Trajal Harrell Sister or He Buried the Body


Trajal Harrell furthers his research into butoh and its origins, whilst steering clear of a single story. Sister or He Buried the Body is a daring encounter between Tatsumi Hijikata, from Japan, and the pioneer of Afro-American dances, Katherine Dunham.  The resulting fiction takes on the allure of shifting choreographic continents.

True to his desire to make and un-make a history of dance, Trajal Harrell's audacious piece, Sister or He Buried the Body, uses a permanent sense of overlapping in this performative solo. He summons up, beneath its own "traits", Tatsumi Hijikata and his mythical long lost sister - butoh on the one hand and research into Katherine Dunham on the other. Legend has it that Hijikata once shared a studio with Dunham. This was all it took for Trajal Harrell to turn the latter into the "long-lost mother of butoh". In his own way, Harrell picks up on a thread and uses it to compose a moving tableau of modernities. He questions the figure of Hijikata's sister - Dunham or a blood relative deceased or a fiction all together - thereby affirming the link between movement and disappearance. In the words of Tatsumi Hijikata, "We should never stop learning from the dead, we should live with them». Using a sparse stage set made up of woven mats and passementerie, Trajal Harrell conjures up a ceremony of remembrance and sharing. A dance of love lost in invented memories.