Vangeline interviewed on

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Vangeline interviewed on

This month, one of my main Butoh teachers, Vangeline of Vangeline Theater / NY Butoh Institute was featured in an incredible article by Jeff Goldberg on about the relationship between Butoh, compassion, and buddhism. Check out the excerpt below or read the full article here.

How Butoh, the Japanese Dance of Darkness, Helps Us Experience Compassion in a Suffering World

Butoh is now being taught to Zen students, prisoners, and others as a way to acknowledge difficult emotions.

By Jeff Goldberg

Butoh [bu-tō], often translated as “Dance of Darkness,” rose out of the ashes of post-World War II Japan as an extreme avant-garde dance form that shocked audiences with its grotesque movements and graphic sexual allusions when it was introduced in the 1950s.

Though not directly connected to Buddhism, Butoh shares the tenets of selflessness, transformation through changes of consciousness, and above all, compassion. “Its grotesque elements do not constitute the core of Butoh,” wrote the dance historian Juliette Crump in the 2006 essay “‘One Who Hears Their Cries’: The Buddhist Ethic of Compassion in Japanese Butoh.” “Rather, it is the basic Buddhist value of compassion that inspires Butoh’s content and powerful expression.”


No one has done more to bring Butoh to America than Vangeline, the founder and director of the Vangeline Theater and New York Butoh Institute. Born in 1970, Vangeline moved from her native France to New York when she was 23, where she worked as a jazz and cabaret dancer until 1999, when she saw a performance of the Sankai Juku Butoh company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


“It was like having an out-of-body experience,” Vangeline recalls. “I stopped everything I was doing and began to study Butoh.” She studied for five years with the Mexican Butoh master Diego Piñon, who had been inspired by the pioneering Japanese dancers to introduce Butoh to his country. She started the Vangeline Theater and New York Butoh Institute in 2002 and has been performing and teaching Butoh ever since.

Click here to continue reading the full article on


Tickets on sale now for the Humboldt Butoh Festival 2018!



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