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September 2010
288 pages  

6 x 8
9780822961154
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Dancing into Darkness
Butoh, Zen, and Japan
Fraleigh, Sondra Horton
Dancing Into Darkness is Sondra Horton Fraleigh's chronological diary of her deepening understanding of and appreciation for the art form of butoh, as she moves from a position of aesthetic response as an audience member to that of assimilation as a student of Zen and butoh. Fraleigh witnesses her own artistic and personal transformation through essays, poems, interviews, and reflections spanning twelve years of study, much of it in Japan.

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Sondra Horton Fraleigh chairs the Department of Dance at the State University of New York, Brockport. She is the co-editor (with Penelope Hanstein) of Researching Dance: Evolving Modes of Inquiry. Her articles have been published in texts on dance and movement, philosophy, and cognitive development. She has been a guest teacher of dance and somatic therapy in America, Japan, England, and Norway. She has served as president of the Congress of Research in Dance and is a Faculty Exchange Scholar for the State University of New York. Her innovative choreography has been seen on tour in America, Germany, and Japan, where she has also been a visiting scholar at several universities.
“Fraleigh's wide-ranging text is a kaleidoscope of her butoh and Zen experiences that blend with notes on Buthoh's origins. . . . Yet this is not a surface account, but a carefully crafted record from an American dance academic. . . There is a dream-time quality about the writing itself with cultural, personal and historical all inter-linked.” —Dance Now

“For many, even in Japan where it originated, butoh is still not a particularly easy form of dance to understand and appreciate. Horton’s cross-cultural point of view in Dancing into Darkness provides welcome insight.”—Dance International

“Should inspire anyone interested in the active feminine voice...It has a niche beyond the dancer-reader, to those drawn to Japan, to cultural anthropology, and to cross-culturalism.”—Janice LaPointe-Crump,Texas Woman's University

“Through examining the ‘other,’ one learns about one’s own culture, values, and aesthetics. . . Sondra’s book allows us to do this, because of her subject, remarkable insights, and captivating writing style.”—Joan Laage, Artistic Director of Dappin' Butoh (Seattle)

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Butoh, also known as “dance of darkness,” is a postmodern dance form that began in Japan as an effort to recover the primal body or “the body that has not been robbed,” as butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata put it. Butoh has become increasingly popular in the United States and throughout the world, diversifying its aesthetic while at the same time asserting the power of its spiritual foundations.

Dancing into Darkness is Sondra Horton Fraleigh’s chronological diary of her deepening understanding of and appreciation for this art form as she moves from a position of aesthetic response as an audience member to that of assimilation as a student of Zen and butoh. Fraleigh witnesses her own artistic and personal transformation through essays, poems, interviews, and reflections spanning twelve years of study, much of it in Japan. Numerous performance photographs and original calligraphy by Fraleigh’s Zen teacher, Shodo Akane, illuminate her words.

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