Priestess of Butoh Yumi Umiumare presents Buried TeaBowl – OKUNI

May 11, 2022

Australia’s high priestess of Japanese Butoh dance, Yumi Umiumare, returns with a new solo performance and gallery installation, Buried TeaBowl – OKUNI, featuring her signature juxtaposing of tradition and counter-culture.

Opening Friday 6 May at Fitzroy’s BLACKCAT Gallery, Buried TeaBowl – OKUNI is an intimate and epic solo performance installation bringing together dance, text, song and tea ceremony with stunning film footage. The work is inspired by radical Japanese female dancer and shaman Okuni, who initiated Kabuki theatre in the early 1600s.

Undisputedly at the height of her creative powers, Umiumare pays homage to Okuni through this work, using the tea bowl as a metaphor for long-buried sacred female power. Through the 450-years-old ritual of Japanese tea ceremony, she excavates ancient stories and channels the multi-faceted character of the complex, powerful yet fragile Okuni, to reawaken her spirit.

In addition to the nine performances, Buried TeaBowl – OKUNI will involve an immersive gallery experience. The performance space will be open during the Gallery’s opening hours of 11am to 5pm Wednesday through Sunday, and include installations, a contemporary Japanese tearoom, digital works, and soundscapes. Umiumare will also create pop-up tea ceremony spaces.

Buried TeaBowl – OKUNI marks Umiumare’s long-awaited return to solo performance. Since moving to Australia in 1993, she has emerged as a leading force in the avant-garde dance world, spearheading the iconoclastic ButohOUT! festival as well as being in demand as a director and performance artist nationally and internationally. In 2018, the Green Room Awards Association awarded Umiumare the Geoffrey Milne Award for Contemporary and Experimental Performance, in recognition of her significant contribution to Melbourne performance.

Buried TeaBowl – Okuni

Where: BLACKCAT Gallery420 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Show duration: Approx. 65 minutes

Cost: $35 / $25 / Superiori-TEA $50 including a drink on arrival. Preview price : 6 Fri 8pm, $15.

Tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/BYPCB

5 Thur May 2022 8:30pm/ Preview special price $15

6 Fri May 2022 8pm Opening night

7 Sat May 2022 8pm

8 Sun May 2022 6pm

11 Wed May 2022 8pm

12 Thur May 2022 8pm

13 Fri May 2022 8pm

14 Sat May 2022 8pm

15 Sun May 2022 6pm

During the performance season, the installation is open daily from 11am-5pm. Tea ceremonies and other events will be held during gallery hours.

Creator/Performer: Yumi Umiumare

Cinematographer/ Editor: Takeshi Kondo 

Composer/ Sound Designer: Dan West 

Lighting designer: Emma Lockhart-Wilson 

Dramaturg/ Maude: Davey

Provocateur: Moira Finucane 

Producer: Kath Papas Productions

Photographer: Vikk Shayen 

Graphic design: Mariko Naito 

Calligraphy: Hisako Tsuchiya 

Publicity: Diana Wolfe, Wolfe Words

This season is supported by Besen Family Foundation and BLACKCAT Gallery. The creative development (2021) of the work was supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, City of Darebin and Abbotsford Convent Foundation.

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