At the Vancouver Playhouse
The Vancouver International Dance Festival presents Dairakudakan
Akaji Maro was born in Nara in 1943. In 1965, he co-founded Jokyo-Gekijo with renowned Japanese actor/director Juro Kara under the strong influence of Tatsumi Hijikata. In their productions, Maro was acknowledged as an actor who embodied Kara’s “privileged physical theory” with his own spectacular acting approach and inspired many performing artists during the 1960s and ’70s. In 1966, he studied under Tatsumi Hijikata who was the progenitor of butoh.
In 1972, Maro founded Dairakudakan, where he brought his spectacular performing technique into butoh dance pieces. One of his basic teachings, tempu-tenshiki, became controversial not only in Japan but also other countries after its shocking debut at numerous dance festivals in France and U.S. in the 1980s. Since then, butoh has been highly influential in the international dance scene. Maro practices the principle of ichinin-ippa (“one dancer, one school”— the idea that each individual should be able to express/create her/his own movement vocabulary) and has fostered various butoh companies and dancers. Maro has challenged himself to cross the borders of different art forms as an actor, dancer and director/choreographer. He has also starred in such spectacular and independent and/or hit movies as Kikujiro no Natsu (director by Takeshi Kitano), KILL BILL (director by Quentin Tarantino). He has starred in TV series and in stage productions. He is breaking new ground as an actor. 2017 marked Dairakudakan’s 45th anniversary with Maro as its Artistic Director and leading butoh performer. Maro was awarded the Commissioner’s Award of the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 2006, Dance Forum Grand Prix in 2013, the 64th Dance-Art Award by Tokyo Shinbun in 2016, and First “Taneda Santoka” award in 2018.