I have been posting less because I'm writing a book but I would never forgive myself if I didn't say something about Pina Bausch, THE Tanztheater legend who died two days ago in Wuppertal, Germany where her company was based.
Long before I moved here, I went to see her performances at Brooklyn Academy of Music every year. It wasn't always easy getting a friend to join me because many people couldn't dig her. Too much drama, too pretentious, too something, were often the complaints.
But that is what I loved about Pina Bausch's work, the too much: the exaggeration, the sets (oh the sets! real soil, or rows and rows of real carnations on the stage), the women dancers and their long dresses, their hair flailing about, the men leaping in dress pants, the repetition of movement that triggers new meaning as the piece wears on.
The movement in Pina Bausch's work is difficult to classify, as it differs greatly with each piece. Sometimes the dancing itself is minimal and the choreography is the drama, like in this clip. But sometimes the dancing is downright dynamic and physical, passionate and always painfully human. There are always real people dancing in her pieces, with all of their imperfections and issues, like the rest of us, seeing ourselves on stage.
Pina Bausch will be missed.