Photo of Paul performing in all white on a black background.
© Tristan Sherif

Paul Ibey — Butoh [FULL]

May 13th to 17th, 2024 – 9:30 am to 12:30 pm (Mon.-Fri.)
Full week rate : 85$
Drop-in class rate : $25
(available one month prior)
Language of instruction : English
Questions can also be asked in : English
Open to artists of all disciplines


The mask could be mandatory for some activities as an accessibility measure for our teachers or participants. For more information, click here.

Butoh (or dance of darkness) is one of the major developments of contemporary dance. It has revolutionized the way people view what dance is or can be. Originating in 1960s Japan, founded by Hijikata Tatsumi, it has created new forms of dance movement and expression. Its powerful images and new approach to dance have stirred the interest and imagination of a growing world audience. Butoh takes its strength from interior movement: the body twists, contracts, extends. Softness, violence, slowness, sensuality, and immobility are all part of butoh. The butoh dancer attempts to bare his inner soul to reveal the suffering and joy of life. Please bring a packet of tissues.

Butoh has been used as a tool for movement therapy as it enables people to live their own naturally arising emotions as well as suppressed emotions. Each day begins with physical exercises before leading into guided improvisations following certain themes. Some improvisations will involve group work. All instructions are verbal with demonstration. The session ends with a group cool down. Physical limitations are not a barrier in this workshop. Music is used throughout. Participants are encouraged to find their own way of moving within the structure, although there are certain guidelines. The workshop can increase in more complicated work depending on the ability of the participants.

Paul Ibey
’s prime focus has been butoh dance for over three decades. He had originally studied with butoh founders Kazuo and Yoshito Ohno and Akiko Motofuji, as well as Natsu Nakajima, Carlotta Ikeda, Manhong Kang, Sankai Juku and Dai Rakuda Kan, among others. One of the only Westerners to be respected and approved of by the masters of the genre, Ibey is now considered by many to be a butoh master himself.

Prior to his becoming a butoh artist, Paul initially studied and performed with the Royal Ballet in London. He furthered his ballet training with Lynn Seymour, Gelsey Kirkland, Roger Tulley, Tatiana Tchernova, Lazaro Surmeyan and Stanley Williams.

His contemporary dance training was with Lucy Burge, Sally Owen, Ruth Silk, Nelson Fernandez, Christopher Bruce, and Robert Cohan. He studied mime and movement with Adam Darius and worked for several years with the renowned Lindsay Kemp Company.

Ibey’s work has been shown in London, Paris, New York, Bangkok, Quito, and throughout Europe and the Middle East. He has taught classes at the Martha Graham School, Northern Ballet Theatre and in Poland, Egypt, Palestine, Albania, Croatia, Mexico, Hungary and the Czech Republic. He also recently performed with Sankai Juku dancers in Japan.

Paul brought us to go within to such genuine and unseen depths. He brought us through such a beautiful and transformative journey.

– Vina