Ridden by Nature

Kiah Keya
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A Nature Spirit Dance Film

Ridden by Nature” is a film about humanities encounter with the Natural world in her most extreme, critical state. It is a culmination a ten-year collaborative relationship between filmmaker and creator, Kathi Von Koerber and butoh master Atsushi Takenouchi. Kathi Von Koerber began producing the film in 2004, joining forces with popular wildlife documentarian James Ewan (creator of EarthMedia), to document live butoh dance, performed on some of the harshest and most remote areas in the United States, including Colombia Glacier in Alaska, Red Rocks in Moab, Utah; and lava geysers in MacKenzie State Recreation Area in Hawaii.

These landscapes serve as stunning stages for Kathi von Koerber and Atsushi Takenouchi to communicate their message: Jinen Butoh, a form created by Atsushi Takenouchi, states that it is the universe, or elements, that move the dancer. Empty and open, the dancers surrender to the forces and allow nature to rid them of self or ego. In this sense, Kathi von Koerber and Atsushi Takenouchi perform duets with the icebergs, lava geysers, water, and desert stones as an ode to mending our broken relationship between humanity and mother earth.

Part myth, part meditation, “Ridden by Nature” is an homage to Mother Nature’s most vital source: water.. As glaciers melt, sea levels rise, and natural disasters intensify, water can be seen as the blood of the earth. It honors and calls attention to the current crisis of water, an element so under appreciated yet so critical to humanity’s survival.

How can we humans understand the immensity of today’s climate change and act in a way that will restore balance to the source of all life?

The film captures the collision of two worlds, the contrast of human life and ancient earth. Although humans have so much power over natural resources, we appear minuscule and insignificant in the presence of these natural landscapes.The film spans both art and activism, reaching out to environmentalists, artists, or anyone who is involved with awakening to humanity’s potential in such a critical point in history. Butoh performance was created as a tool to ignite the dialogue about our current relationship to the natural world.

Ridden by Nature” is a visual journey, touching upon the four elements air, water, fire, earth and the alchemy of space. Space represents the human body, a unified field where all the elements are synthesized. Drawing on Chinese calligraphy and zen philosophy, each composition is consciously arranged, as delicately as a brush of the calligraphy pen, to rivet and capture the immensity of the elemental forces in nature.