Butoh Beat

The art of Butoh is anything but self-explanatory: A post-war Japanese phenomenon, the discipline is neither traditional in nature nor definable by set rules, although its intent tends to run deep and, sometimes, dark. It's a constantly morphing, expressionistic dance form that's often, but not always, performed in whiteface. Butoh requires a mind cleansed of all distractions and the ability to suspend reality — but it's also the very definition of freeform dance.

Boulder dancer Nathan Montgomery of Syzygy Butoh has his own interpretation that he calls Devil's Apples — a collaboration with Portland dancer Mizu Desierto and his own Butoh teacher, Arizonan Delisa Myles — and is performing six times as part of the Boulder International Fringe Festival. This "Butoh Burlesque," which he loosely classifies as a uniquely American Butoh, is an exploration of "repressed faces of human sexuality." Devil's Apples is down and dirty, but with a higher objective. Now we're getting somewhere.

"Really, we're playing with the burlesque theme by using it as a doorway to go into deeper states of human experience," Montgomery says. "It's my hope that the show ultimately transcends the idea of just being about sex, that it instead becomes an exploration of how we live with our animal ancestry and its intense biological energies in relation to rules and norms of culture."

Syzygy Butoh debuts the work at 10:30 p.m. tonight at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 1750 13th Street in Boulder, and performances continue through August 24; for additional show times and tickets, $12 to $15 (or two-for-one, tonight only), visit www.boulderfringe.com.
Fri., Aug. 17, 10:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 18, 8:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 19, 6 p.m.; Tue., Aug. 21, 7 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 23, 10 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 24, 5:30 p.m.

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