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Anita Saij
, born 1957 in DK. Dancer, teacher and choreographer within the field of experimenting contemporary dance and performance theater, also therapist in somatic practise. Since 1986, Artistic Director of internationally based Theater Dance Lab placed in Copenhagen , and now founder of Nordic School of Butoh in Copenhagen.

Background in acrobatics, ballet, and martial arts. Spent three years in Japan and Chorea. Studied with different taoist and buddhist teachers. Student of the world-famed and now almost 100-year old butoh-dancer Kazuo Ohno. Former participant of Body Weather Laboratory by Min Tanaka, as well as student of Iwana Masaki and Natshu Nakashima in Japan. Has received classes of the French director Bernard Colin and the Japanese actor Joshi Oida, member of Peter Brooks' company in France. In Denmark, she was one of the first exponents of butoh dance.

As choreographer:
Anita Saij
has through a period of more than twenty years developed her own style based on former experiences. She has received attention and international recognition as a deep and personally engaging artist, who with a unique dramatic talent has demonstrated the ability and courage of breaking with conventional theatre. Her work reaches further than the limits of dance as we see it in her cooperations with original artists, such as the Finnish shouting choir Mieskuoro Huutajat, performer of Spanish male acting group La Fura Del Baus, artists of the French new circus Archaos, musicians of the German punk-rockband Einsturzende Neubauten, and the Greek /American cult-operasinger Diamanda Galas. All have participated in the performances of Theater Dance Lab. Furthermore Anita Saij has made several dance videos with the French film and video artist Luc Riolon as well as Riot and Rosa.

Of more traditional character she has made choreographies for the Royal Theater Ballet Festival Waves, ICMc/International Computer Music Composition and a solo choreography made for Hotel Pro Formas Opera/Operation Orfeo, since 1994 touring world-wide amongst other places to the Sidney Opera House. Both theatres has bought the rights of choreography.

The most well-known of Theater Dance Labs performances is Fireflies, The Blue Cabaret, Thunderbirds, Katarsis, Acid Circ and the solos Sovrana and Nightwanderer, see * Dance Lab.

As teacher and educator Anita Saij has given knowledge and new  inspiration to several of our present young talents such as Kitt Johnson, Marlene Hertz, Bo Madvig, Tim Feldtmann and Anders Christiansen. Likewise, she has been guest teaching at the institutes House of Dance, Copenhagen and theater schools in Luxembourg and Helsinki. She has given lectures at Hanyang University, Seoul, Faculty of Theater science at Copenhagen University, as well as at Nordic institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen. Latest she has tought at STS/ the yearly meeting of Samic Theater Artists Union and at the Samic theater, Kiruna, in connection with a research project for the Nordic Theater convention 2002, Torshavn, Faroe Islands.

” My experiences with scenic art, have to be seen in relation to a more holistic and philosophical approach to dance-movement, where the dance is not only an expression of physical moving and acting out emotion, but rather the expression of inner landscapes and bodily nature sharpened by time and culture”.

” Butoh is here the most important enrichment I have received as an artist, as it embraces the human as a whole, also the irrational, subconscious, and spiritual aspects of the body, denied and feared by our modern dance”.    Anita Saij

As dancer:
By the end of the eighties, the young Anita Saij sent a shockwave through the danceworld with the more than three-hour long solo performance Sovrana, by breaking with all norms of movement with bodily control never before seen , indecency, baldheaded and dancing with a fish in her mouth. A special kind of cruelty and beauty far from normal aesthetical conventions, took the breath out of many and resulted in several years of censorship from critics of one of the Danish newspaper publishers. Others reacted euforically on this stimulating new way of creating. In 1990 she was honored by her first prize in Denmark for her stylebreaking work with sound, light, and choreography, and latest in 1997, she received a price for the performance Inferno/ Acid Cirq at the great Toolwod Festival in Germany.

43-years old she re-entered the stage with a solo piece, The Nightwanderer, who once again showed a continously more physical and grotesque universe of dance. Likewise, two years later in 2000, in the performance White Monkey, with dancer and anthropologist Karina Holm, the press wrote: Anita Saij is uninhibited in her charisma. She still enjoys the disappearing of all beauty, and to wipe the ugliness and the distorted in the face of the audience.
Information, Anne Middelboe Christensen

Anita Saij has been listed in The Danish Encyclopedia of Women Biographies, as a female artist, who has made Denmark remarkable and interesting through personal engagement and achievement.

  © Nordic School of Butoh 2004