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Andrea Casallas

//Butoh dancer, Actress y Ethno-educator

//October 2022

Andrea Casallas is a Butoh dancer, actress and ethno-educator of Colombian origin based in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, since 2005. Upon her arrival in Switzerland, she joined the Obini theatre group and participated in all the group's productions between 2007 and 2015. In 2013, she met the Swiss dancer, teacher and choreographer Susanne Daeppen, which allowed her to continue her training in Butoh dance, which she had begun in 2003 in Quito, Ecuador, with Susana Reyes, one of the most representative figures of Latin American contemporary dance and creator of the "Butoh of the Andes" dance style.

From that moment on, Andrea focused her artistic development and creation on Butoh dance, continuing her training with teachers Yumiko Yoshioka and Minado Seki and with masters Tadashi Endo, Atutshi Takenouchi, Seisaku and Imre Thormann. In 2015, Andrea received the OFF-Stage scholarship from the Canton of Bern (Switzerland) which allowed her to deepen her knowledge of Butoh dance with Susana Daeppen in Switzerland, Tadashi Endo in Germany and Susana Reyes in Ecuador. At the same time, this scholarship allowed her to integrate her studies in Ethno-education to approach the ritual dances of the Arhuaco and Wayúu ethnic groups in Colombia.

In 2021 she received the grant "Förderakzent 2021: Continuer - Beiträge für Kulturschaffende an Entwicklung und Vertiefung" (Contribution for cultural creators in development and deepening) from the Canton of Bern to realise her project Danzas del rio Magdalena in Colombia.

Andrea has found in Butoh dance the perfect channel to develop an authentic and radical dance that offers an infinite range of creative and aesthetic possibilities that go beyond the concrete physical form. In her pieces and performances, the artist explores themes such as birth and death, femininity, the visible and invisible structures of nature and the human body, fragility and strength, archaism and modernity, based on a profound physical, sensorial, emotional and philosophical research that supports these themes and translates them into a dance language of her own.

El Boga Residency: Dances of the Magdalena River

The residency at El Boga is part of my project Danzas del río Magdalena, inspired by the Señal Colombia documentary "Danza Colombia - Trayecto Magdalena", which was awarded the "Förderakzent 2021: Continuer - Beiträge für Kulturschaffende an Entwicklung und Vertiefung" (contribution for cultural creators in development and deepening) of the Canton of Bern, Switzerland.

Dances of the Magdalena River has as its main objective to have an in situ approach to the traditional dances of the communities bathed by the waters of the river. In this way, to engage with the cultural actors, dancers and choreographers of the riverside populations, to study the basic movements of some dances, to explore through improvisation the possibilities of integrating these movements into butoh dance and vice versa, as well as to gather first-hand information about the stories that are woven around the dances and their relationship with the river, the symbolism of movements, costumes and choreographic structures.

Danzas de río Magdalena aims to be a door that opens the encounter with the origins of the dances, to the reflection on dance as an agent that transforms the dancing body and its socio-cultural context.


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