The dancer and choreographer left a complex and exceptionally comprehensive artistic legacy. After her death, her son Salomon established the charitable Pina Bausch Foundation on August 3rd, 2009 in which he has placed her entire artistic legacy in accordance with her wishes. In addition to the vast collection of archive material, this legacy also includes the copyright to her pieces and choreographies and to the stage and costume designs of Rolf Borzik.
Salomon Bausch is chairman of the board of trustees of the Pina Bausch Foundation, Madeline Ritter is the Vice-Chairman. The advisory board is made up of Elisabeth Hayes and Dominique Mercy.
The numerous activities of the foundation comprise the communication of Pina Bausch’s art in a range of events and to different target groups. At presence, however, the foundation’s main task is to set up the Pina Bausch Archive.
A great plenty of material of the choreographer’s 53 pieces: The Pina Bausch Foundation started to archive in 2010. Material was digitised if possible; physical objects were measured, described and photographed.
This has already advanced quite far: more than 38.000 photos and almost 3.900 videos have been digitised, 3.900 costumes are captured as well as 1.100 programmes. The heart of the archive is a database developed in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt that uses the latest technology.
“An Invitation from Pina”: The title of the archive project alone suggests that the archive is not to be seen as a dull repository for documents, but rather a place for lively exchange, both artistic and academic, for everyone who is curious about Pina Bausch’s art.
Wuppertal, the “workaday city”: Pina Bausch has committed to Wuppertal all her life. Here, she ran the Tanztheater and gave distinction to it for 36 years. Many suppose that would not have been possible in this form in another city; without her, Wuppertal would be a different city today.
Arno Wüstenhöfer brought her here as the director of the Wuppertal ballet for the 1973/74 season. She was hesitant, finally she agreed – “I can give it a try.” – and soon renames it Tanztheater Wuppertal. Her early work was received with controversy, there was jeers and devastating criticism. At the same time the German ballet critics voted her Gluck production of 1974 the dance event of the year. Wuppertal remained home to Tanztheater, also when it was internationally renowned already.
The Pina Bausch Foundation commits to Wuppertal, too, and cannot think of a better place for the location of the Pina Bausch Archive in the long term. In the years to come, the foundation aims to provide impulses for the planning of an “International Dance Centre Pina Bausch” that is to accommodate both Tanztheater and the archive.
The Pina Bausch Foundation is aware of the fact that there is more to keeping a lively image of Pina Bausch’s artistic work than carefully archived material. Her companions, dancers and staff keep the experience of her art in their heads and bodies as practical knowledge. The foundation wants to preserve these personal experiences, too, pass them on, and thus generate a culture of handing down knowledge – from person to person.
Pina Bausch’s work received worldwide recognition and built bridges to other (dance-) cultures, particularly with the international coproductions of Tanztheater. She made lifelong friendships on her journeys herself. For this reason, it is essential to the Pina Bausch Foundation to follow the traces around the world and talk to the people who worked with her. In order to capture some of the things that the people learned from their work with the choreographer.
The Pina Bausch Foundation has received funds for its projects from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media, the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Ministry for Families, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Dr. Werner Jackstädt Foundation for the City of Wuppertal, Tanzfonds Erbe and the Landschaftsverband Rheinland.