Coney Island Butoh & Theatre Festival


March 11-13, 2016

Sideshows by the Seashore
1208 Surf Ave., Coney Island

March 11 at 8pm
March 12 at 8pm
March 13 at 4pm

EXCERPT FROM THE MARCH 11 PERFORMANCE (video by Christopher Miller):

PHOTOS FROM THE MARCH 11 PERFORMANCE (by Christopher Carlone):


Butoh Ensemble: Katherine Adamenko, Douglas Allen, Dean James Beckwith, Rosemary Candelario, Mary Catherine Donnelly, Rachel Finan, Andy Kriger, Bob Lyness, Christopher Mankowski, Ieva Misevicuiute, Jennie Portney, Lillian Rossetti, Lauren Sky, Jacquelyn Marie Shannon, Irene Siegel, Sierra Steplewski

Also Featuring:
The Three-Minute Manifesto for an Uncle Sam on Stilts
Written by Dick Zigun
Performed by Patrick L. Salazar

rapt in a plain brown rapport
Wirtten and Performed by Sick Nick the Bellevue Boy

CONEY ISLAND is famous for its historical exhibitions of "freaks, geeks and human curiosities" -- both individual and collective; from the Lilliputian Village ("Midget City"), to the indentured Igorot tribe transplanted from the Philippines to perform their rituals, to the ten-in-one circus sideshows.

For 3 evenings only an idiosyncratic "tribe" of 20 butoh dancers, under the guidance of Mexican master teacher Diego Piñón, explores this history through body rituals on Coney Island USA's Sideshows by the Seashore stage.

Butoh was born when Japanese dancer Tatsumi Hijikata created the radical art form in the post Hiroshima/Nagasaki environment and was greeted with ridicule and indignation. Though butoh in its contemporary worldwide incarnations is notoriously difficult to define, the uncovering of humanity's shared core, the ritualistic quest for transformation, playful and grotesque imagery, eroticism, breaking taboos and redefining beauty are common themes.

Upon closer study, butoh at Coney Island becomes an unlikely yet tantalizing juxtaposition. With its history of sensationalized performances and exhibitions, Coney Island is an excellent backdrop for exploring 'otherness' -- in both its celebratory and exploitative qualities. Coney's storied burlesque history presents yet another example of crossover. In the late 60s, Hijikata's dancers worked in nightclubs and experimented with performances that straddled the line between burlesque and butoh. Our old friends at Coney Island USA themselves push the envelope of conventional art.

INTERNATIONAL CULTURE LAB, especially early in its history as Thieves Theatre, examined the role of "the other" in contemporary society with a series of controversial landmark productions starting with its 1982 collaboration with a group of ex-mental patients called On Our Own in a production of Marat/Sade; to its world premiere in 1987 of Fassbinder's "unproducible" Trash, the City, and Death; and perhaps its best known project, the 1990-1993 Nomad Monad: The Making of Thieves Theatre's Last Stand for which the company's directors erected and lived in a full-sized Lakota tipi replica, handmade from 78 US#3 mailbags, in the then oldest Manhattan shantytown at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, presenting plays, art exhibits and other work inside it. [see Spring 2015 issue of PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art]

DIEGO PIÑÓN's Body Ritual Movement is the distillation of his extensive research in body-based energy methodologies since 1975. BRM is primarily derived from Piñón's Mexican heritage with traditional energetic practices and Japanese Butoh under the guidance of Kazuo Ohno, Yoshito Ohno, Min Tanaka, Natsu Nakajima, among others. He performs and teaches throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Mexico using BRM as a means to transform personal and collective divisions through the dancing body in order to cultivate a deeper connection to our shared humanity. Piñón proposes the possibility of developing an aliveness on stage beyond the personal ego that can be carried equally in art, in ritual, and in our daily lives.

Coney Island USA exists to defend the honor of American popular culture through innovative exhibitions and performances. Presenting and producing exciting new works, the organization's approach is rooted in mass culture and the traditions of P.T. Barnum, dime museums, burlesque, circus sideshows, vaudeville, and Coney Island itself. Serving both New York City and an international community that includes visitors to Coney Island and enthusiasts of various cultural forms, CONEY ISLAND USA's signature activities include the Mermaid Parade, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, the Coney Island Museum, and new theatrical work.