Official Program

Choy Ka Fai

UnBearable Darkness

AllDanceJapan Premiere

10.5−10.6, 2019North Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto


Engineering the ghost of Butoh at the intersection of technology and spirituality

Employing a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses media art, theater, and performance, Choy Ka Fai demonstrated with his previous two appearances at Kyoto Experiment his unique approaches as well as painstaking research about and deep respect for dance. Notion: Dance Fiction deliberately “misused” technology in order to revive the choreography of legendary figures from dance history. Soft Machine, on the other hand, researched contemporary dancers based in Asia in order to build up a large inventory and archive.

In his practice, Choy Ka Fai has long shuttled back across the vertical time axis of the history left behind by individual dancers as well as over the horizontal axis that is the resolutely varied expanse of Asia. Now for Unbearable Darkness, he has asked none other than the founder of Butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata (1928–1986), to perform.

He has adopted several means for talking to Hijikata. He went to an itako, or blind medium, on Mt Osore in northern Japan, and invoked the spirit of the late artist. Choy Ka Fai also generated an avatar of Hijikata from the materials he left behind.

Can we who are alive now dance together with the formless spirits of the dead using the media of past and present?


October 5 (Sat)16:30- ◎*SOLD OUT
October 6 (Sun)12:00- / 18:00-

* Post-show Talk
Moderator: Yuya Tsukahara (contact Gonzo / Kyoto Experiment Program Director from 2020)
Speakers: Choy Ka Fai

◎ Childcare service available. Please contact the Kyoto Experiment Office for more information.
Duration: 60 min.


North Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto 13 Okazakisaishoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8342
-10 minutes’ walk from Higashiyama Station (Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai Line).



Performed in Japanese with English (and Japanese) surtitles.

Ticket Prices

Adult Advance ¥3,000 / Day ¥3,500
Youth, Students Advance ¥2,500 / Day ¥3,000
High School Students & Younger Advance and Day both ¥1,000
Pair ¥5,500 (Advance Only)

Youth Tickets: available for those aged 25 and under.


Day Tickets

Same day tickets will be available for each performance at the venue box office one hour before the performance starts.
The latest information on ticket availability will be updated below at 11:30am on the day of each performance. We also accept ticket availability inquiries by phone.
Ticket Center: 075-213-0820 (11:00-19:00).



Choy Ka Fai


Image by Brandon Tay

Choy Ka Fai (b. 1979) is a Berlin-based Singaporean artist. His multidisciplinary art practice situates itself at the intersection of dance, media art and performance. At the heart of his research is a continuous exploration of the metaphysics of the human body. Through research expeditions, pseudo-scientific experiments and documentary performances, Ka Fai appropriates technologies and narratives to imagine new futures of the human body. Ka Fai’s projects have been presented in major institutions and festivals worldwide, including Sadler’s Wells (London, UK), ImPulsTanz Festival (Vienna, Austria) and Tanz Im August (Berlin, Germany). He was the resident artist at tanzhaus nrw in Düsseldorf (2017-2019) and Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (2014-15). In 2010, he was awarded the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council, Singapore. Ka Fai graduated with a M.A. in Design Interaction from the Royal College of Art, London.


Concept, Documentary and Direction
Choy Ka Fai
Choreographic Presence and Paranormal Performance
Tatsumi Hijikata
Tang Fu Kuen
Dance Engineering, Motion Capture and Performance
Neji Pijin
Shaman Understudy, Performance and Costume Design
Rie Usui
Research, Vocal and Translation
Tomoko Inoue
Visual Design and Technology
Brandon Tay
Raffael Seyfried
Lighting Design
Ray Tseng
Production and Technical Management
ARTFACTORY (Andy Lim, Steve Kwek and Yap Seok Hui)
Company Manager
Mara Nedelcu
In co-operation with
TPAM – Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama 2018
In research co-operation with
The Saison Foundation, The Japan Foundation Asia Center and Hijikata Tatsumi Archive at Keio University Art Center
Co-produced by
tanzhaus nrw and Kyoto Experiment
Supported by
Kunststiftung NRW Germany, the NATIONALES PERFORMANCE NETZ Coproduction
Fund for Dance
(funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media)
The presentation at Kyoto Experiment is supported by
The Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan through the Japan Arts Council and National Arts Council, Singapore
Presented by
Kyoto Experiment