Kogut Butoh: Refugee

A meditation on the frailty and resilience of the human spirit. Directed by Joan Laage/Kogut Butoh in collaboration with Kaoru Okumura & Helen Thorsen (butoh), Randy Shay (piano) & Aaron Harmonson (bass).

A world in chaos, multitudes of people displaced, frozen in place or constantly moving. Refugee is the latest in Joan’s body of work inspired by the aftermath of war and the urge to find a safer, saner place to live. Earlier works are The Suitcases Project (Snoqualmie Depot and Issaquah Depot), Stations (solo), Black Angels (Dappin’ Butoh Troupe) and Nothing Lasts But Memory (solo). All the travel journeys, especially in Europe over many years, the waiting in stations – train, ship, air. Where have all these travelers come from and where are they going and even more so – why?

Known as Kogut Butoh, Joan Laage has been performing and teaching butoh and collaborating with area and international performers since she settled in Seattle in 1990 after studying butoh with masters in Tokyo. Collaborations include Rob Angus, noisepoetnobody, Stephen Fandrich, Jeff Greinke, Scott Adams and Seattle Kokon Taiko. Her group Dappin’ Butoh was well-known in the Seattle Fringe Theater Festival for 10 years. Joan is a co-founder of DAIPANbutoh Collective (since 2010), which produces an annual butoh festival. Joan directs Wandering & Wondering, an annual site-specific event at the Seattle Japanese and Kubota Gardens and organizes performances in the summer at her Green Lake home. Her work is influenced by her years of practicing Tai Chi and her profession as a gardener.

(photo: Brian Liesse)