A video on the screen. Black and white. No HD quality, but with the noise typical of older camera models. A stage situation is on display, and people who dance, meet, laugh. The film has finished after about 40 minutes, and four people take a seat in front of the audience. All of them are dancers or former dancers of Pina Bausch’s ensemble. For the next half hour they will report on their memories and experiences, but also answer questions from some 100 spectators.
„FILM & TALK“ is the series of in-house events that kicked off in the Pina Bausch Theatre of the Folkwang University of the Arts and that is aimed at students of the Institute of Contemporary Dance. A piece from the beginnings of Tanztheater Wuppertal was the focus of this evening: FRITZ. It was the first dance evening that Pina Bausch choreographed at the Wuppertaler Bühnen.
Malou Airaudo, Marlis Alt, Dominique Mercy and Jan Minarik are four dancers from the original cast who had been invited to “Film & Talk”. They brought along their knowledge, their experiences and their memories from the FRITZ rehearsals and the work with Pina Bausch. Enough material for the students to ask their questions. Hesitant at first they reach for the microphone. Some of the dancers’ answers surprise the audience; others produce a moment of silence.
One student wants to know how the guests on stage changed by meeting Pina Bausch, and what they learned from working with the choreographer. “A very difficult question”, Dominique Mercy hesitates and still finds an answer in English: “You never have something for granted”.
Never rest, but stay curious and keep on searching.
Not to rest on one’s laurels or develop a false sense of security. That was something essential that Pina Bausch taught her ensemble, says the dancer. Jan Minarik adds that the close observation of everyday situations and the profound concern with people as such had been one of the most important experiences for him as a dancer and a very essential part of their artistic work: “Suddenly, much later, you notice that things are missing [note: in your own movements]. That you have to assimilate what other people are doing, or how we react. Because by doing so, the own movements take on an entirely different meaning. And suddenly you can say something that cannot be described with the means of language. And that is the ultimate goal of dancing.”
Cultural editor with ‘Deutschlandfunk’ Stefan Koldehoff hosted the evening. The event was the beginning of a close collaboration between the Folkwang University of the Arts and the Pina Bausch Foundation. New ways to look into the work of Pina Bausch in order to create new knowledge with the students will be sought together.
Intensely, interdisciplinary, lively – those are the expectations for the cooperation. “Film & Talk” will continue as an internal event at the University. Also, the Folkwang University of the Arts and the Pina Bausch Foundation are currently working on additional formats of cooperation.