Ushio Amagatsu, Internationally Aclaimed Choreographer, Dies Aged 74

©Sankai Juku
Ushio Amagatsu performs in the 2012 production “Umusuna — Memories before History.”

Ushio Amagatsu, who led the internationally acclaimed butoh dance company Sankai Juku for almost 50 years, died of heart failure on Monday. He was 74.

©Shintaro Shiratori
Ushio Amagatsu

Amagatsu, whose real name was Masakazu Ueshima, continued to work as a choreographer and director while receiving treatment for hypopharynx cancer since being diagnosed with the disease in 2017.

Born in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Amagatsu founded Sankai Juku in 1975. The Theatre de la Ville in Paris had been the base of the operations for the company since 1982. Sankai Juku has conducted world tours, performing in a total of 48 countries and releasing a new production around once every two years.

At the 26th Laurence Olivier Awards — Britain’s most prestigious stage honors — held in 2002, Sankai Juku’s “Hibiki” won in the category of Best New Dance Production.