New Butoh® School
Formative plan

Organisation: Cultural Association for the Diffusion of New Butoh® Dance
Where: Ruvo di Puglia 70037, BA, Italy
Director: Sayoko Onishi
Other teachers: Yumiko Yoshioka and others
Language: Italian and English

General Rules

There is no minimum age for admission to the New Butoh® Dance School.

The First Level Course lasts two years and a half and allows the student to graduate as a First Level New Butoh® dancer/choreographer after passing the final evaluation.

The Second Level Course is accessible only to those who passed the First Level, it lasts one year and allows the student to graduate as a Second Level New Butoh® dancer/choreographer after passing the final evaluation.

The School offers the opportunity to attend single courses instead of attending the whole two year course. Each single course awards a Certification upon completion.

Attending all the single courses allows the student to graduate as a First Level New Butoh® dancer/choreographer.
If a First Level course has already started, the alumnus can still attend the School after making up for the lost courses during the next formative cycle.


The New Butoh Dance School offers different methods of payment to suit the alumnus.

Annual Tuition: € 800.00. If paid in advance. The cost is the same for both first and second level.


Tuition may also be paid in four installments of € 225.00 which must be paid ONE MONTH BEFORE each scheduled course. After this time, the cost of the course rises to € 250.00. The cost is the same for both first and second level, the total being € 900.00.


Please note that payment in full, in advance, offers a saving of € 100.00. 


It is possible to attend individual courses at the same costs mentioned above.

Every school year is scheduled into 4 periods of 5 days, giving a total of 140 formative hours.
The First level – a two-year diploma – has a total of 280 formative hours.
The Second Level – a one-year diploma – is accessible only to those who passed the First Level and has a total of 140 formative hours.


The School offers a list of affiliated places for board and lodging or guesthouses.


Registration can be made by filling in the form below.
Please choose annual or single course.
To confirm the registration please pay the tuition. 

What is New Butoh

What is New Butoh®

Between Butoh and New Butoh®

What is New Butoh®

Between Butoh and New Butoh®

Butoh originated in the 1950s, and focused itself on the schizophrenic relationship with the Japanese classic culture.
New Butoh® is created by choreographers, belonging to a new generation of dancers who, for the most part, do not live in Japan.
Their performances are modelled according to the culture of the places where they live.


The first Butoh was influenced by several personalities and their forms of art: Mary Wigman’s German expressionism, Etienne Decroux’s French mime, Antonia Mercé’s visceral flamenco and Martha Graham’s modern studies. Butoh’s mission was to represent the frustration and the nullifying of the entire Japanese values after the trauma of Hiroshima and the post-WWII US colonialism, without omitting some taboo themes in Japan at that time (such as homosexuality, sexual perversion and nudity on stage).


New Butoh® carries upon its shoulders the themes of self-destruction, self-annulment and all the consequences of war (also because, unlike the original Butoh, New Butoh® performers never actually lived in that time and under those conditions). New Butoh®’s themes now connect with Nature and cultural tendencies, focusing also on a new relationship with the human condition (an undervalued and seldom revealed aspect of modern society).


In 2005, in Palermo, Yoshito Ohno (son of Kazuo Ohno, the cofounder of Butoh with Tatsumi Hijkata) and Sayoko Onishi discussed the idea of “Butoh and New Butoh®” during a convention.
In fact, Sayoko Onishi was already moving beyond the traditional idea of Butoh, fusing all of her past experiences with new elements. As a matter of fact, Onishi’s teaching, choreography and dancing experience in Sicily played a fundamental role in the birth of her New Butoh®. This region’s history, the influence of different cultures such as Fenici, Greek and Arabic informed her concept of New Butoh®. Classical figures in Butoh, codified by Tatsumi Hijkata and later by Yukio Waguri, have been processed and assume a more “site specific” identity. New Butoh®’s style now has influences from Sicilian “zagarie”, mythological Greek figures instead of the previous Japanese ones. A “gaki” (Japanese demon) can become a Venus, a rose can turn into a catus, an ares, a samurai. In terms of birth, Sicilian Spring (Primavera Siciliana), created in 2006, is the real manifesto of New Butoh®.


New Butoh® gathers all the experiences of my life.
I’ve studied ballet, contemporary dance, Japanese traditional dance and Butoh.
Later on, I’ve specialized in China in the Tai Chi Chuan and Qì Gōng techniques.
I’ve worked with as many choreographers as I could (classical, contemporary, butoh, African, flamenco, traditional Japanese, Indonesian, Chinese…) interacting with a variety of artists (musicians, composers, actors, visual artists, poets, writers, performers, painters, photographers…)
Artists’ different backgrounds lead me to confront cultures very different from mine but, actually, my whole life has been a constant moving around in different places.

Every time was a challenge, jumping into unknown universes.

Every time I dived deep into the artist and the persona, digging out something inside of me.
Every time I had to create something new, merging with people, cultures and disciplines.
Other times ideas were born from confrontation.

I’ve collected these creations over the years and synthetized in my own method.

New Butoh® represents an inner way to learn from yourself, your body and your deepest Io.
The individual can discover its various inner shades, starting a metamorphosis of the physical self-expression.
Everything, including fundamental techniques of Butoh, is the ground base for New Butoh®’s origin.”


Ultimately New Butoh® is a process of deconstruction, evolution and contamination particularly overwhelming and revolutionary, because with its elements of oriental philosophy and martial arts, it can unite different cultures and populations. Another specific element of New Butoh® is the introduction of Yoga training, in the form of Oki-do with some basic techniques of Qì Gōng. This is utilized to protect the dancer’s psychophysical well-being and to remove physical, mental and spiritual limitations that stand in the way of the development of the dance.

A circle connects us to a Universal Energy, triggering unpredictable events, ancestral images, primitive memories, primordial pulses. The body isn’t moving anymore but is moved by the energy, as if the body was led into dancing and the external vessel scattered, leaving room for the Presence and the Sense dwelling inside.


This method also includes elements and techniques of Body-Mind-Centering applied to the Tanden discipline, Sensitization of Body, exercises to gather and control inner energy (Ki), Division of Body, Transferring images from sensation to physical expression, remodeling of time, space and sound conception, music and silence (Sensitization with others, with themselves and in opposition).

In 2005 Sayoko Onishi inaugurated the National Academy of Butoh in Palermo, later named New Butoh® School, in collaboration with master Yoshito Ohno.

In 2020, after several years of pause, the Cultural Association for the Diffusion of New Butoh® Dance in Ruvo di Puglia, coordinated by Mimma Di Vittorio, reboots the activity of the New Butoh® School, once again under the guidance of Sayoko Onishi.



Written by Antonio Leto, Sayoko Onishi and Mimma di Vittorio



Note on Oki-do Yoga:
Its name came from the homonymous master Masahiro Oki, great expert in martial arts, Chinese and occidental traditional medicine. Travelling around the world he collected a vast experience in the health sector, practicing for a very long time Indian Yoga, Japanese Zen, Buddhist meditation, Shiatsu and acupuncture. His Yoga is not a method but a refined synthesis of all his experiences.




First module

April 24-28, 2023


  • Slowness comes from Self Consciousness;
  • Moving slowly needs focusing on yourself and feeling your body;
  • Your soul emerges from this process.

Second module

August 23-27, 2023

KI Energy

  • Ki, interior energy in Japanese;
  • Feel your Ki;
  • Increase your KI to discover your different kinds of

Third module

December 15-19, 2023

Classic Butoh

  • Classic Butoh workshop;
  • Bugs: Classic Butoh techniques about deep and dark images by Sayoko Onishi.

Fourth module

April 24-28, 2024

Image work

  • Improvisation with surreal images;
  • Images always change and transform like a kaleidoscope;
  • Liberate and discover yourself in improvisation;
  • Improvisations will be short at first, then longer and longer up to 1 h.

Fifth module

August 5-9, 2024


  • Meetings about this world, us and the other World.

Sixth module

December 2024

Classic Butoh

  • Replace energy with feelings;
    change the size of the Universe.

Seventh module

April 2025

KI Energy

  • Pictures of the classical Japanese demons.

Eighth module + Final Exam

August 2025

Image work

  • Improvisation on the four elements that compose
    the universe.




First module

April 17-May 1st 2023


  • To be someone else.

Second module

August 26-30, 2023

KI Energy

  • Creation and development of your original image.

Third module

December 18-22, 2023

Butoh Classic

  • Creation in the Dance of Darkness.

Fourth module + Final Exam

April 27 – May 1, 2024


  • Creation of a New Butoh choreography.