Butoh and Dhrupad

in the desert

this event has been, enjoy some photos in he album below...

Marianne Svašek, born in the Netherlands, studied Indian classical singing at the Rotterdam Conservatory with Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Uday Bhawalkar.

Since 1994 until 2013 she was taught in India by Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar.

Marianne Svašek also studied sarangi (a string instrument with three main and 35 resonating strings) with Joep Bor and Pandit Ram Narayan.

Adam Koan is a half Colombian half Venezuelan-American and international butoh performer, teacher, writer, and scholar.

He is heavily determined in spreading the obscure and oftentimes grotesque art that penetrates deep into the psyche-body connection.

Particularly, he is into increasing accessibility of butoh to the marginalized the less privileged and the mentally and physically unique.

Honza Svasek studied physics and was a computer scientist before he turned into a researcher of the body-mind and its relation to space-time.

He researches butoh since 2007 and studied with Itto Morita, Atsushi Takenouchi, Ken May, Yumiko Yoshioka, Yuko Ota, Imre Thormann, Iwana Masaki, Yukio Waguri and Natsu Nakajima.

Honza spend two and a half years at the famous Himalaya Subbody Butoh School of Lee Rhizome in Dharamsala.

the arts...

Dhrupad (Sanskrit: ध्रुपद) is a genre in Hindustani classical music. It is one of the oldest forms of compositions in the classical Indian music and a form that is also found in its Carnatic tradition.[1][2] It is a Sanskrit name, derived from the words dhruva (immovable, permanent) and pad (verse), a combination that means "pillar". The roots of Dhrupad are ancient, and it is discussed in the Hindu Sanskrit text Natyashastra(~200 BCE – 200 CE).[3][4] It is also described in other ancient and medieval Sanskrit texts, such as chapter 33 of Book 10 in the Bhagavata Purana (~800–1000 CE), where the theories of music and devotional songs for Krishna are summarized.[4]

Thematic matter ranges from the religious and spiritual (mostly in praise of Hindu deities) to royal panegyrics, musicology and romance.

Butoh (舞踏 Butō) is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. Following World War II, butoh arose in 1959 through collaborations between its two key founders Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo. The art form is known to "resist fixity"[1]and be difficult to define; notably, founder Hijikata Tatsumi viewed the formalisation of butoh with "distress".[2]

Common features of the art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and it is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion. However, with time butoh groups are increasingly being formed around the world, with their various aesthetic ideals and intentions.

the classes...


Other than the beauty of the tradition itself, why is singing dhrupad so good for performers of all sorts?

In the very first place it teaches us western singers that our voices are capable of doing much more than we ever thought possible.

The key to this study is the taking of the time and concentration to allow the patterns to be absorbed into our subconscious self.

In other words, to appreciate the value of dhrupad singing one must become a human 'being' rather than a human 'doing'.



The butoh classes take participants into a hidden subtle mind/body space in order to discover personal somatic artistry.

The teachers will grab from various personal butoh research elements as well as influences from renowned butoh teachers.

Workshop is information heavy. Every participant will gain a sampler of exercises and perspectives as they relate to shamanic motifs, psychophysiological work, and improvisation.


In my class I would like to take you onto a trip into a colony of trillions and trillions of cells, all surviving from the beginning of life, each with its own unique memory...

your body

...on the borderline between expression en possession.


the schedule...

You can join us for all three, two or only one week or even some other period. Please contact Donna cajshop.arava@gmail.com to reserve your place and work out the details...

Week 1: Sun 3 - Thu 7 Dec


Adam and Honza will guide a one week butoh course. There will be two classes a day and an optional morning exercise.

Thursday afternoon students show their work in short performances at locations close to the camp.

Week 2: Sun 10 - Thu 14 Dec

Butoh & Dhrupad

Adam and Honza will continue the two butoh classes everyday, in addition Marianne will guide a one week dhrupad course.

Some classes will be parallel but we will make sure that both butoh and dhrupad participants can get a taste of each other's practice.

Morning meditation

The morning meditation is a sound meditation based on a Indian vocal practice called kharaj. This vocal practice is the basic practice for singers of the Dhrupad style, the oldest form of North-Indian classical music. The meditation focuses on the awareness of sound by using different vowels, singing them for a longer stretch, ending the meditation in silence.

Dhrupad vocal classes

Dhrupad is the oldest form of North-Indian classical music. Its origin is linked with the recitation of the sacred syllable Om and the Vedic sutras.

Throughout centuries Dhrupad has been practiced both vocally and instrumentally in temples and later on at the North-Indian courts. Dhrupad is a slow and meditative style of singing. During the workshop we will focus on different voice techniques, rhythm (tala), melody (raga), composition and improvisation. The workshop is for both beginners and advanced.

Thursday afternoon students show their work in short performances at locations close to the camp.

Week 3: Sun 17 - Fri 22

Creation & Performance

This week we divide into groups of different sizes and work on our performances.

There will be one butoh class a day and a morning exercise.

the practical side...


We will be serving three meals a day, all meals will have vegetarian/vegan options. For the time in between the meals there will be healthy snacks, to give you some extra energy. And all day there will be water, coffee, tea and lemonade available.

There will also be a Caj-shop run by Stanislav and me (Donna), where you can get, for additional costs other foods and drinks.

Most of the ingredients will come from the local farmers in the Arava and will be freshly bought at the time we need them.


Most of the workshops will be done outside, as the winter desert provides us with magnificent scenery and very comfortable temperatures. For sleeping and the colder days there will be a big (bedouin) tent available. We will be sleeping on mattresses on the floor and we have two wood stoves for the colder moments and the nights if necessary. There will be an other shaded space for workshops and chilling. Anybody who wants to bring their own tent, for more privacy is welcome to do so.

There will be two showers and compost toilets situated a bit outside the inner camp, where it will be possible to release yourself and have a hot shower. We ask you, if you do use soap and shampoo to bring a natural kind, so we harm the desert as little as possible.

We will have a big fire place to sit/dance/meditate around in the early mornings and nights.

The caj-shop, as I mentioned above, will be open in between the meals and after dinner.

What to bring?

  • -clothes for temperatures that range from 24*C during the day till 5*C at night. Bo bring something warm, when the sun goes down it can get cold..
  • -your toiletry
  • -(we will supply) but if you want your own sleeping bag, mattress and tent
  • -comfortable walking shoes (there are two hikes planned, at minimum cost, for the weekends) and anyway it’s an amazing place to wander around
  • -hat/sunglasses (even though it’s winter, the desert sun can be very strong)
  • -a small bag for trips
  • -very important a water bottle (desert=drink-drink-drink)
  • -cash money (the caj-shop will run on paper money and coins)

the exchange...

The teaching is on donation and when you leave you pay as you feel. The teachers need your support to continue their work so please be generous when you are satisfied.

Free Butoh School works this way so that a maximum number of people have the possibility to attend our events.

Lodging and Food at lowest price:

October price: 1 week €300 / ₪1200, 3 weeks €800 / ₪3100

Regular price: 1 week €350 / ₪1400, 3 weeks €1000 / ₪4000

Contact Donna for more information...

How do I pay?

The payment for your stay can be transferred to:

  • -European Bank account D. Svasek, NL57ASNB0707901189
  • -Israeli Bank account 12 632 160219 דונה סוואשק
  • -Paypal account cajshop.arava@gmail.com
  • -Cash (at the caj-shop)

How do I travel?

Your destination is Free Arava Butoh School

It is only possible to get here by car or on foot/bike :-)

You can get with the bus to the Idan Junction, where we will pick you up.

(call Stani: +972-52-5450558 or Donna +972-54-7917497)

If you come from Eilat there are several buses going north from the main bus station direction Tel Aviv or Be’er Sheva, that will stop at Idan junction, you will have to inform the driver about it.

From Tel Aviv you can take a bus direction Eilat or the train till Be’er Sheva center and after the bus direction Eilat. Also here you have to inform the driver to stop at Idan junction.

For buses in Israel check http://www.egged.co.il/HomePage.aspx

For train in Israel check https://www.rail.co.il/en

Well we hope we have informed you enough. If you need any additional information you can always contact Donna on cajshop.arava@gmail.com or by phone +972-54-7917497