Buried TeaBowl - OKUNI by Yumi Umiumare

Melbourne performance legend and Australia’s high priestess of Japanese Butoh dance, Yumi Umiumare, returns with a new solo performance and gallery installation 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.

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