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(Photo: Dariusz Dziala)
(Photo: Judie Waldmann)
The way in which people join Café Reason is an organic, rather than a formal one. New dancers are absorbed into the company by becoming regular, long-term attendees at class and (usually subsequently) by developing and performing work with us. The point at which someone is ready to perform depends on their level of experience and growth (and enthusiasm for lunatic adventures) and also on what we are trying to do at the time. Some Café Reason members have been involved since the very beginning, some are newcomers, while others may have not danced with us recently but have a long-standing association with the group. Each person brings to the mix their unique life-history, body-form, and artistic contribution.
Jeannie Donald-McKim studied butoh in Japan for several years, choreographing and appearing in numerous performances. On her return to the UK she founded Café Reason and has conceived, choreographed and directed most of their major work. She runs butoh classes and workshops and is a practising dance therapist. She uses imagery from the unconscious, body-based sensation, and responses to the environment, words and music to inspire her dance. "For me, butoh is a way of approaching images and emotions that lie very deep, of exploring the territory between inner and outer worlds and expressing the essence of the shifting boundaries."
Fabrizia Verrecchia began her love for dance at the age of eight, attending Indian classical dance classes. She has studied with the Academy of Indian Dance, currently performing and giving demonstrations. She runs regular workshops and classes in Bharatanatyam and yoga. Fabrizia has been involved with butoh for over 11 years, performing with Café Reason from the start.
Ayala Kingsley is another of the founding members of Café Reason. She graduated from the Central School of Art & Design, London in 1976 and is a graphic designer and poet. Although she studied ballet as a child, Ayala came to butoh through Shintaido, the innovative Japanese movement system with its roots in the martial arts, which she practised for 9 years. "Butoh allows me to discover, distil and reveal the essential truth of inner experience and give it honest, meaningful and playful expression."
Ana Barbour is an independent dance artist specialising in improvisation, site-specific work, cross-art-form collaboration and, more recently, dance film. With a background in a variety of dance forms, she studied Indian classical dance (Odissi) at the Temple of Fine Arts, Kuala Lumpur, and trained in butoh under Lena Ang. Performing extensively and later choreographing and teaching with Taro Dance Theatre in Malaysia, she then returned to the UK and continued investigation of butoh under a number of butoh masters. She joined Café Reason in 1999 and became a core member of the group, sharing teaching, choreography, and direction.
Paul Mackilligin has been practising butoh with Café Reason since 2001. His main artistic interest lies in the interaction between performer and audience. "Butoh dance gives me a context for intimacy with an audience which is quite unique I think. On good days I leave my personality behind - like taking off an overcoat or peeling off a skin - and what I find underneath is a thing that the audience recognises even if they have no words for it. Butoh is not a polite thing to do to an audience, but it is an act of solidarity."
Paola Esposito is an academic researcher on butoh at Oxford Brookes University. She started as a butoh film-maker in 2005, collaborating with Sayoko Onishi and Marie-Gabrielle Rotie, and since 2006 she has become involved with butoh as a dancer. "One evening, walking back home, I saw a man carrying on his back a massive load, more than double his own body size. He was bent in two because of the weight, yet he managed to steadily walk forward. The whole load was wrapped in black rubbish bags. 'He must be carrying his whole life in that', I thought. I felt neither pity nor sadness for his condition; rather, I was rapt with admiration. I said to myself, 'that must be butoh - a beauty born out of necessity'."
Flavia Coube danced classical ballet with Yolanda Verdier and Neyde Rossi in Sao Paulo, Brazil, later joining a contemporary dance group with Diana Gilardengui and Zila Muniz in Florianopolis. In 2008 she joined Cafe Reason. "I feel I can express myself better in movement. It is wonderful if you can discover the unique way each person has to move. Butoh gave me the opportunity to communicate in a true way without a specific vocabulary and choose the mood and hue for what I have to say. Being part of Cafe Reason is one of the things that inspires me and makes me keep on dancing."
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