Entertainment & Arts

Japanese dancer Kazuo Ohno dies at 103

Kazuo Ohno
Image caption Ohno's work raised questions about beauty and death

Japanese dancer Kazuo Ohno, credited with bringing the Butoh style to wider audiences, has died at the age of 103.

Ohno was famed for his slow movements, often performed from a crouching position. He usually wore white face make-up while dancing.

He began his dance career in the 1930s and continued to appear on stage when he was in his 90s.

"We have lost a giant jewel", said Eikoh Hosoe, who photographed Ohno for more than 50 years.

"Both strength and kindness were expressed in his works. He delivered hope through dance," he added.

Akaji Muro, leader of Japanese dance troupe Dairakudakan, called Ohno "a miraculously extraordinary dancer".

"He taught us the less that existence is a fragile state of non-existence. May he continue to shed light as a spiritual guardian for all young Butoh dancers."

Ohno was also renowned for performing in female costume, including long dresses and elaborate hats, sometimes a ragged kimono.

His artistic expressions included face contortions, curling up his body and bending his arms.

While his performances could be seen as eerie, Ohno also had the capacity to transform himself into a statuesque woman.

He lost his mobility towards the end of his life, but still found ways to express himself in dance solely with the use of his hands.

He entered pop culture in 2009 when he was featured on the cover of Antony and the Johnsons' album The Crying Light.

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