White Dance
photo by A Loffler

White Dance (1976)

Eiko & Koma titled all of their performances in Europe White Dance (1972-1974). Their presentations were always about one hour, performed without an intermission. In naming their program White Dance, Eiko and Koma were trying to create a new beginning for themselves, not bound to the butoh works of their teachers Hijikata and Ohno, which were often described by the artists themselves as “dances of darkness.”

In the time between their return to Japan from Europe in 1974 and leaving for New York City in 1976, Eiko & Koma choreographed this work summarizing their explorations in Europe and again titled it as White Dance. The choreography included a lot of floor work as the result of Eiko’s ankle injury in Europe. In May 1976, Eiko & Koma performed White Dance, subtitled Moth, for their U.S. debut at Japan Society and at subsequent performances. An excerpt of the poem “Moth” by Mitsuharu Kaneko was printed on the program notes and medieval Japanese moth designs were projected on the background. The piece was set to medieval European music and Bach. 50 minutes.