Born in the atomic aftermath of World War II and fueled by student protests in the 1950s, the Japanese dance form that has come to be called Butoh marks its 50th anniversary with Global Descent: Celebrating 50 Years of Butoh . The two-day event acknowledges the irony of sunny SoCal's emergence as a major center of this often dark and apocalyptic genre. In addition to familiar faces from L.A.'s Body Weather Laboratory and Descent Performance Laboratory, the participants include New York's Vangeline Theater and Japan's Katsura Kan (pictured), who mesmerized those fortunate enough to see his last performance here in 2007. A legendary figure from the first generation of Japan's Butoh pioneers, Kan offers Beckett Butoh Notation, which he has described as a fusion of the writings of Irish playwright Samuel Beckett and choreographer Tatsumi Hijikata. One of the founders of Butoh , Hijikata gave a 1959 performance that is considered by many the moment Butoh emerged, but at the time, that piece, Kinjiki ( Forbidden Colors ), scandalized the audience and Hijikata was promptly banned from the dance festival. So maybe it's SoCal's anything-goes attitude rather than the climate that has fostered Butoh 's strong local following. Find out as Butoh launches its next 50 years.

April 24-25, 8:30 p.m., 2009

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