Pina Bausch


Pina Bausch

  • Pina Bausch was a well-known German choreographer & theatre practitioner that revolutionised modern dance by incorporating theatre and dance together to see how audiences can interpret it in different ways.
  • She used a great blend of music, movement, as well as elaborate, surreal stage sets, which were designed to immerse you in strange new worlds.
  • Her vision was to adopt theatrical elements into dance in which multi-media was used - musicians played on stage and dancers moved amongst the audience, breaking the fourth wall. Overall, her intention was to move you.
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Pina Bausch's methods

  • When going about the beginning of her process, she states “There is no book. There is no set. There is no music. There is only life and us. It's absolutely frightening to do a work when you have nothing to hold on to.” 
  • Pina Bausch uses improvisation as well as asking her dancers about their experiences, fears, aspirations and desires in relation to the choreography.
  • She combines dance work with elements of physical theatre, such as movement, proximity and gesture, as well as incorporating set and costume to tell a story. 
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Rite of Spring (1975)

  • One of Bausch’s most famous pieces is entitled 'Rite of Spring' which premiered in 1975. With a stage entirely covered in soil, 'Rite of Spring' explores the territory of a woman's struggle to define herself against the stereotyping of male dominance and exploring “gender construction”.
  • In order to do so, the performers made fast-paced expressionistic movements that resulted in the protagonist dancing to her death and the entire cast covered in soil, sweat and panting breathlessly.
  • It was a clear and graphic interpretation of the battle of the sexes and like Bausch’s later piece  Cafe Muller, it followed a dreamlike atmosphere.
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Cafe Muller (1978)

  • Another one of Bausch's most famous work is Cafe Muller (1978) and it tells a story through the physicalization of the dancer's movements; dancers stumble on the stage as they were instructed by Bausch to close their eyes.
  • Throughout the performance, the dancers would throw themselves at walls, across the room and into each other without acknowledging the limited spaces between the cafeteria tables and chairs. Without this clumsy set, these movements wouldn’t be possible.
  • Cafe Muller(1978) contains a lot of repetitive movements as well as stillness; she states "Repetition is not repetition...The same action makes you feel different at the end." It also contains costumes and strong emotional responses from the performers following a dreamlike storyline.
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