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Fluid Forms: Blending Traditional and Contemporary Japanese Dance

Immerse yourself in vibrant practices of Japanese dance and expressions of the body

July 28, 30 & August 1, 2020

Focusing on techniques and ideologies rooted in Japanese performance and dance movements, Fluid Forms: Blending Traditional and Contemporary Japanese Dance features artists Lauren Eiko, David Huggins and Yumi Umiumare. 

The first video in the series, Online de Odorō (Let’s dance online) is a performance film by dancers Lauren Eiko and David Huggins. It explores their relationship and personal histories with Japan through contemporary dance, combining personal performance practices with their shared foundational level experience with Nihon Buyo. Online de Odorō (Let’s dance online) is a collection of future and past ideas, chronicling their attempts to create in separation, but still together across distance and bad internet connections. 

Following Eiko and Huggins, Umiumare will introduce Butoh, a style of dance conceived in the late 1950s during the social turmoil of post-war Japan. Through a series of interviews and a showcase of recent works, she aims to shed light on the many aspects of Butoh, from the dark and abstract elements to the funny and accessible introduced in Australia’s own unique Butoh styles. 

After seeing Butoh performed by a local icon, you will then be able to dive in and learn the fundamental essence of Butoh yourself. To conclude the program, Umiumare will present an all-levels livestream workshop that incorporates Butoh choreography designed specifically for dancing at home. Get ready to liberate your body and mind as you enter into the transformative world of Butoh!

Tuesday, July 28 @ 11am (AEST)

Online de Odorō (Let’s dance online)
A performance film that explores the dancers’ relationships and personal histories with Japan, through chronicling attempts to create through separation and bad internet connections.

Thursday, July 30 @ 11am (AEST)

The Art of Butoh from Japan to Australia
Take a brief walk through the history of Butoh, from the dark and abstract to the funny and accessible, and learn about Australia’s own style of Butoh. 

Image above: Courtesy of Mifumi Obata

Saturday, August 1 @ 11am (AEST)

Butoh: An Introduction to an Inclusive Approach to Movement
Learn the basic philosophy and principles of Butoh in this all-levels workshop led by Yumi Umiumare. In it, she will introduce creative exercises for you to explore your own environment physically and mentally.

Image above: Courtesy of Vikk Shayen


Lauren Eiko
Lauren Eiko is a researcher and archivist at the University of Technology Sydney. Lauren currently dances with Suara Indonesia Dance Group and is engaged in a “seedlings-in-residence” project at Frontyard Projects, where she is growing trees from the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest plant community. She has previously worked with artists Caroline Garcia, Xavier Le Roy, Jason Phu and Alicia Frankovitch on performative works. Lauren’s choreographic and performance interests are in collaboration, conversation and exploring body connection to Country and memory across time.

David Huggins
David Huggins began dancing while completing his psychology degree in New Zealand. After graduating from a Bachelor of Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, he worked consistently with Russell Dumas’ Dance Exchange in Melbourne, performing nationally and internationally with the company.

Huggins has also worked for other artists including Douglas Wright, Xavier Le Roy, Rhiannon Newton and Martin Del Amo. Aside from his work as a dancer, Huggins has begun to explore his own choreographic interests through various residencies, including PAF (France), NES (Iceland) and Movement Art Practice (New Zealand). He creates works that acknowledge and interact with the situations (the stories and histories of the place, its people, audience expectations, available technologies and objects) in which they are made.

Born in Hyogo, Japan, Yumi Umiumare is an established Butoh dancer, choreographer and creator of Butoh Cabaret works. Umiumare’s work is renowned for provoking visceral emotions and addressing cultural identities with a sense of humour. Umiumare was a member of seminal Butoh company DaiRakudakan before she moved to Melbourne in 1993. As a choreographer, Umiumare has worked with many socially-engaged theatre projects including aboriginal and refugee communities, culturally diverse groups and inclusive dance and theatre companies. Her works have been seen in numerous Australian and international festivals. Umiumare has received several Australian Green Room awards, was offered a fellowship from Australia Council (2015-16) and won the Green Room Geoffrey Milne Memorial Award in 2017 for her contribution to Contemporary and Experimental Performance. Umiumare is an artistic director of ButohOUT! festival in Melbourne and teaches both within Australia and internationally. 

For more information about her work, head to Umiumare’s website

Image: Courtesy of Gregory Lorenzutti


Issho Editions
Online Program


July 28 (Tuesday), 2020
11am (AEST)
Video premiere on YouTube

July 30 (Thursday), 2020
11am (AEST)
Video premiere on YouTube

August 1 (Saturday), 2020
11am – 12pm (AEST)
Livestream workshop on Facebook

The Japan Foundation, Sydney
YouTube & Facebook

Free; bookings not required


(02) 8239 0055

Header image: Courtesy of Vikk Shayen

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