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Information

1950

born in Uffenheim (Germany)

1966

dance training at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen (Germany)

member of the Folkwang Tanzstudio and first performances in choreographies by Pina Bausch

1972

studies at the Martha Graham School in New York (USA)

1973 to 1978

member of Tanztheater Wuppertal and important role creations

2020

dies in Switzerland


Biography

Marlis Alt

was born 19 March 1950 in the Bavarian town of Uffenheim. At 16 she went to the Folkwang School in Essen to study dance. Her teachers included Egbert Strolka, Jean Cébron and Hans Züllig. On completing her course she became a member of the Folkwang Dance Studio, led by Pina Bausch, in whose choreographies Fragment, Im Wind der Zeit, Aktionen für Tänzer and Nachnull (After Zero) she danced. She was fascinated not just by Pina Bausch’s physical language but also her working methods; as well as dictating movements, Bausch adopted improvisations from her dancers, engaging with the particular qualities of each person. She gave each of them space for their own interpretations. For Marlis Alt it was ‘true collaboration, in dialogue with her.’ Like this, everyone could continue to develop. At that time this was not established practice.

Sacre

In 1972 she was given a DAAD grant to study in New York at the Martha Graham School with teachers such as Yuriko and Mary Hinkson. In 1973 she returned to Germany and was taken on by Pina Bausch in her new dance theatre company, the Tanztheater Wuppertal. She became one of the ‘founding’ dancers, performing in works as varied as Fritz, the ‘schlager revue’ I'll Do You In..., Adagio – Five Songs by Gustav Mahler and the dance opera Orpheus and Eurydice. In the original triple bill Rite of Spring (1975) she had roles in all three parts. Her creation of the victim in the third piece, a choreography of Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps, was exceptional. Marlis Alt gave the pain, desperation and fear of her protagonist an emotional directness, leaving the audience no escape from the confrontation. The role she shaped became a benchmark for many subsequent dancers. At the same time she saw a consoling aspect to a sacrifice made to renew the seasonal rhythm; the consolation for her was the communion of the ritual, connecting everyone with each other: everyone is a victim; no-one is alone. In this sense, she was aware of the way Pina Bausch’s choreography was simultaneously atavistic and contemporary, archaic and current.

Judith

Following performances in the Brecht/Weill double bill The Seven Deadly Sins (1976) she continued with the role of Judith in Bluebeard – While listening to a tape recording of Béla Bartóks opera ‘Duke Bluebeard’s Castle’ (1977), a further milestone. Again a woman is a victim. Again she is played by Marlis Alt in a mixture of resilience and resignation, rebellion and despair. Only this could give her take on the role the edge it needed, bringing the figure up close to the audience, making it tangible. Despite her intuitive understanding of Pina Bausch’s choreographic world, after her final performances in Renate Emigrates, in the 1977/78 season, she abandoned dance. She married, raised two children and supported her husband for several years in his fight against soil erosion in Ethiopia. In 1998 she returned once more to Wuppertal at Pina Bausch’s invitation for the new production of Bluebeard. Marlis Alt died on 18 June 2020 in Switzerland.

Text by Norbert Servos
Translation by Steph Morris


Gallery


Premieres

season 1969/70

PieceNachnull (After Zero)
Date8 January 1970
VenueMunich
Germany
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season 1970/71

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 1975/76

season 1975/76

season 1975/76

season 1975/76

PieceThe Seven Deadly Sins
Date15 June 1976
VenueOpernhaus Wuppertal
Wuppertal
Germany
Costume assistantOrtrud Himmelreich
MusikassistenzLothar Knepper
DanceBarbara Passow

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Barry Wilkinson

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Colleen Finneran-Meessmann

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Ed Kortlandt

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Elisabeth Clarke

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Esco Edmondson

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Fernando Cortizo

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Hans Pop

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Heinz Samm

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Hiltrud Blanck

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Jan Minařík

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Josephine Ann Endicott

Anna II, Don't Be Afraid

Lajos Horvath

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Laszlo Fenyves

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Margaret Huggenberger

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Marlis Alt

Don't Be Afraid

Michael Diekamp

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Monika Sagon

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Monika Wacker

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Pedro José Mascarello Bisch

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Stephanie Macoun

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Sue Cooper

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Tjitske Broersma

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Vivienne Newport

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

Yolanda Meier

Deadly Sins, Don't Be Afraid

ActorMechthild Großmann

Don't Be Afraid

SingerAnn Höling

Anna I, Don't Be Afraid

Erich Leukert

Don't Be Afraid

Karin Rasenack

Don't Be Afraid

Oskar Pürgstaller

The Family

Siegfried Schmidt

The Family

Willi Nett

The Family

Zsolt Ketszery

The Family

StagehandHelmut Kühne
LightingHans-Joachim Deinert
Make-upHeinz Dildey
SoundHorst Kersten
SouffleuseElse Hildesheim
BallettkorrepetitionWerner Precht
Technical directionRolf Bachmann
Workshop managementLeo Haase
Stage managerHerbert Görsch
Tour managementHans-Dieter Klos
PropsGünther Fränzel
Source of castEvening leaflet for “The Seven Deadly Sins” by Pina Bausch with Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal in in Wuppertal, June 15, 1976
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season 1976/77

season 1977/78

season 1997/98


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