Ko Murobushi's last dance
The Butoh dance has lost one of its most famous and renowned artists worldwide – our festival a good friend and companion from the early years on. Shocked and in deep mourning we have to announce that Ko Murobushi passed away on Thursday, 18 June, 2015, at the age of 68.
It is impossible to worship all the achievements Ko Murobushi leaves behind. Yet we want to try it: Born in 1947 in Tokyo, he focused on the studies of Butoh already as a teenager – a dance which has its starting point in the 1950ies in Japan as a contemporary dance of resistance to the traditional Japanese art forms, but also as a reaction to the increasing global influences of the Western world. Murobushi himself had been a rebel himself throughout his lifetime. He learned directly from the co-founder of Butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata, yet quit dancing for a short period to join the Yamabushi monks, but eventually returned to Butoh and became one of its most famous figures. He achieved numerous awards all over the world, for instance in New York and Mexico where he was intensively engaged in artistic projects over the last couple of years.
Ko Murobushi brought Butoh to Europe where he founded together with Carlotta Ikeda, who passed away last autumn, the Compagnie Ariadone. It was the first all-female Butoh group. Various choreographies resulted from this collaboration; among others the legendary work Le Dernier Eden – porte de l’au-delá. His artistic work in Vienna was supported right from the start by Serapionstheater, which presented extensive series' of his pieces. In 1987, he gave his first workshop at ImPulsTanz, only a year later he presented one of his spectacular productions – Ephémère (together with Urara Kusanagi). That was the beginning of an artistic partnership which should include more than 50 common projects, but above all that, it was the beginning of a personal friendship that lasted for almost 30 years. After quick silver in 2012 and Ritournelle in 2013, Murobushi presented his Enthusiastic Dance on the Grave to sounds of Jimi Hendrix at Wiener Akademietheater. And this summer we had big plans as well: four workshops and research projects, a residency lasting several weeks to prepare his new group piece with 15 dancers, which should have premiered in October in Paris, and the performance Midnight at mumok.
About his piece Midnight he wrote nearly comforting: "An encounter with the inscrutable, the unknown, the experience of a loss of words, a loss of self" – Bon voyage, we will miss you!
We send our deep felt condolences to his family and to all of those, who mourn over Ko Murobushi with us.
Karl Regensburger & Ismael Ivo
and the ImPulsTanz team