A groundbreaking collaboration is afoot involving New York City butoh dance company Vangeline Theater; founded by French-born butoh performer, choreographer, author, and teacher Vangeline; and a neuroscience team from the University of Houston, Rockefeller University, and City University of New York. The collaborating parties are researching the impact of butoh on brainwave activity in a pilot study. I am in Houston, Texas, at the university’s theater watching the culminating butoh performance as a group of neuroscientists (visibly stationed in the wings) record and download the activity in the dancers’ brains. Simultaneously, a multi-media artist is “artistically” projecting the dancers’ real-time brain activity onto the backdrop of the stage.
“The Slowest Wave” by Vangeline Theater. Photograph by Michael Blase