as bases de um 'anti-sistema gestual' , o qual parecia privilegiar a renúncia, a negação e a transformação constante de si mesmo, [...] um processo constante de eliminação e renascimento 'Novamente e novamente, nós renascemos. Não é suficiente simplesmente ter nascido do ventre da mãe. Muitos partos são necessários. Renascer sempre e em toda parte. Novamente e novamente " (Peretta, 2015)


"Based on experiences with Butoh dancer-researchers, I was able to understand, on my own body, that  unlike classical ballet this dance does not follow a set of techniques or any kind of crystallized method. Therefore, the Yugen dance, or Yugen Butoh, it is also not an attempt to recreate Hijikata Tatsumi and Kazuo Ohno's dance, as it is impossible, in my opinion.
However within this Butoh universe, despite there not being a set of technical rules for Butoh dance, I realise that there is an oral tradition among dancers who were close to the creators of this performatic art and who felt provoked by its universe, as they continued their own movement research under significant influence of this contact with Butoh dancers.
In summary, this oral tradition interests me a lot in my artistic work, as Yugen Butoh is very guided by a contemporary part of this oral tradition. This is the reason why I chose to mention the name Butoh in Yugen dance, not as a way of suggesting an attempt of any sort of replica of the actual Butoh, but as a way of honoring the origin of this manner of conceiving body work and questioning the art of dancing itself, not only on stage, but also concerning how we perceive, caption and express life."

yugen butoh

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