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DAIPANbutoh Collective Members


Artistic/Programs Director

Sheri Brown has served as Artistic/Programs Director of DAIPANbutoh Collective since its inception in 2009. Her dance practice arises from a cross-pollination of deep spiritual exploration, her experience as a mathematics teacher, and her study with butoh masters Diego Pinon, Katsura Kan, and Joan Laage. Sheri has performed internationally in Korea, Japan, Thailand, Sweden, Greece, Mexico, and Argentina. Her choreographic work, such as Divided by Zero has been performed at the Seattle International Dance Festival, Clackamus College, Velocity Dance Center, and Seattle Center. Sheri considers her work as a butoh teaching artist inseparable from her work as an unfolding human being.

photo by Hugo Angel G.


Managing Director/Treasurer

Helen is native of Chicago, graduated Columbia College with an emphasis in Dance Therapy and choreography. She was a founding member of The Yuni Hoffman Dance Theatre in Chicago, a Graham based modern dance company. She discovered Butoh dance in 1980 through the dances and workshops of Eiko and Koma. Thorsen was a founding member of Joan Laage’s Dappin Butoh, and her choreography has been seen in various venues through out Seattle.

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Production Director/Marketing Coordinator

Joan is known as a NW butoh pioneer. After studying with masters Kazuo Ohno and Yoko Ashikawa in Tokyo in the late 80s and performing with Ashikawa’s group Gnome, she settled in Seattle and founded Dappin’ Butoh in 1990. While living in Poland she took the performance name of Kogut (rooster). In May 2011, she was featured at the butoh symposium at UCLA. Joan performed at the New York, Chicago, Portland, Boulder, Seattle and Paris butoh festivals. With a Ph.D. in Dance & Related Arts (Texas Woman’s University, 1993), her dissertation focuses on the body in butoh. Joan is featured in Sondra Fraleigh’s books – Dancing into Darkness: Butoh, Zen, and Japan and Butoh: Metamorphic Dance and Global Alchemy. She frequently creates site-specific work for the Seattle Japanese Garden where she is a docent. The year of 2013 includes a 4Culture Historical Site-Specific event, The Engendering Project supported in part by the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and teaching a butoh course at Cornish College.

photo by David Jennings


Graphic and Experience Designer  

​International Mexican Butoh performer based in Seattle, and mindful movement specialist whose work and research centers on dance and movement as healing and transformative practices.

“I consider movement and the body as powerful creative doors for empowerment and self-discovery”
Co-founder of DAIPANbutoh Collective, dance, performance and mindfulness faculty at the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Science at the University of Washington, and has more than 30 years performing nationally and internationally in Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Canada and the United States.  During her professional ballet and modern dance career, she performed with the National Ballet of Mexico, Luna Negra Dance Theater and The Chicago Moving Company in Chicago, and The Chamber Dance Company and BQDanza in Seattle. As Butoh artist her solo and collaborative work has been presented in Seattle, New York City and Minneapolis in the US and  Seoul Korea, Kyoto Japan, Toronto Canada, Santiago Chile and Mexico City. Dhyana fell in love with Butoh in 2005 by watching a performance that change her life, since then she has kept searching and researching about its healing and transformative practices. Butoh master Diego Piñon has been one of her main mentors and Yukio Waguri, Natsu Nakajima and Japanese troupe Sankai Juku three of her main butoh inspirations.  She also has been learning tremendously from Seattle’s Butoh front runners and dear DAIPAN collaborators Joan Laage, Sheri Brown, Helen Thorsen and Kaoru Okomura. She is honored and grateful for her mentors along the years: American Midwest modern dance choreographer Nana Shineflu, Mexican butoh master Diego Piñon, Ecuadorian Choreographer Carla Barragan and UW dance faculty Jen Salk, Juliet McMains and Hannah Wiley. Dhyana feels that she is an will always be a student of dance, since she loves learning. Her teaching and creative work has been propelled by the work of German choreographer Pina Bausch, Japanese butoh master Kasuo Ohno, the dance and technology research of American postmodern choreographer Merce Cunningham and the dance as healing practices of Anna Halprin, Gabrielle Roth and Andrea Olsen. Dhyana also enjoys teaching Pilates and yoga to people of a variety of backgrounds from her own studio in Greenwood Seattle, and is an Ayurvedic Wellness chancellor   

photo by Hugo Angel G.


Technical/Cultural Communications Coordinator/Photographer

Kaoru Okumura is a Japanese Butoh performer based in Seattle, US. A fan of Butoh since the 1970s, Kaoru studied Butoh in 1993 at Asbestos-Kan in Tokyo with Akiko Motofuji, the wife of one Butoh’s originators, Tatsumi Hijikata. This is where Kaoru first performed. She started Butoh activities in Seattle in 2008. Since then, she has enjoyed performing solo and with Danse Perdue, KOGUT Butoh, and others, where she experiences how a body bridges the soul and the world. Recently she is focusing on solo work, periodically premiering new pieces at various venues. Kaoru had about 20 performances a year from 2016, including Seattle International Dance Festival, and 9E2 Seattle in collaboration with Google Deep Dream, which was also supported by Google AMI (Artists & Machine Intelligence).

Kaoru has a MS degree in mathematics, and a career in computer research as an advisory researcher. She enjoys tech worlds, gadgets, including photography.

photo by Hugo Angel G.

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Hybrid Engagement & Support Director

Alycia Scott Zollinger is a healing facilitator, somatic educator, and performance artist dedicated to the interconnection between mind, body, and spirit. She has performed around the globe in spaces ranging from theaters in Russia to balconies in Guatemala, a graveyard in Mexico, desert plateaus in Southern Utah, the streets of Seattle and art galleries throughout the United States. Rooted in intentional movement as a mode of poetic intervention and connection, she weaves her roots in dance, yoga, innate ritual, Bioenergetics and Butoh through all of her offerings. She is a long term student of Diego Pinon, was a member of the Allen Gardner Dance Theater, studying intensively with Sifu Jerry Gardner, as well as with many other masters including Natsu Nakajima, Semimaru and Joan Laage. She is a graduate of the Seattle School of Body-Psychotherapy, holds a Masters of Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is a registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist with the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association. She has taught yoga, somatic healing, and movement integration since 1999, and continues to train and collaborate with mental health practitioners, somatic educators, and creative wizards.



Logistics Director

Robyn Bjornson is a movement and dance facilitator, youth mentor and performing artist. She draws on her deep study of Yoga, contact improvisation, acrobatics, dance and butoh as the foundations for her unfolding practice and lifestyle. She began the study of Butoh with Maureen Freehill in 2014 and performed in her first piece in 2015 choreographed by Alycia Scott. In 2016 she dove deeply into the practice of Butoh at The Evergreen State College with help of her dear friend and artistic collaborator Ivan Espinosa, who choreographed many pieces she was in. She studied with Diego Pinon and Sheri Brown in college while performing in several staged and public park performances. She joined DIAPAN originally as a stage manager and has formed close friendship and artistic collaborations with many of the members of DAIPAN. Robyn continues her deep appreciation for the elders of this Art form and is humbled to call herself a DIAPAN member. Along with all her human teachers and their lineages, Robyn draws some of her deepest lessons from the earth beneath her feet in which she dedicates many of her dances to.

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