Pina Bausch (center) and Dominique Mercy (second from left) at the end of Wiesenland in 2009 in Paris.
27 July 1940|
|Died||30 June 2009
Wuppertal, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany
|Other names||Philippine Bausch|
|Occupation||Modern dance choreographer|
|Awards||Praemium Imperiale (1999), Goethe Prize (2008)|
Philippina "Pina" Bausch (27 July 1940 – 30 June 2009) was a German performer of modern dance, choreographer, dance teacher and ballet director. With her unique style, a blend of movement, sound, and prominent stage sets, and with her elaborate cooperation with performers during the composition of a piece (a style now known as Tanztheater), she became a leading influence in the world of modern dance from the 1970s on.
Bausch was born in Solingen, near Düsseldorf, the third and youngest child of August and Anita Bausch, who owned a restaurant with guest rooms. The restaurant provided Pina with a venue to start performing at a very young age
At 15, Pina was accepted into The Folkwang Academy. The school was directed by Kurt Jooss, who was one of the pioneers of melding dance and drama into a new form called Tanztheater, or dance theatre
After graduation in 1959, Bausch left Germany with a scholarship to continue her studies at the Juilliard School in New York City in 1960, where her teachers included Antony Tudor, José Limón, Alfredo Corvino, and Paul Taylor. Bausch was soon performing with Tudor at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, and with Paul Taylor at New American Ballet. When in 1960 Taylor was invited to premiere a new work named Tablet in Spoleto, Italy, he took Bausch with him. In New York she also performed with the Paul Sanasardo and Donya Feuer Dance Company, with which she collaborated on two pieces in 1961.It was in New York City that Pina stated, "New York is like a jungle but at the same time it gives you a feeling of total freedom. In these two years I have found myself"
In 1962, Bausch joined Jooss' new Folkwang Ballett Company as a soloist and assisted Jooss on many of the pieces, before choreographing her first piece in 1968, Fragment, to music by Béla Bartók. In 1969, she succeeded Jooss as artistic director.
Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
In 1972, Bausch started as artistic director of the Wuppertal Opera Ballet, which was later renamed as the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. The company has a large repertoire of original pieces, and regularly tours throughout the world from its home base of the Opernhaus Wuppertal.
Her best-known dance-theatre works include the melancholic Café Müller (1978), in which dancers stumble around the stage crashing into tables and chair. Pina had most of the dancers perform this piece with their eyes closed. The thrilling Rite of Spring (1975) required the stage to be completely covered with soil.She stated, "It is almost unimportant whether a work finds an understanding audience. One has to do it because one believes that it is the right thing to do. We are not only here to please, we cannot help challenging the spectator"
One of Pina’s main themes in her work was relationships. Pina had a very specific process in which she went about creating emotions.. Pina really got into the psyche of her dancers. "Improvisation and the memory of [the dancer's] own experiences . . . she asks questions-about parents, childhood, feelings in specific situations, the use of objects, dislikes, injuries, aspirations. From the answers develop gestures, sentences, dialogues, little scenes" The dancer is free to choose any expressive mode, whether it is verbal or physical when answering these questions. It is with this freedom that the dancer feels secure in going deep within themselves. When talking about her process she stated, “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 stated, “In the end, its composition. What you do with things. There's nothing there to start with. There are only answers: sentences, little scenes someone's shown you. It's all separate to start with. Then at a certain point I'll take something which I think is right and join it to something else. This with that, that with something else. One thing with various other things. And by the time I've found the next thing is right, then the little thing I had is already a lot bigger."
Male-female interaction is a theme found throughout her work, which has been an inspiration for—and reached a wider audience through—the movie Talk to Her, directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Her pieces are constructed of short units of dialogue and action, often of a surreal nature. Repetition is an important structuring device. Pina stated, Repetition is not repetition, ... The same action makes you feel something completely different by the end” Her large multi-media productions often involve elaborate sets and eclectic music. In Vollmond, half of the stage is taken up by a giant, rocky hill, and the score includes everything from Portuguese music to k.d. lang.
In 1983, she played the role of La Principessa Lherimia in Federico Fellini's film And the Ship Sails On. The Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch made its American debut in Los Angeles as the opening performance of the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival.
Bausch was married to Dutch-born Rolf Borzik, a set and costume designer who died of leukemia in 1980. Later that year she met Ronald Kay, and in 1981 they had a son, Ralf-Salomon.
Awards and honours
Among the honours awarded to Bausch are the UK's Laurence Olivier Award and Japan's Kyoto Prize. In 1999 she was the recipient of the Europe Theatre Prize. In 2008 the city of Frankfurt am Main awarded her its prestigious Goethe Prize. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.
Works by Bausch were staged in June and July 2012 as a highlight of the Cultural Olympiad preceding the Olympic Games 2012 in London. The works were created when Bausch was invited to visit and stay in 10 global locations – in India, Brazil, Palermo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Budapest, Istanbul, Santiago, Rome and Japan – between 1986 and 2009. Seven of the works have not been seen in the UK.
Bausch died on 30 June 2009 in Wuppertal, North Rhine Westphalia, Germany at the age of 68 of an unstated form of cancer (later reporting cites lung cancer after years of heavy smoking), five days after diagnosis and two days before shooting was scheduled to begin for the long-planned Wim Wenders documentary. She is survived by her son Salomon.
Wenders' documentary, Pina, was released in late 2011 in the United States, and is dedicated to her memory.
Influence on other artists
Bausch's style influence performers such as David Bowie, who designed part of his 1987 Glass Spider Tour with Bausch in mind. For the tour, Bowie "wanted to bridge together some kind of symbolist theater and modern dance" and used Bausch's early work as a guideline.
Influence on popular culture
Promotional trailers for the third season of American Horror Story: Coven included a clip for the episode "Detention" likely influenced by Bausch's work "Blaubart." Stills from the performance and the episode show a group of women seemingly defying gravity as they cling to the walls high above the ground, toes pointed down and hands pressed above them. The photo of Bausch's performance was previously released on Reddit as well as twitter with the implication that it was from a Russian mental institution, but its source was quickly identified. 
Works since 1973
- 1980 Die Generalprobe. Documentary. Dir.: Werner Schroeter.
- 1983 What Are Pina Bausch and Her Dancers Doing in Wuppertal?. Documentary. Dir.: Klaus Wildenhahn.
- 1983 Plaisir du théâtre. TV mini-series documentary. Dir.: Georges Bensoussan.
- 1983 And the Ship Sails On. Drama. Dir.: Federico Fellini.
- 1983 Un jour Pina m'a demandé. TV documentary. Dir.: Chantal Akerman.
- 1990 The Complaint of an Empress. Dir.: Pina Bausch.
- 1990 3res 14torze 16tze. TV series. Episode dated 26 January 1990. Dir.: Cristina Ferrer.
- 1998 Lissabon Wuppertal Lisboa. TV documentary. Dir.: Fernando Lopes.
- 2002 Talk to Her. Drama. Dir.: Pedro Almodóvar.
- 2002 Pina Bausch – A Portrait by Peter Lindbergh based on 'Der Fensterputzer'. TV short. Dir.: Peter Lindbergh.
- 2004 La mandrágora. TV series. Dir.: Miguel Sarmiento
- 2006 Pina Bausch. TV documentary. Dir.: Anne Linsel.
- 2010 Dancing Dreams. Documentary. Dir.: Rainer Hoffmann, Anne Linsel.
- 2011 Pina – Dance Dance Otherwise We Are Lost. Documentary. Dir.: Wim Wenders.
- 2011 Understanding Pina: The Legacy of Pina Bausch. Documentary. Dir.: Kathy Sullivan and Howard Silver
|Pina Bausch's Nelken (Carnations), 2005|
- according to some sources her birth name was Philippine, in: Pina Bausch. „Tanzen gegen die Angst“. (dancing against fear) Ullstein, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-548-60259-2, S. 27
Nach Angaben der Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung lautet ihr Name auf dem Taufschein Philippina Bausch, in: Gudrun Norbisrath: "Die Welt ist ärmer ohne Pina Bausch", Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 1. Juli 2009
- Itzkoff, Dave (30 June 2009). "Pina Bausch Dies". New York Times.
- "Pina Bausch: Dancer and choreographer whose seminal work gave an unsettling view of the human condition". The Independent (London). 3 July 2009.
- Lille, Dawn (2010). Equipoise:The Life and Work of Alfredo Corvino. New York, NY: Rosen. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-4358-9124-1.
- Luke Jennings (1 July 2009), Obituary: Pina Bausch The Guardian.
- Chris Wiegand (30 June 2009), Pina Bausch, German choreographer and dancer, dies The Guardian
- The Air That I Breathe Masurca Fogo, 1998
- "Cast overview". International Movie Database. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
- Jennings, Luke (1 July 2009). "Obituary: Pina Bausch". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- VII Europe Theatre Prize / Reasons Europe Theatre Prize
- "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- Mark Brown (9 March 2011), Pina Bausch dance cycle to be staged as part of 2012 Cultural Olympiad The Guardian.
- Haithman, Diane (1 July 2009). "Pina Bausch dies at 68; innovative German choreographer". Los Angeles Times.
- Pareles, Jon (2 August 1987), "Bowie Creates a Spectacle", The New York Times, retrieved 28 May 2013
- Remling, Amanda. "American Horror Story Season 3 Spoilers". International Business Times. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
- Fest mit Pina – Internationales Tanzfestival 2008 – Programm, Stand: 25. September 2008
- Ulrich Fischer: „Kontraste prägen Pina Bauschs neues Tanzstück", dpa / Rhein-Zeitung, 13. June 2009
„Tanztheater Pina Bausch startet zu Gastspielreise nach Chile", News Adhoc, 16 December 2009
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pina Bausch.|
- Official Website
- Stanford Presidential Lectures in the Humanities and Arts Pina Bausch: Life and work, Mimi Tashiro, 1999
- Ballet Magazine Interview Valerie Lawson, 2002
- Goethe Institut 50 Choreographers of Contemporary Dance, Jochen Schmidt, 2009