The reconstruction of a choreography is a challenge, especially when there is no choreographic notation: how to determine the basic spatial dimensions, the details and the sensitive qualities of gesture?
The Pina Bausch Archive provides a number of different materials that assist in this task: open reel video recordings by Rolf Borzik who was also in charge of the stage design and costumes, photographs and press reviews, stage plans and audio recordings. The original costumes were in storage at Tanztheater Wuppertal. Since the fabrics had become decayed, copies of the costumes had to be sewn by the costume tailors of Wuppertaler Bühnen.
Apart from the utilisation of documental material, the reconstruction would not have been possible without the memories, the knowledge and the experience of the dancers John Giffin, Mari DiLena, and Josephine Ann Endicott who were part of the former cast of the piece. Their knowledge about the piece’s spirit and choreographic detail were invaluable for the reconstruction and passing on of the choreography to young dancers.
Two institutions that are of great importance for dance in the 20th century have also coined Pina Bausch’s artistic career as a dancer and choreographer: The Folkwang School in Essen where Pina Bausch studied stage dance and dance education with Kurt Jooss from 1955, and the New York Juilliard School for which she received a scholarship in 1959.
These two institutions played an important role in the work on Wind from West. Both integrated the reconstruction into their curricula. Intensive rehearsal periods took place in Essen and New York. But most importantly: young dancers from both institutions danced together as one ensemble for the performances.
Alongside John Giffin, Mari DiLena and Josephine Ann Endicott, ten dancers of Folkwang Tanzstudio, four graduate students of dance composition, senior undergraduates of dance at Folkwang University of the Arts, and 44 undergraduate students from Juilliard School, New York / Dance Division were involved in the reconstruction of Wind from West. The rehearsal work was carried out over four periods, some of which lasted several weeks, throughout 2013 both in Essen and in New York. The reconstructed Stravinsky evening saw nine performances between November 22nd and December 15th, 2013.
An introductory event for the reconstruction took place in the Guggenheim Museum in New York within the scope of “Guggenheim: Works and Process” on September 29th and 30th already. John Giffin, Josephine Ann Endicott, Mari DiLena and Lawrence Rhodes and the dance historian and critic Deborah Jowitt introduced the project. In the Wuppertal Opera, Wind from the West was introduced by the persons involved in the reconstruction before the premiere on November 22nd.
The costs for the reconstruction amounted to 125.000 Euros. An initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, TANZFONDS ERBE, which cares for the conservation and maintenance of the heritage of dance in Germany, supported the project with a grant of 100.000 Euros. The anniversary season “PINA40” that is sponsored by the Ministry for Families, Children, Youth, Culture and Sports of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the city of Wuppertal, the city of Düsseldorf and the city of Essen, supported the project with 10.000 euros. The Pina Bausch Foundation accounted for 15.000 euros as an own contribution.
The Pina Bausch Archive documented the reconstruction as well as the performances in November and December 2013. The resulting material can now be found in the archive and can help with future productions of the piece by other ensembles. Thus, the guiding idea of the Pina Bausch Foundation to retain the work of the choreographer, pass it down to a young generation of dancers and make it real again and again in the future, on stage, in space, and through movement.