Happy Birthday, Pina!

July 26, 2015

Tanztheater Wuppertal in “Vollmond.” Photo by Laurent Philippe.

Today, Pina Bausch, the queen of dance theater, would have turned 75. The choreographer, who had the power to make us want to laugh, cry and scream within a single work, passed away in 2009. But her dancing is still very much alive at Tanztheater Wuppertal. The company continues to perform her most iconic works, like her early-career The Rite of Spring, which sends dancers into a dirt-stomping frenzy; Café Müller, which uses repetition and manipulation at their finest; and Vollmond, one of her last pieces, of playful, sexy and wild antics under a full moon. (Scroll down for clips.)

That’s not to say that Bausch’s company is only looking back. Like many other troupes have done recently (i.e. Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, Stephen Petronio Company, and so on), Tanztheater Wuppertal is opening its rep up beyond its single-choreographer identity. This fall, for the first time ever, it has commissioned works by outside dancemakers Theo Clinkard, Tim Etchells, and Francois Chaignaud and Cecilia Bengolea.

It’s hard to say what Bausch’s troupe, and others that are exploring new and similar models, will look like in a handful of years. One thing’s for sure: With hints of glamour and drama, Bausch will always help us remember the feeling of being young, wild and free. And that is something we’ll want to experience forever.