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Information

1950

born in Mauzac (France)

1961 to 1964

dance training with Madame Germaine Lalande

1973 to 2018

member (with some breaks) of the Tanztheater Wuppertal

2009 to 2020

member of the Advisory Board of the Pina Bausch Foundation

2009 to 2013

Artistic Director of Tanztheater Wuppertal, together with Robert Sturm

awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, the Bessie Award and the Légion d'honneur, among others.


Biography

Dominique Mercy

was born in 1950 in Mauzac, France, and received his first dance lessons from the age of six from Mme Dupradeau in Talence. For three further years he studied with Mme Germaine Lalande and in 1965 joined the Grand-Théâtre de Bordeaux. In 1968 he switched to Amiens to the newly formed Ballet Théâtre Contemporain under the direction of Jean-Albert Cartier and Françoise Adret, who were interested in collaboration between choreographers, painters and composers. Mercy danced in pieces by choreographers including Adret, Félix Blaska, Jean Bailée, John Butler, Michel Descombey and George Skibine. Manuel Alum from the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company in New York came as a guest teacher and in 1972 invited him to the Saratoga Summer Festival. Here he met Pina Bausch, who was showing her choreography Philips 836885 D.S.Y. and teaching in Saratoga. He identified with her movements and had the feeling he’d finally found his artistic home. He was therefore delighted when she invited him to Wuppertal to join her new company in 1973 along with Malou Airaudo.

Wuppertal: coming and going

Pina Bausch worked on the principle that things which are not yet art are at least as important as things which already are – if not more so. When Mercy was unable to stop a coughing fit during rehearsals for her first Wuppertal choreography Fritz, together with him she developed it into an outlandish coughing dance. He soon became one of the most important protagonists in the new dance theatre company, taking leading roles in the two Gluck operas Iphigenia on Tauris and Orpheus and Eurydice. When Pina Bausch began to alter her working methods, asking her dancers questions, he went with her as a matter of course. Nevertheless he left the company in 1975 and 1978, founding the Ensemble La Main with Malou Airaudo, Héléna Pikon, Jacques Patarozzi and Dana Sapiro, and working with Carolyn Carlson at the Paris Opera on the productions Wind-Water-Sand and The Architects. And yet every time he returned to Wuppertal with more conviction than ever.

Ideal Collaboration

Over time Pina Bausch and Dominique Mercy developed an ideal form of collaboration. Both loved small, rapid disturbances. Anyone who has seen his floundering Kaspar in Two Cigarettes In The Dark has encountered not just a comic figure but also a human being in profound distress. His solos were almost always ambivalent, knife-edge performances. He especially rated figures with a slight kink or defect. ‘Sad little fellows,’ as he himself said, and worryingly strange oddballs, were his speciality – and repeated roles en travestie. In this way he rose to be one of the most outstanding soloists in the company. Despite this he still found time for other activities. From 1988 to 2009 he taught at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. In 1999 he created the duo Petit psaume du Matin with Jodef Nadj. In 2003 Régis Obadia made a documentary film about him, Dominique Mercy danse Pina Bausch.

When Pina Bausch died in 2009 he took over the artistic direction of the Tanztheater Wuppertal till 2013, together with Robert Sturm, thus securing the continuation of her artistic legacy. To this day he still works on revivals and new productions of repertory pieces. For his work he has been awarded prizes such as the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, the Bessie Award and the Légion d‘honneur.

Text by Norbert Servos
Translated by Steph Morris


Gallery


Premieres

season 1973/74

PieceFritz
Date5 January 1974
VenueOpernhaus Wuppertal
Wuppertal
Germany
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season 1973/74

PieceIphigenie auf Tauris
Date21 April 1974
VenueOpernhaus Wuppertal
Wuppertal
Germany
DanceBarbara Passow

Priestresses, Scythians

Barry Wilkinson

Clytemnestras, Guard, Scythians

Colleen Finneran-Meessmann

Oracle, Priestresses

Dominique Mercy

Orest

Ed Kortlandt

Pylades

Hans Pop

Agamemnon, Guard, Scythians

Hiltrud Blanck

Priestresses, Scythians

Jan Minařík

Clytemnestras, Thoas

Josephine Ann Endicott

Clytemnestra, Priestresses, Scythians

Lajos Horvath

Clytemnestras, Oracle

Malou Airaudo

Iphigenie

Margaret Huggenberger

Priestresses, Scythians

Marlis Alt

Priestresses

Matthias Schmidt

Clytemnestras, Guard, Scythians

Monika Wacker

Priestresses, Scythians

Stephanie Macoun

Priestresses

Sue Cooper

Priestresses, Scythians

Vivienne Newport

Priestresses, Scythians

Yolanda Meier

Electra, Priestresses, Scythians

SingerBozena Kinasz

Iphigenie

Elena Bajew

Diana

Hartmut Bauer

Thoas

Heikki Siukola

Orest

Klaus Kettenbach

A manservant

Luigi Lega

Pylades

ChoirJiri Kubica
Werner Wilke
StagehandPaul Aron
LightingHans-Joachim Deinert
Make-upHeinz Dildey
SoundHorst Kersten
SouffleuseGertrud Bürkle
Technical directionRolf Bachmann
Stage managerHerbert Görsch
Source of castEvening leaflet for “Iphigenie auf Tauris” by Pina Bausch in in Wuppertal, season 1973/74
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season 1974/75

season 1974/75

season 1974/75

PieceOrpheus und Eurydike
Date23 May 1975
VenueOpernhaus Wuppertal
Wuppertal
Germany
DanceBarbara Passow

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Barry Wilkinson

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace

Colleen Finneran-Meessmann

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Dominique Mercy

Orpheus

Heinz Samm

Scene Dying, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Hiltrud Blanck

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Jan Minařík

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Lajos Horvath

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace

Laszlo Fenyves

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Malou Airaudo

Eurydice

Margaret Huggenberger

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Marlis Alt

Amor, Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Michael Diekamp

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Monika Sagon

Scene Peace

Monika Wacker

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Pedro José Mascarello Bisch

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Stephanie Macoun

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Sue Cooper

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Tjitske Broersma

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Vivienne Newport

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

Yolanda Meier

Scene Dying, Scene Grief, Scene Peace, Scene Power

SingerBozena Kinasz

Eurydice

Kristina Eckert

Amor

Lois White

Orpheus

ChoirWerner Wilke
StagehandHelmut Kühne
LightingHans-Joachim Deinert
Make-upHeinz Dildey
SoundHorst Kersten
SouffleuseElse Hildesheim
Ballet masterHans-Dieter Klos
BallettkorrepetitionWerner Precht
Technical directionRolf Bachmann
Stage managerWalter Maiser
Source of castEvening leaflet for “Orpheus und Eurydike” by Pina Bausch in in Wuppertal, May 23, 1975
Booklet for “Orpheus und Eurydike” by Pina Bausch in in Wuppertal, May 23, 1975
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season 1977/78

season 1977/78

season 1977/78

season 1979/80

season 1979/80

season 1980/81

season 1981/82

season 1982/83

season 1983/84

season 1984/85

season 1985/86

season 1986/87

season 1989/90

season 1990/91

season 1992/93

season 1993/94

season 1994/95

season 1995/96

season 1996/97

season 1997/98

season 1997/98

season 1999/2000

season 2000/01

season 2001/02

season 2003/04

season 2005/06

season 2008/09


From the archives
Dominique Mercy

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