Born in Japan, Yumi is an established Butoh Dancer, choreographer and creator of Butoh Cabaret works.

ButohOUT!2021 Image: Vikk Shayen

She has been creating her distinctive style of works for 30 years and her creations are renowned for provoking visceral emotions and engaging with cultural identities. Yumi’s works have been seen in numerous festivals in dance, theatre and film productions throughout Australia, Japan, Europe, New Zealand, South East Asia and South America and have received several Australian Green Room awards.

Her major production credits include DasSHOKU Butoh cabaret series (1999-), EnTrance(2009-2012) and PopUp Tearoom series(2015-). As an independent artist, she has collaborated with various companies from diverse cultures and genres such as Finucane and Smith, BighART, Marrugeku, Weave Movement Theatre, Back to Back Theatre and The Rabble. 

As a choreographer, Yumi has worked with many socially engaged theatre projects in Australia, including communities of First Nations, refugees and culturally diverse peopleShe is a recipient of the fellowship from Australian Council(2015-16)  and a winner of the Green Room Geoffrey Milne Memorial Award (2017). Yumi is a key figure of the international Butoh scene and artistic director of ButohOUT! festival in Melbourne since 2017.

What activities will the Creators Fund support you to undertake?

I am undertaking a six-month research and experimentation project exploring Jujutsu (呪術), the Japanese notion of shamanism. I will work with three artists and five specialists, including a first nations artist, a celebrant, scientists, a veterinarian/animal communicator and artists from diverse backgrounds in Australia, Japan, Denmark and USA. This collaboration will take place via online and live meetings.

Can you talk us through what your work routine will look like with the help of a creator's fund grant?  

I will follow my plans through the five stages of research; preliminary research, analysis, practice methods in arts and non-arts field, conducting public online forums/workshops, an interim show, storytelling and Q&A.

I also plan to create my own practice routines to balance between my left and right brains; between the rational, practical and analytical process to the spontaneous, metaphysical and inexplicable aspects. I am hoping I will find new ways as I go.

Where would you like to see yourself and your career at the end of this process?  

Hopefully I will be a better person having gained more knowledge, insight and wisdom!

Also, my aim is to become a more integrated creative practitioner, embracing arts through diverse notions and approaches from the perspectives of science, spirituality and rituals with certain practical methods. I hope that I will be able to share these insights with arts and non-arts communities for the benefit of our mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

Who knows, I may change my career! But in any case, this research would definitely take me into new and unknown territories in order for me to extend my creativity in arts to another level. I am also hoping that this project will declutter and simplify yet deepen my whole process of art-making. Yes!

Website: www.yumi.com.au

Find out more about the Creators Fund program.