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A Very Butoh Christmas

Looking for a bit of holiday culture, minus the Sugar Plum Fairies? Try a Christmas play with a Butoh-licious twist — no ifs, ands or nuts: Syzygy Butoh and Maureen Freehill present A Butoh Christmas Pageant tonight at the Wesley Chapel, 1290 Folsom Street in Boulder. Choreographer Nathan Montgomery explains that the play is not the usual depiction of Mary, Joseph and the North Star, but a symbolic use of inspiration; Montgomery arranges morphing dreamlike images and juxtaposes them with movements that are both playful and fun. This is no traditional holiday dance, he says: “It has more flavor to it.”

With bodies fully painted in white, the dancers evoke ghost-like imagery, but don’t be scared: Although butoh (which originated in Japan) translates to “dance of darkness,” it refers to what is hidden inside the psyche. The physical movements are further meant to liberate forms and images hidden inside the containment of the strict cultural mass.

Montgomery has adapted this form of Butoh to fit an American persona and style that diverges from the Japanese aesthetic; he wants his audience to take away a gift of warmth and community, art and celebration during the darkest time of the year. Thus, A Butoh Christmas Pageant explores this time of solstice, symbolic both of the birth of Jesus and the sun returning from its journey to the other end of the world.

Stop by the chapel at 7 p.m.; admission is a $10 donation. Call 1-928-301-1849, e-mail or visit
Sun., Dec. 28, 7 p.m., 2008


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