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Plucking off the Darkness of the Flesh: Butoh at the Distillery Gallery

FRIDAY, 7/28 @ 8pm: Short solo movement works by emerging butoh artists Julie Becker, Jessie Hansen, Melanie Hedlund, Rieger Ofri and Elaine Thap.

SATURDAY, 7/29 @ 8pm: Trio performance by Sara June (movement), Douglas Urbank (film) and Max Lord (sound), and duet performance by dancer/choreographers Zack Fuller and Emily Smith.

SUNDAY, 7/30, 1-5pm: Movement workshop with Zack Fuller

DISTILLERY GALLERY: 516 East 2nd Street, South Boston, MA 02127


Zack Fuller has been creating dance and physical theater since 1987 when he participated in theatrical research with Ryszard Cieslak, the leading actor of Jerzy Grotowski’s Polish Laboratory Theater. He ...has performed throughout Europe, Japan, and the U.S. in works by renowned dancer/farmer Min Tanaka, and was an early member of Tokason Butoh Group. His own original dance works have been presented by CAVE’s New York Butoh Festival, Movement Research at Judson Church, Plan B in Tokyo, Dance Hakushu Festival in Yamanashi, Japan, Mobius in Boston, and other venues throughout the world. They frequently involve collaboration with cutting edge musicians, and have been described by the Boston Globe as “Cryptic… but characterized by astonishing theatricality,” and “Like an angel coming down Jacob’s ladder to play in the garbage” by the Japanese dance critic Hidenaga Otori.

Emily Smith received her BFA from Alfred University with a major in Fine Arts and a minor in Biology. Emily (with Laura Smith) co-­founded the Six and Four Articulations, which gave dancers and non-­dancers space to make and show work nationally. She was a member of Layla Mrozowski’s eco­friendly “BAAD” Bicycle Awesome Adventure Dance Tour. Together with Laura Smith, they formed “NOT for reTALE”, creating kinetic sculptures and performance, using materials such as fabric, furniture, light, and metal. She along with Elena Rose Light launched an annual performance series called Fete.. She performed with Leimay ensemble at BAM Fischer in 2016 premiere of Borders.

Sara June is a Boston-based dancemaker and visual artist working in the butoh form since 2001. Since 2006, she has collaborated closely with sound artist Max Lord as half of the duo Lord and June on meticulously-researched and uniquely-sited performance works. Sara's work has been presented in New England by the Boston University Art Galleries, Boston University Dance Theater, Boston Center for the Arts, Mobius, Green Street Studios, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island School of Design, Bridgewater State University, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, REACHFestival, Somerville Artbeat Festival, the Bumpkin Arts Encampment, in New York at the Center for Performance Research, Judson Memorial Church, Jonathan Shorr Gallery, Le Petit Versailles, the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, and internationally at Le Lieu Centre for Performance en art actuel (Quebec City), and in residence at Workspace Brussels (Belgium). Her performances have been chronicled in several publications including This Moment: Missives from Another World, a photographic history of the Boston performance art scene by photographer Robert Raymond. In 2015, Lord and June were commissioned by the Boston University Art Galleries to create a work, PEACOCK, for performance alongside the internationally acclaimed Hiroshima Panels by Japanese artists Iri and Toshi Maruki. Since 2009, she has been a member of the Mobius Artists Group, a Boston-based experimental arts collective. Sara teaches a weekly open butoh class at Studio @550 in Cambridge and is a devoted yogi, practicing at Samara Yoga Studio in Davis Square, Somerville. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard University, and Boston University.

Max Lord is a Boston-based improvisor who has worked in a variety of rock, noise, electronic and improv settings. Though originally identifying as a percussionist, since 2000 he has performed with Buchla electronic instruments. His recorded work as Ghost Grass recalls mid-century electronic experimentation as often as more modern improvised approaches. From 2001-2005 he worked out of Wire Sounds, a studio that he built in South Boston and populated with analog synthesizers and antiquated recording equipment. At Wire Sounds he built a large modular synthesizer system, created many tape-based pieces, and recorded various bits and pieces of the Boston rock underground. Some of his work from this time is documented on the CD Electronic Music 2000-2005. After 2006, Max refocused much of his work into contexts not exclusively musical, and began a long, fruitful collaboration with movement artist Sara June. As Lord and June, they work as an improvisational group, on large-scale conceptual projects, and in collaboration with many other members of the experimental movement community. He continues to record and perform as Ghost Grass, in which his primary instrument is the Buchla Electric Music Box. In the past few years he has self-released 6 limited-edition tapes Ghost Grass 001-006.

Douglas Urbank, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is an artist with a background in sculpture and drawing who began to experiment with filmmaking in 2008. His short films have screened in festivals and curated programs nationally and internationally. Since 2001 he has hosted a radio program devoted to experimental, improvisational, and other unconventional music and sound art. He is also a member of Fort Point Theatre Channel, an independent theater company that brings together an ensemble of artists from the worlds of theater, music, and visual arts. And he is a founding member of the AgX Film Collective. He works to promote cross-pollination between art forms on the fringes of alternative culture: experimental music, film and theater.


Julie Becker is a theatre artist who focuses on physical research, experimentation, and devised ensemble work. She has an interest in hidden natures, collective unconscious, and connection with the natural world. Julie’s work is informed by her experience training with artists coming from experimental, Polish laboratory theatre lineage, including Rena Mirecka, The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, Pere Sais, Teatr Zar, Teatr Piesn Kozla, and Double Edge Theatre. She holds an MA in Ensemble Theatre from Rose Bruford College, London, in conjunction with Teatr Piesn Kozla (Song of the Goat Theatre). Her most recent performances have been the ongoing project Singing Bones, presented in both ensemble and solo iterations in Boston and Cambridge, andStudying Hamlet, an ensemble piece presented in London and in the main program of the 2015 Gdansk Shakespeare Festival in Gdansk, Poland.

Born and raised in Utah and baptized into the Mormon faith, Jessie Hansen’s work attempts to unlearn the rigid lessons she was taught as a child so that she and others may find their own form of truth and identity. Currently she lives in Boston, and is in the final stages of post-production on her short film titled “SELF CONSCIOUS.” The film features performances by a handful of humans, all identifying as ‘she,’ and explores their relationship to their bodies. Jessie graduated from the Studio for Interrelated Media at MassArt in May of 2017. This August, she will embark on a cross-country performance art tour, in which she will continue her search for identity and feminine empowerment.

Melanie Hedlund grew up with the horizon of a Midwest farm, weather passing over from west to east. She moved to the west coast in 1972, immersed in contact and the power of the Pacific. She moved to the verticality of NYC in 1976 and worked with/learned from many generous and genius people. She has lived in Boston since 1984, making life/family with art/family. Gratitude to all who are in the creative community.

Rieger Ofri was born and raised in Rehovot, Israel, and currently lives in Boston. She is a choreographer whose unique approach to dance stems from visual communication design. Working for many years as an art director, she strives to create a platform that will embed elements from the graphic design world into the realm of dance. Ofri has been working with different performance disciplines, trying to reach the unconscious mind through movement. She has been part of Japanese Butoh group, ensemble inédit, Fool's Journey, and teXtmoVes. Find out more at:

Elaine Thap is a Boston-based interdisciplinary artist working predominantly in performance. She is also an organizer and writer of contemporary art exhibitions. She obtained her BFA in Studio for Interrelated Media at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. As a Cambodian American woman, she uses her diasporic identity to convey layers of being and relationships. Live action or performance art is the ability to fabricate situations of childhood trauma and adult responsibility while seeking alternative perspectives and possibilities. She explores expressive psychosexuality in butoh movement while creating guttural, live sounds.

SUNDAY WORKSHOP with Zack Fuller: 2-7pm, $60
Hunting Impulse: Training and Improvisation

This workshop is focused on creating possibilities for improvisation and the development of an omni-centered body. It utilizes elements of Grotowski work and Min Tanaka’s Body Weather workshops. Class begins with a warm-up that is both vigorous and relaxing, moving into focused explorations emphasizing the balance between structure and impulse. The remainder of the lab involves slow movement combined with partnering exercises, physical actions from daily life, and visualization as a means of engaging the body’s inner stream. Appropriate for dancers, movers, improvisers, actors, people interested in butoh, or anyone seeking a physical experience. No previous dance training is necessary. To sign up, please contact:

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This event is part of the mobius Summer Series at the Distillery Gallery

Distillery Gallery - 516 East 2nd Street, South Boston, MA

Directions:  Accessible by Public Transportation via the MBTA. 15-20 minute walk from Broadway and Andrew stations on the Red Line, near bus stops for #9 from Copley Square (Orange and Green Lines) and #7 from South Station (Red and Silver Lines).  There are a few visitor spaces in the building parking lot and street parking nearby.