A Sad, Sad Day

June 30, 2009

What a shock to learn of the passing of Pina Bausch. Her work is so full of life, the dancing so daring, and the stage design so spectacular.

Her imagination was immense. I can remember so many moments that took my breath away. The one I am thinking of now is the opening of one piece, maybe

Fur die Kinder yon gestern, heute und morgen (For the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow),
when two men sit on chairs, and one keels over to the side, falling to within an inch of the floor, when the other guy, still looking front, reaches out and grabs him and pulls him back up. They repeat this over and over. The yen for self-destruction and the casual rescue are expressed in split-second timing.

Or the partners sauntering on a diagonal in Bamboo Blues,
quietly wrapping their saris around themselves in different ways. Or, in Masurca Fogo,ischievous sense of surprise, such a love for nature and for human foibles and flirtations. That was Pina Bausch. Not to mention the unique combination of theater and dance, talking and dance, water-splashing and dance.

I cannot fathom the loss of her. Every dancer I know thinks
of her as a gigantic presence in our midst. I feel so indebted to Brooklyn Academy of Music for bringing her to their Next Wave Festival every other year.

When she received the Dance Magazine Award last December, she told a beautiful story about coming to NYC. You can see it and hear it if you click here.



Bamboo Blues, photo: Angelos Giotopoulos, Courtesy BAM