body weather

Min Tanaka sums up the artform he has named 'Body Weather' as "The body that measures the landscape, the body in intercourse with weather, the body kissing mass of peat, the body in love-death relation to the day. For me the dance has been a symbol of despair and courage." This is the basis for his Body Weather Farm, a unique approach to communal living, working and creating.

Tanaka has evolved the traditional, slow-moving Japanese dance form of Butoh into a new method intended to connect dancers deeply to the space and landscape around them. Like Butoh, Body Weather often depicts cycles of birth, death and renewal, but unlike its predecessor, the primary focus is on the intersections of the dancers' bodies and the environments they inhabit. Each body is conceived as constantly changing, like the weather, in complex relationship to its surroundings, as "physical geographical details [are] experienced with intimacy, like an extension of the body."

Tanaka founded Body Weather Farm in 1985 in the mountain village of Hakushu (outside Tokyo) to explore the origins of dance through farming life. Dancers who come to live there spend several hours every day doing hard labor in the fields, raising rice, vegetables and chickens, followed by many hours of daily dance training. The farm is a cooperative living environment, where everyone pitches in and everything is shared among participants. Members of the community learn new patterns of social engagement by taking part in the communal living environment. While throughout the process, the landscape seeps into their bodies and influences their art.