Theatrical Dramatic Gesture from Mastery Butoh Dancer : Kazuo Ohno

Kazuo Ohno (大野 一雄 Ōno Kazuo, October 27, 1906 – June 1, 2010) was a Japanese dancer who became a guru and inspirational figure in the dance form known as Butoh. It was written of him that his very presence was an “artistic fact.”

The son of a fisherman and a mother who was an expert in European cuisine, Ohno was born in Hakodate City, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, on October 27, 1906. He demonstrated an aptitude for athletics in junior high school and graduated from an athletic college in 1929, teaching physical education at a Christian high school. In 1933, Ohno began studying with Japanese modern dance pioneers Baku Ishii and Takaya Eguchi, which qualified him to teach dance at the Soshin Girls’ School in Yokohama, from which he retired in 1980.
In 1938, Ohno was drafted into the Japanese Army as a lieutenant, and later rose to captain. He fought in China and New Guinea, where he was captured and interned by the Australians as a POW.The war and its horrors provided him with inspiration for some of his later works, such as Jellyfish Dance, thought to be a meditation on the burials at sea he had observed on board the ship transporting soldiers back to Japan.


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