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Choreography and Performance, Marie-Gabrielle Rotie

Costume Francesca Rios,

Sound Nick Parkin

Video Ian Pons jewell and Gaia Boretti

Make-up Emma Hopkins.

Edit by Ian Pons jewell.

video excerpt

We shake hands with the dead


Mythic was informed by research into the philosophical legacy of Butoh founder Tastumi Hijikata and examines his written statements on dance and the dead body contained in his essay ‘Kaze Daruma’ and his concept of the body as a mediator for the dead or his inferred statements that the dead live on inside of us. ‘I often say that I have a sister living inside my body […] She is my teacher; a dead person is my butoh teacher.’’ [1]


I researched the parallels between Hijikata’s claims and my uncanny experience of ‘incarnating’ my deceased grandmother. My question became about how to physically and performatively manifest my experience that the departed can live on in us after death, as embodied memory, as a tangible/intangible, presence/absence. 

Contemporary hauntings


I researched Hijikata’s idea of the dead manifesting in the living, in relation to photographic images of 19th Century Victorian Spiritualist Mediums. I become interested in the disembodied ghostly yet visceral, visual, physical and acoustic manifestations of possession and ‘ectoplasm’ as well as the suggestion of physical convulsion or possession in the bodies of these mediums. I associated these photographic manifestations, with the Freudian definition of the ‘uncanny’ (Das Unheimliche).  

[1] Hijikata, Tatsumi, Wind Daruma’ (Kaze Daruma, 1985), published as a translation in Nanako, Kurihara, ‘Hijikata Tatsumi: The Words of Butoh’, The Drama Review (Spring) edition 44. 2000.

Commissioned by Trinity Laban. 

Mythic premiered at Trinity Laban, London Feb 2010 premiere

University of Hull in Scarborough, work in progress presentation and after-show discussion, 18th November 2009.

Michaelas Theatre University of Roehampton 3rd November, 2010.

Harry Crook Theatre, Colstons Collegiate School, Bristol 12th October 2010.

Rich Mix, Shoreditch, London, 22nd January 2010.

Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter November 9th 2010.

George Wood Theatre, Goldsmiths University of London, in collaboration with the Pinter Centre 16th March 2011.

Mythic was also presented as a lecture at The Performance Centre, Tremough Campus, Falmouth, 6th December 2010.

Photography: Marian Alonso 

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