Cobody (Updated 9/10/17)

Butoh does not have to be only about the individual (subbody) but can also be about the collective (cobody). All the following activities are encouraged to be executed with reduction & regeneration by X.

Performance Space Positions

City Life

This stage position is any number of structured, linear, or neat formations that tend to be predictable.

Rock Garden

This type of stage position looks more random or chaotic, and appears to further approach the appearance of nature. Contrasting levels (low, medium, high) are also recommended.


We can mirror another and use various types of symmetries.

There are 4 main types of 2d symmetries.

1. Reflection

This is like a looking glass.

2. Translation

This is like soldiers marching in a line.

3. Rotation

This rotates around one axis.

4. Glide-reflection

This is first reflected like a mirror but and then translated. It is a combination of reflection and translation. When we walk, we naturally do this symmetry.

Once the 4 symmetries are identified, experiment with using them together as well.

The mirror/reflection may be: (1) Clean; (2) Warped; (3) Broken.

Additional Exercise: Shifting Mirror Loop

Two or more participants begin with looping their own personal movements and then eventually come to a middle ground where they are looping the same movement in a mirroring fashion.


A popular improvisational dance mirroring exercise is flocking. This exercise makes use of translation symmetry (see above). Flocking involves a group of real time imitators. Whoever is in front of the flock is the participant being imitated.

Pass the Demon

This is a mirroring exercise in a circle. One individual turns into a demon and passes this demon shape and feel around a circle. Once the demon is passed, the passer returns to a neutral state. We try to get the demon rotating around as quickly as possible. Mirroring the sound is also recommended.


Form a butoh sculpture to freeze into. Stacking one body over another is a plus. Being upside down is also a plus. Think of a jumble, a knot, or a Hans Bellmer piece. Form into a sculpture of one absurd organism.


This exercise involves a group. When one person stops, everyone stops, and when one person resumes moving, everybody resumes moving.

Thread Web

A good way to connect cobodies is to utilize thread. Take one thread and connect this thread to everybody, crafting a haphazard web.

Nobody is to break the thread. The same exercise can then be repeated with imaginary thread. Imaginary thread can also be used. Connect one thread from one individual’s service to another’s. Move accordingly.

Behind World

One or more participants act as the shadow or edge of one or more other participants in the foreground.

Partner Manipulation

With one blindfolded participant, another manipulates the body of another in whichever way that resonates. Choose the resistance of the blindfolded participant (0% to 100%). After, the blindfolded participant attempts to remember the manipulations and reenacts them.

Crazy Zipper

Grab hands in a circle. Rotate this circle and have the participants step back, forward, and around without letting go of the hands.

Human Knot

Similar to Crazy Zipper. The participants get in a circle and put their hands in the center then grab hands at random. They then have to undo the knot without breaking hands.

Space Invaders

Have the participants clump together without touching. As everybody moves in the space, all the arms spread out try and touch only the empty spaces.

Slow Defense & Offense

Have the participants clump together and slowly strike at each other while at the same time blocking each other.


This is limbo, but butoh version.

Paper Sheet Puppet

Have one participant manipulate a sheet of paper. Another participate mirrors the exact manipulates of the paper. If, for instance, the paper is put into a ball, the mirroring participant goes into a ball.

Clay Puppet

This is the same concept as Paper Sheet Puppet but with clay or Play Doh.

Space Equilibrium

Everyone moves throughout a space while at the same time keeping equal distance.

Crack the Whip

One participant is the head of the whip and travels in quick ridiculous pathways while everyone holds hands. If the whip is ever broken, participants are to immediately return to the chain.

Jump Rope & Double Dutch

This is the butoh version of group rope jumping. Jump into various qualias while engaging in this exercise.

Wood Crate Tug of War

Tug of war is played from the top of a wood crate.


This is a chain of participants connected from the top of the head to the front participant’s back. Modify point of connection and body part as needed.


Make a DIY (do it yourself) Twister game with chalk or paint, which can be bigger than the original game. Craft your own spinner. Modify as needed for intrigue and difficulty.

Rolling Logs

The participants align themselves into a row of rolling logs on the ground. The log at the end of the row is to quickly get up and get to the other end of the row and continue rolling. This repeats.

Hot Potato

Pass an object that is felt to be very hot. Keep throwing it randomly to participants. Whoever has the object when the time limit is reached, loses.

Sitting Person

One individual sits in a chair and various people take turns shifting the context of why the person is in the setting.

Stolen Qualia

Everyone is engaged in different movements but all repetitive movements. When anybody desires, one will copy another’s movement. If this happens, then the movement has been stolen and the other person has to search for an entirely new movement.

Prop Transformation

This is a prop metamorphosis technique where person A gives a prop in one context to Person B but Person B has a different context for it.