Pina Bausch & Bill T. Jones: Giddy & Sober

September 20, 2010







What a contrast! Last night I saw Bausch’s piece Nelken from 1982 and tonight Bill T’s Fondly Do We Hope. I’m in Lyon at the Biennale de la danse, a month-long festival. Her piece sometimes put the audience in a deliciously giddy state. Her connection to childhood is so there, you just feel the lid of society lifting off. You see all these incredible sophisticated individuals lose that social veneer and become leaping, joyful or rebellious kids, especially in the section where Lutz Foster leads a game of Red Light Green Light. Even the occasional cruel parts had a humor too them. I’m at a french keyboard so cant go into it, but it was super fun; interspersed with some beautiful choreography among a field of carnations.


Bill T’s piece was educational, and its great to see non-Americans respond to his love of Abraham Lincoln. The parts about slavery and the debate about it were sobering. They really made you think about the big continuing questions of our democracy and the promise of equality. Also, the narration about Mary Todd Lincoln’s undying love for her husband was moving.


Two very different moods and yet both pieces had remarkable visual collaborators that made these pieces what they are. For Nelken it was Peter Pabst and Rolf Borzik; for Bill T, it was Bjorn Amelan. In both cases, these have been amazing, long term collaborations.




Tanztheater Wuppertal in
Nelken, photo: Christian Ganet, courtesy Biennale de la danse