|Saison 1997/98||Anfang der Arbeit mit Pina Bausch|
Jorge Puerta Armenta
Jorge Puerta Armenta was born in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1971 and took up dance at the age of nineteen. In 1994, a scholarship brought him to Angers, France, where he trained at the Centre National de la Danse Contemporaine under directors Joëlle Bouvier and Régis Obadia. After completing his academic studies, he worked with the Folkwang Dance Studio in Essen for seven months until he was asked by Pina Bausch to join Tanztheater Wuppertal in 1997. He remained with the company until 2014, performing in many of the repertoire pieces and contributing to the creation of eight new productions. He also appeared in Pedro Almodóvar’s 2002 film Hable con ella (Talk to Her), which includes excerpts from Pina Bausch works, and in the Wim Wenders film PINA (2011). Puerta Armenta’s open, unaffected presence captivated audiences, and his youthful charm added unique colour to the pieces in which he performed.
Puerta Armenta began to choreograph as early as 2012, creating pieces like The Silence Falls From the Trees, 17 centimetres above the floor, Nothing Unusual and Look. Some of these were commissioned, e.g. by IDARTES in Bogotá, or by the cultural centre of Universidad del Pacífico and the Goethe Institut in Lima, Peru. As assistant to Omar Sangare, he collaborated on the choreography of Princess Ivona in Massachusetts, USA, and he also worked alongside Tim Etchells, director of Forced Entertainment, when Etchells was guest choreographer at Tanztheater Wuppertal. In 2020 he created video-dance workshops for La Factoria in Colombia, and for the Under Construction festival in Wuppertal he and Chrystel Guillebeaud made a film about a workshop for participants over the age of sixty. During Covid -related restrictions, he gave virtual workshops for festivals including Camp-In in Mexico City, La Factoria in Bogotá, Universidad Católica in Lima and UCL in London. His choreographies have been on the programmes of numerous international festivals, including in Rome (Equilibrio festival), Venice and Bologna, in Poland (United Solo Festival), Colombia (Bienal Internacional de Danza and Festival Danza en la Ciudad), Chile (Centro Cultural GAM) and Costa Rica (Festival Nacional de Danza Contemporánea). He is also much in demand as a guest teacher and as a coach for young artists.
Through all this, Puerta Armenta has retained his links with Tanztheater Wuppertal. He has worked on restagings of Pina Bausch’s version of Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) The Rite of Spring for the Paris Opera, for English National Ballet, and for an ensemble of African dancers in a collaboration between Pina Bausch Foundation, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and École des Sables, Senegal. It is very important to Puerta Armenta that dancers find a way to really live a piece on stage, not just interpret it. The entry point is to learn all the phrases of the choreography through endless repetition, until the dancer finds the origin and motor of what they are doing. Only then can they connect the memorised choreography with personal experience and really live it as their own. This ensures that the viewer sees real people on stage, human beings with desires and fears who are constantly searching for meaning and dealing with adversity. This is also the only way for an audience to be touched and moved – when a piece is not just performed but truly brought to life.
Text: Norbert Servos
Translation: Rachel McNicholl