Ushio Amagatsu

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Ushio Amagatsu (天児 牛大, Amagatsu Ushio, born 1949 in Yokosuka, Kanagawa) is a Japanese choreographer known as the leader of the Butoh dance group Sankai Juku, which he founded in 1975. He is the artistic director, choreographer and a dancer of Sankai Juku. He was also a co-founder of the seminal Butoh collective Dairakudakan in 1972. All Sankai Juku works since 1982 were premiered at and co-produced by Théâtre de la Ville, Paris. Sankai Juku has performed at more than 40 countries, 700 cities worldwide. Since 1997, he works as opera director as well.


  • In 1949, born in Yokosuka, Japan
  • In 1972, co-founded Dairakudakan
  • In 1980, the first performance abroad and the first world tour.
  • In 1989, appointed to the artistic director of the Spiral Hall in Tokyo.
  • In 1992, presided the Jury of the International Meeting of Dance of Bagnolet.
  • from 2002 to 2005, president of judge for "Toyota Choreography Award"


  • In 1977, created "Amagatsu Sho (Homage to Ancient Dolls)"
  • In 1978, created "Kinkan Shonen (Kumquat Seed)"
  • In 1979, created "Sholiba"
  • In 1981, created "Bakki", which premiered at Festival d'Avignon, France
  • In 1982, created "Jomon Sho" (co-produced by and premiered at Théâtre de la Ville, Paris)
  • In 1984, created "Netsu no Katachi"
  • In 1985, direction and choreography for the photo book "Luna"
  • In 1986, created "Unetsu - The Egg stands out of Curiosity"
  • in 1987, direction and choreography for the photo book "The Egg stands out of Curiosity"
  • In 1988, created "Shijima - The Darkness Calms Down in Space"
  • In 1988, created "Fushi" on the invitation of Jacob's Pillow Foundation, in the U.S., music by Philip Glass, premiered at Spiral Hall, Tokyo.
  • In 1989, directed "Apocalypse" (1989), music by Takashi Kako, dance by Ismael Ivo, premiered at Spiral Hall, Tokyo.
  • In 1989, directed and choreographed "Fifth-V" (1990) for six American dancers, premiered at Spiral Hall, Tokyo.
  • In 1991, created "Omote - The Grazed Surface"
  • In 1993, created "Yuragi - In a Space of Perpetual Motion"
  • In 1995, created "Hiyomeki - Within a Gentle Vibration and Agitation"
  • In February 1997, directed Bartok's opera "Bluebeard's Castle", which conducted by Péter Eötvös, premiered in Tokyo.
  • In 1997, directed a concert of Takashi Kako "Iro wo Kasanete", at Park Tower Hall, Tokyo.
  • In 1998, created "Hibiki - Resonance from Far Away"
  • In March 1998, at Opéra National de Lyon, France, he directed Péter Eötvös’ opera "Three Sisters" (world premiere). Three Sisters has been seen in the 2001-2002 season at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, at Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, at Opéra National de Lyon, and at Wiener Festwochen 2002 in Austria.
  • In 2000, created "Kagemi - Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors"
  • In 2003, created "Utsuri - Virtual Garden"
  • In 2005 re-created "Kinkan Shonen." Amagatsu's solo parts of the original version are performed by three young dancers.
  • In 2006, created "Toki - A moment in the weave time"
  • In 2008, created "Tobari - As if in an inexhaustible flux"
  • In 2008, created "Utsushi", which is a collage from past works. Amagatsu doesn't dance in this one.
  • In 2010, created "Kara・Mi - Two Flows"

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • In 1992, Amagatsu was awarded the "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" by the French Ministry of Culture.
  • In 1998, Péter Eötvös’s opera "Three Sisters", which directed by Amagatsu, received "Prix du Syndicat de la critique, France".
  • In February 2002, "Hibiki" won the 26th Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production.
  • In March 2004, Amagatsu was awarded "Geijutu Sensho Prize (Art Encouragement Prize)", by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan, for his outstanding artistic achievement.
  • In 2007, "TOKI" received "Grand Prix of the 6th The Asahi Performing Arts Awards" and Sankai Juku received "Kirin Special Grant for Dance."
  • In 2008, Péter Eötvös’s opera "Lady Sarashina", which directed by Amagatsu, received "Prix du Syndicat de la critique, France" again.

Books, Photo books and other references[edit]

External links[edit]