Poster design by Ayala Kingsley
Photograph by Paul Freestone

, presented by Café Reason Butoh Dance Theatre at the Pegasus Theatre in 2011, was produced, directed, and managed by a three-woman team (Ana Barbour, Jeannie Donald-McKim and Ayala Kingsley) who wove together an eclectic collection of short pieces conceived and developed by individual members of the collective over the previous year. Guided by the mistress of ceremonies ‘Ma Trixie’(played by Jeannie Donald-McKim) the audience was invited to enter the enigmatic butoh world, to meet its strange inhabitants and their alternative realities, where the rules are not quite as we know them.


Ayala performed in three pieces: And For Some Reason I Am Wearing My Father’s Coat (solo), Symbio-sis (duet with Flavia Coube), and Still Standing (ensemble piece, choreographed by Ana Barbour).



Photograph by Paul Freestone

And For Some Reason I Am Wearing
My Father’s Coat

How will I know what to pack when the time comes for me to go? A whole life in a suitcase…
More physical theatre than ‘pure’ butoh, this solo performance was first shown in 2010 as part of one of Café Reason’s ‘Diamond Night’ experimental arts evenings, when it was framed  by poems at the beginning and end of the evening’s performance (Waiting for the train – below – and Time to be going). It was accompanied by Bruno Guastalla on the cello and Pete McPhail on saxophone.


Video still by Peter Jones

Waiting for the train
After the hard rain, smells are tangible in their clarity:
the first particulate of smoke reaches my tongue
long before I hear the shaking of the rails.
The blackness has form; it curls about me;
it reeks of the past or of endings.
All colour has been left behind
and blue has permanently withdrawn its promise.
There remain uncertain reflections,
the platform lights a phosphorescent yellow.
My bag is curiously full of inessentials
and for some reason I am wearing my father’s coat,
but I don’t expect protection.
A thousand thousand souls have passed this way;
their fear has carved me hollow.




Photograph by Paul Freestone

What are the threads that bind us to each other? Do they offer security or constraint? Two ‘unlike organisms’, grown together over a shared lifetime, reach for a half-remembered freedom.




Another piece of dance-theatre, this duet was conceived as an exploration of close, confined relationship – to what extent each partner is dependent on the other or frustrated by them, to what extent dominant or dominated, to what extent in harmony. The choreography was developed jointly with Flavia Coube, and the knitting, which both physically constrains and also symbolizes the passing of time, was her brainwave and magnum opus.

A 12-minute video, by Peter Glyn Jones, combines footage from the Pegasus performance with that from its Diamond Night ‘premiere’ and also from rehearsal for Matrix.


Still Standing


Photograph by Paul Freestone

Ensemble piece by Ana Barbour with video by Dariusz Dziala. Dancers were Paola Esposito,
Ayala Kingsley, Paul Mackilligin, Segolene Tarte,
and Fabrizia Verrecchia.

Vertical and horizontal; stillness and motion; a group, an individual; shifting landscapes; a passing world of projected light, colour and form.

How we bear each other

all these days, this walking,
poised on a slip of ground.
How we must trust –
I, you, and you, me –

as each step follows or falls.
How the earth holds us,
tugs and lets go.
You master gravity,
grass, sand, ice
and the heart’s sheer slopes.
What is left behind,
with each heartbeat, footfall,
what measured?


Photograph by Paul Freestone

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