Undercurrents Ikuyo Kuroda “La Danseuse Malade”

© Akira Seki


La Danseuse Malade is a collection of texts by Tatsumi Hijikata, the founder of Butoh.
This surrealistic and enchanting world of language is also called Hijikata’s autobiography or the “language of Butoh.” It has been staged by many dancers since its publication in 1983, and has fascinated researchers and philosophers alike.

In 2018, Ikuyo Kuroda, founder of the dance company BATIK, presented a solo work based on Hijikata’s La Danseuse Malade. Adding autobiographical elements based on her experience of co-creating works with a variety of dancers, underpinned by a foundation of classical ballet, Kuroda has developed Hijikata’s words into a new work for the stage.

In this film, part of Ikuyo Kuroda’s original La Danseuse Malade is installed in a traditional Japanese house in the Meguro district of Tokyo.
The house has stood for 150 years, but is nearing the end of its time serving the purpose that it has fulfilled over the course of its life.
This film observes Kuroda’s body in a space that evokes fragments of Hijikata’s text.

Cast & Staff

Ikuyo Kuroda

Ikuyo Kuroda(Choreographer, dancer, and founder of BATIK)
Having begun studying classical ballet at the age of six, Kuroda went to the U.K. in 1997 to study contemporary dance. She founded BATIK in 2002. Based on ballet techniques, Kuroda’s extreme and dynamic choreography pushing the body to its limits forges connections with the fundamental impulses within dance and has been hailed by fans across a wide range of genres. She won the Next-Generation Choreographer Award and the Audience Award at the Toyota Choreography Award 2003, an Asahi Performing Arts Award in 2004, a Dance Critics Society of Japan Award in 2006, the 4th Japan Dance Forum Award in 2010, and the 9th Japan Dance Forum Award in 2015. Along with her activities with BATIK, Kuroda engages in creative endeavors with a variety of artists, including the Jo Kanamori-led company Noism05, as well as Norimizu Ameya, Hideo Furukawa, Akira Kasai, Hideki Noda, and Kazuyoshi Kushida.

Performer, choreographer,
and deviser
Ikuyo Kuroda
Original author
Tatsumi Hijikata “La Danseuse Malade”
Hibiki Miyazawa (Alloposidae LLC)
Assistant director
Shun Sato
Takashi Fujikawa
Saori Azuma
Director of photography
Yasuhiro Moriuchi (RAKUDA STUDIO)
Lighting engineer
Aoi Nakamura (RAKUDA STUDIO)
Camera assistant
Natsumi Oikawa
Sound engineer and
sound designer
Souma Orikasa
Artistic designer
Asako Goto
Maria Nanashima
Costume designer
Midori Hagino
Marie Takimoto
Saori Azuma
Translator of English subtitles
for the interview
John Townsend


From the Interview

Do you ever feel desires welling up inside your body when you’re out in the street?
The question of how we discover the things that we’ve cut out of our daily lives, believing them unnecessary, and how to communicate with them...well, it’s fun, pure and simple. Enriching, even.
We can navigate the streets we always travel along without thinking about it. That’s a very useful function, but there’s something else. The fact is that our bodies feel surprise. They experience amazement every day, sensing that bud that looks a little more swollen today, that stone that’s a little out of place, that angle of the sun or that smell that’s different from usual.
It’s just enough to make us crouch down to look at a flower and inhale its scent. That’s all it is. That’s what I do with my body.

Interviewer: Saori Azuma


I asked Ikuyo Kuroda about the things within that underpin the making of this work, such as her dance experience and the background to the making of her solo work La Danseuse Malade.

Released: 2021 Runtime: 22min.

Produced by NPO Arts Network Japan [NPO-ANJ]
Cooperating organizations: Festival/Tokyo Executive Committee, MEGURO HOUSE

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