Adam Koan

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Hey friends,

My name is Adam Koan and I’m a half Colombian half Venezuelan-American, but was raised in the small town of Belleview, Florida. I have toured the world performing, teaching, and writing about Butoh. I am a former facilitator at Himalaya Subbody Butoh and am the curator of the 2-week Serbia Butoh Retreat 2019, which will return again in 2021.

But who I really am is somebody who is grateful to be alive, and I express this gratitude by dancing and encouraging others to dance too. I am also drawn to increasing the accessibility of Butoh to the marginalized or less privileged in our society and world. Anybody is welcome to create with me, LGBTQA, PoC, and the mentally and physically unique. Let’s choose integration over segregation. Let’s choose collaboration over competition.

I was classically trained in Ballet and Modern Dance at Hillsborough Community College (2010 – 2012) and University of South Florida (2012 – 2013) and studied Butoh at the Indian Himalayas at the Subbody Butoh School (Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Summer & Fall 2017, Summer & Fall 2018; Spring 2019).

Currently I am residing in Istanbul, Turkey as a guide for the Butoh Lantern Turkey program (in October it will be Ukraine).

Julie Becton Gillum (NC, USA) is my butoh mentor & touring partner.

See the following links below for my butoh history/resume.

History of butoh education

History of performance

History of shadowbody workshops/courses given

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Why do I dance Butoh?

I live to dance. I dance to live. Included in the light side of life are also the shadows. I dance the shadows too. In this way, there is depth.

What is Butoh?

Butoh is a Japanese dance form that began as a reaction to a post-World War II-stricken Japan. Underground Japan desired a new dance form mirroring the times and a dance they could claim as their own. What spawned about was a rebellious form of movement which widens the sphere of what could be considered dance. The key motivator of the movement is one’s own darkness (shadows, hangups, Jungian repressions), so inherently, the dance transcends mere entertainment value and establishes itself as a dance for the psyche itself.

Despite how novel butoh appears, the art form can show itself deriving heavy influences from both Japanese Noh theater and German expressionist dance.

Tatsumi Hijikata, co-founder
Tatsumi Hijikata
Kazuo Ohno, founder
Kazuo Ohno

The founders Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata have both passed on, but the spirit of butoh remains and continues to reach the intrigue of curious souls that identify the universal nature of the dance. shadowbody is one such entity that will keep the flame of butoh lit. Along with expressing individual shadows, my butoh is an expression of shadows far-extending my own body, for it includes themes such as the shadows of environmental and humanitarian exploitation and negligence.

Want to learn more about Butoh? I spent 2 years working on my personal Butoh manual, which you can view for free here.