‘The origin of aloneness’ – Conversations with Ko Murobushi

After many months of talking, transcribing, correcting, editing, I have finally got a manageable shorter version of the outcome of many conversations with Ko Murobushi which took place between December 2013 and October 2014. As part of my series of interviews with Butoh-related artists, this opens up the topic onto Ko’s original take on his practice, one that has defined him primarily as a ‘wanderer’ and one who questions and renews his approach through the act of wandering.


Ko on the coast at sunset


Black March Berlin – 9 November 2014

Black March Berlin 2014

Kazimir Malevich at Tate, preparing a walk and thinking about darkness and horizons

“The contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light but rather its darkness.” Giorgio Agamben, ‘What is the Contemporary’

The Malevich retrospective just ended at Tate Modern. I managed to get it just in time, just off the plane from Tokyo, passing through London on my way to the next Black Walk and the first one of 2014, Black March Berlin.

I was thrown back to where it began. A circularity of sorts that took me to Japan, where I indirectly felt the influence of Malevich’s ‘Black Square’ on Tomoyoshi Murayama’s MAVO movement in 1920s Japan. Murayama had been inspired by his experience of the avant-garde movement whilst in Berlin for a one-year stay and brought the movement home to Japan as MAVO. The MAVO movement’s own performance art and dance happenings preceded Butoh in the Japanese modern dance scene and probably create a further line of spiraling circularity in terms of influences: Malevich, Murayama, Hijikata… read article >>



Teaching in London 4 November

I will be teaching some classes through Butoh UK on 28 October and 4 November at the Buddhist Arts Centre in Bethnal Green.

7 – 9.00pm, drop-in £ 12, no previous experience is necessary open to artists, dancers, performer, etc…*

Venue: London Buddhist Arts Centre, Eastbourne House, Bullards Place, Bethnal Green, E2.

My teaching is based on my own experiences with a variety of Butoh dancers in Japan over the past 3 years where I have done a self-directed research project into the origins of Butoh and the contemporary currents of this form. To this I have applied my previous dance and movement training to create an amalgam approach for creating with the body, I call it ‘body material’ in tribute to Tatsumi Hijikata.

Working from the principle of the body as a material with properties of weight, density, resistance which are constantly changing and transforming, my focus is on developing new perceptions on live presence within space and time.

More details on ButohUK >>

* Some experience of movement or dance training is advisable and please read the disclaimer on the ButohUK website.

Weight | ink on paper
Weight | ink on paper




WHITE wound – a short introduction

“Who said that time heals all wounds? It would be better to say that time heals everything except wounds. With time, the hurt of separation loses its real limits. With time, the desired body will soon disappear, and if the desiring body has already ceased to exist for the other, then what remains is a wound…disembodied.”

Samura Koichi in Chris Marker’s ‘Sans Soleil’

These lines from Sans Soleil resonated in my mind since the first time I saw this film: now a film I have watched many times and one of my favourites. In fact I can say that it was that film that perhaps brought me to Japan or brought Japan to my attention. The sight of the ‘Sleepers’ on the trains, the museum of mating animals in Hokkaido, the hypnotic movement of the Bon-dancers.

WHITE began with a brain scan. Photos of my head were taken because I had a problem with my vision: 365 photos in total, a number that echoes the days of a year, each fragment of a whole that makes up an element of time, of my life. I was told I might have a condition that would affect my nerves, something wrong with the WHITE matter: all this was communicated through translation. The last part was the wound.

When I was creating WHITE I was thinking about the difficulties I have had in communicating: difficulties that were not always sad or alienating ones. Instead this separation gave me the freedom to be an observer, an outsider, ‘a fly on the wall’ and I could reflect on what words attempt to do. How thoughts and words are connected to the time of our own bodies, our social bodies and the time of others. I always seem to be out of time, in my lack of words, but I am always punctual although I don’t even have that essential of modern communication, a mobile telephone.

Of course in the solitude of the studio and faced with the prospect of one’s own mortality, Love becomes a frequent point of return for the meandering mind.

Words, time, bodies, brains, heads, choreography, systems of command, hierarchies, and love, all these things still populate the WHITE page.

It is unfinished.

WHITE actually began with a dream of a dead polar bear with a deep wound on its back.


Solo Butoh Exhibition – 5 & 6 September

Natsu Nakajima will be presenting ‘Solo Butoh Exhibition’ through the Yotsuya Butoh Network on 5 & 6 September 2014.

I will be participating alongside four other female dancers: Akiko Otsu, Ayako Omori, Biyo Kikuchi, Tomomi Tanabe. I will present a new piece ‘WHITE wound’ which is currently in development and in September, wanting to be faithful to my third year’s experience of Japan, I will show a work-in-progress extract of it as my solo. I’ll be posting up a little more information on this piece as it develops.

Details for the event:

Friday 5 and Saturday 6 September 2014

Time: 7.00pm (doors open 6.30pm)

Yotsuya-Hiroba CCCA Gallery Ramp, Yotsuya 3-chome


¥ 2000 (advance)/ ¥ 2500 (at the door)

Please email me  if you’d like to buy an advance ticket:    dominique.bonarjee[at]gmail.com




Black Marche Paris – 1 year ago

Last year on 22 June 2013 I walked a spiral through Paris following the descending numbers of the arrondissements from 20-1 and then eventually to Point Zero where all distances are measured from. I was accompanied by 14 participants, most of them strangers. They had responded to a call out from Dimanche Rouge, performance art organisation, or 59 Rivoli Gallery.

The walk in Paris was inspired by the landscape mandalas of the Kii Peninsula in Japan, whereby walkers follow an ancient trail which traces a mandala over the landscape as a practice towards ‘satori’ enlightenment. In Paris I was questioning and attempting ‘an encounter with the sacred in the urban landscape’.

The walk began at 8am from Porte de Bagnolet, me and my big black flag, about to start the longest Black Walk yet: unbeknown to me then, I was embarking on a 50 km walk that would last 13 hours: I may conceptualise but I do not measure.

I met my first participant just before the entrance to the Cimetière du Père Lachaise. Of course each of these meetings was ostensibly a ‘blind date’: I had no idea who these strangers would be. Rafaële appeared from the anonymity of the street and silently entered my step . Moving in complicit unison, we entered the cemetery and ‘danced’ a walking duet as we got lost amongst the gravestones.

13 hours and many ‘blind dates’ later I found Point Zero in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. I was accompanied by five of my partners, a brave band of participant-collaborator-conspirators who had crossed the city with me one by one. It was in them that I found the sacred in the city: in the silence, the steps, the rhythms, the burning questions, the conversations, the shared encounters, the intimacy of strangers, the trust in a project that simply set out to walk for hours with no specific slogan, no aim, no message. Just bodies moving, sensing the city, travelling, both provocative and invisible.

When I waved the black flag at Point Zero Paris it was not of conquest but of continuity. I’ll be taking Black Walk to India next year.

Thank you to each of these participants who walked and shared their experience through drawings, writings, films, photographs, memories and to a later contributor Rich NXT for sound composition:

Annie Boyer
Anna Cardovillis
Carla Sofia
Cécile Hillairet
尔尼 (text & voice)
Hector & Lucette Bonarjee
Julie Barranger
KURI / Katsu & Miho
Oscar Macfall
San Germano (Super 8 footage)
Rafaële Cellier (spiral animation)
Rich NXT (sound composition)

With the support of:
Dimanche Rouge
59 Rivoli Gallery








The love life of the wanderer

I am not sure whether it is migration, nomadism or a hunger for an ‘other’ experience…it continues. I have nothing apart from this to report, nothing to inform about, no performances on the horizon, no new photos to show. Just a few lines to say that I am in motion and that is my practice at the moment.

An artist, a fellow wanderer, who I have been talking to a great deal recently and whose words, (as I interviewed him) will soon be appearing here, has been feeding my thoughts (and inhabiting my dreams) with the texts he writes, the ideas he explores and the life he lives. I’m also currently helping to keep the poetry in the translations of some of his texts.

One topic he returns to again and again is ‘LOVE’. Not the emotions, the romance but within the moment of ‘falling in love’, is the possibility of entering another dimension of time. Aeon time as opposed to Chronos time. I call it ‘the moment’: through it a ‘bubble of time’ emerges, time that is not the time of our day to day activities, the time of daily life, but the time of infinity.

Another word that came up in our conversations was ‘alone-ness’, though I think he meant ‘solitude’, the word ‘alone-ness’ has a different vibration: it conjures ‘loneliness’ too. The wanderer is alone, and fully acknowledges this state which is the weight of what is transported from place to place.

Through ‘alone-ness’ the link of LOVE to TIME becomes evident: we are born alone and die alone, ‘alone-ness’ is the natural state. The time of daily life is one that is developed through the ‘social’ aspect of our interactions: we need to relate to each other in a common measure of time, and also limit these relations through this measure.

Love, however, is an invitation to step outside of this measure of time: to change, to transform, to perceive in an unexpected way. Without love, a relationship is only about measuring time, passing time, to try to distract oneself from this ultimate ‘alone-ness’, this ‘vital solitude’, so it is simply populating the schedule of our days.

Love outside of all the films and flowers and expectations is really just about how we relate to others within concepts of time: the measured one or the infinite. Without love, there is only counting of minutes and hours and days. To dance, you have to wander or even fall into the time of love.







Spring clean on the site

Spring is a time of transformation and I have taken the iniatitive to spring-clean my site. I’ve re-ordered all my projects, writings and other information. I’ve added some new content including an extract from my latest performance of ‘Shaping Twilight’ at Tatwerk Berlin in March 2014.

Early next month I’ll be putting up a new interview and finally the film of ‘Black Marche Paris’ should be ready too.

Black Marche Paris, photo | Cecile Hillairet

Butoh Spring at Tatwerk, Berlin, 15 March

DominiqueBB will be performing a solo at Tatwerk in Berlin as part of the event `Butoh Spring´on Saturday 15 March 2014, an evening of 3 female solos also featuring the work of Marina Epp and Iphigenia Vogiatzaki. The event starts from 20h00, no booking is necessary, so please come and join us for an evening of dance and performance that addresses the body through an approach grounded in Butoh dance.

Saturday 15 March, 20h00, Tatwerk

More info  >  tatwerk-berlin.de