Dola Baroni is a visual artist and dancer based in Los Angeles. She has been performing since 1994 and exhibiting photographic work since 2004. Baroni has studied many forms of dance including Butoh, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Flamenco, Middle Eastern dance, and Indian dance.
Butoh is a style of dance developed by Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno in the post-war period of the 1950s and 1960s in Japan. Butoh was a reaction against the traditional and contemporary dance scene at that time. In the words of Hijikata's principal male dancer Yukio Waguri, "it rejected codified beauty of Noh dance, robust vitality of western modern dance and beautiful lines of ballet." Instead, Butoh "embraced an aesthetic that spoke of disease, decay, and dying." Hijikata called his work Ankoku butoh (暗黒舞踏) or “Dance of Darkness.”
Baroni first studied Butoh in Yokohama with Yoshito Ohno, Kazuo Ohno's son, in 2006. She was privileged to meet Kazuo Ohno at that time. It was then, at the Ohno studio, that Baroni met Yukio Waguri, disciple to and principal male dancer of Tatsumi Hijikata. She trained with both Waguri and Ohno in Japan, and with Atsushi Takenouchi in Italy. Baroni returned to Japan in 2007 to study with Waguri and Ohno. She participated in and photographed workshops taking place at the New York Butoh festival in 2007 with Yukio Waguri, Yoshito Ohno, Ko Murabushi, Akira Kasai, Yuko Kaseki, and others, and photographed all performances. Between 2009 and 2011, Baroni trained with Yukio Waguri in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Baroni returned to Japan, continuing her study with Yoshito Ohno and Yukio Waguri, in 2016.
She is the founder and director of LA Dance Family, a performance and dance company featuring both dancers and non-dancers. The company's original form began in 2008 as an open-to-all dance workshop designed for body awareness and strengthening, with specific focus on Butoh practices, called LA Dance Therapy. In 2011, Baroni shifted the focus of the company to choreography and performance and re-formed the group as LA Dance Family. The company most recently performed a piece choreographed by Baroni to honor Butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata on his birthday this year: March 9, 2017. She can be contacted at dola (at) dolabaroni dot com.