The Slowest Wave–Butoh and the Brain

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The Slowest Wave–Butoh and the Brain

The Slowest Wave/Butoh and The Brain is the culmination of an art-science performance-research study.

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Student Center South 4455 University Drive Houston, TX 77204

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  • 2 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

Vangeline Theater/ New York Butoh Institute announces a free public showing of The Slowest Wave/Butoh and The Brain, the culmination of an art-science performance-research study, on February 10, 2023 at 6pm at University of Houston, Student Center South Theater, 4455 University Dr #103/203, Houston, TX.

This showing is being offered as part of a new study investigating the brain dynamics of dancers while they are performing Butoh, a postmodern dance style that originated in Japan, through the use of electroencephalography (EEG) to record the participants’ brain waves. The study is a collaboration between the New York-based Vangeline Theater dance company, the Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems, IUCRC BRAIN Center, The Rockefeller University, and the Neurobiology of Social Communication Lab (funded by the City University of New York, Rockefeller University and New York University).

In collaboration with neuroscientists Sadye Paez and Constantina Theofanopoulou, neuroengineer Jose ‘Pepe’ Contreras-Vidal, and composer Ray Sweeten, Vangeline choreographed a 60-minute ensemble butoh piece, which is uniquely informed by the protocol established for a scientific pilot study researching the impact of butoh on brain activity. For the groundbreaking art-science study, dancers' brain activity will be recorded at the University of Houston, Texas, with real-time visualization of the dancers' neural activity. Results will then be disseminated in scientific journals.

Vangeline and Sweeten have built on a 20-year history of creative collaboration with a soundscape that is informed by techniques of brainwave entrainment (techniques that affect consciousness through sound). The Slowest Wave investigates through the use of scalp EEG how brain waves during butoh dancing compare to those emitted during other conscious or unconscious motor behaviors, such as speaking or meditating. Moreover, the study will elucidate the functional neural networks of the dancers and the neural synchrony within and between them. This project is meant to foster connections and understanding between dancers, artists, scientists, engineers, and audiences from around the world.