Flamen

Tanya Calamoneri mentions that according to Waguri, this was staged for women, specifically Ashikawa and Kobayashi Saga. Calamoneri notes:

He described the women lying on their sides, propped up on their elbows with their legs outstretched, in a position that became known to the dancers as “Flamen” after the Flemish painter and engraver Albert Flamen who inspired this choreography. Hijikata blended the life history of another engraver, Breedon* with the quality of etching itself as danceable material, and developed a choreography for a reclining figure around whom had grown an entire forest an miniature ecosystems.

Flamen can be summed thus:

A reclining figure that has grown an entire forest, a miniature ecosystem

The body is crippled by its immobility

Hallucinations begin and many soldiers emerge fighting on the head (way of hair)

The teeth are fighting one another (quarrel in teeth)

A stem grows up through the body

The face becomes a sunflower

The dancer raises a weary arm to trace the outline of three petals (sunflower)

Countless butterflies flutter around the weakened body, brushing and tickling the skin (butterfly)

The eyes squint to look at a tiny crystal inside of which a small insect is trapped (crystal louse)

 


Calamoneri, Tanya. Becoming Nothing to Become Something: Methods of Performer Training in Hijikata Tatsumi’s Buto Dance. pHD dissertation. Page 134,135. 2012.
* Tanya Calamoneri Note: “This is most likely John Symonds Breedon (1754-1826), an amateur engraver. According to Waguri, Breedon was nearly blind and made his art in his sick bed where he was confined for nearly 25 years. Hijikata referred to his convalesence in his choreography, creating a man who was literally rooted to his bed with trees and too weak to even lift his head.
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