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Biography

Pina Bausch

Born in 1940 into a publican family in Solingen, she discovered her love of dance at an early age and joined children’s ballet classes where her talent was recognised. In 1955 she began a professional dance education at the Folkwang School in Essen, led by Kurt Jooss, a pioneer of the revolutionary 1920s/30s German movement Ausdruckstanz (‘expressive dance’), completing the course in 1959. The most important values she took from her work with Jooss were ‘honesty and precision’, as she later put it: honesty in approaching reality and precision in developing form. After two years in New York, initially with a scholarship for the renowned Juilliard School of Music, then as a dancer at the New American Ballet and at the Metropolitan Opera House Ballet, she returned to Essen in 1962 on Jooss’ request as a soloist at the newly founded Folkwang Dance Studio. Here she worked with Jooss, Antony Tudor, Lucas Hoving, Hans Züllig and above all Jean Cébron. At the end of the 1960s she gained attention with her first choreographies, including Im Wind der Zeit (‘in the wind of time’), for which she won first prize in the Cologne choreography competition.

Wuppertal

It was Arno Wüstenhöfer, the new director of the Wuppertaler Bühnen (Wuppertal’s combined municipal performing arts venues), who hired Pina Bausch as choreographer there, starting in the 1973/74 season. The times had changed. The new Regietheater (direction-orientated rather than text-based theatre) in Germany had altered expectations of dance too. It needed to be closer to real life, to develop new forms. Pina Bausch changed the name of her ensemble from ‘ballet’ to ‘Tanztheater’ (‘dance theatre’). The clue was in the title. She tested out every possible genre, called her pieces ‘dance opera’, ‘revue’, even ‘operetta’ and began combining means of expression from both dance and theatre. Her choreographic language was unequivocal, clear. Together with her life partner Rolf Borzik, who created the costumes and sets until his death in 1980, she created a new aesthetic. Later she continued this work with Peter Pabst (sets) and Marion Cito (costumes). Together with her musical colleagues Matthias Burkert and Andreas Eisenschneider she continually sought out new, unusual music for her freely collaged pieces, which used poetic images and dances to address the fears and desires which drive human beings. The search for love, affinity and security became a central motif of her oeuvre, for which she developed new working methods. She asked her dancers questions, 800 to 1000 during the research and development on each piece, and out of 40 to 50 of the answers she composed her highly emotional, moving excursions into the inner realms of desire. Here too, she was to rewrite dance history.

By the time of her death, in 2009, she had created over 50 works and achieved world recognition for her art. Despite criticism at the start, she succeeded in establishing dance theatre as a new genre, influencing the development of dance internationally. She was awarded the greatest prizes and honours worldwide for her revolutionary redefinition of dance. Few other twentieth century choreographers were able to open up new freedoms for dance as she did, liberating it from its shackles with ‘superficial beauty’ and leading it towards real life. Her ground-breaking style remains influential to this day.

Text by Norbert Servos
Translated by Steph Morris


Gallery


Premieres

1958

season 1966/67

season 1967/68

season 1969/70

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

season 1970/71

PiecePHILIPS 836 885 DSY
Date31 July 1971
VenueConnecticut College
New London
USA
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season 1971/72

PieceTannhäuser Bacchanal
Date12 March 1972
VenueOpernhaus Wuppertal
Wuppertal
Germany
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season 1972/73

PieceWiegenlied
Date12 December 1972
VenueFolkwang Hochschule Essen
Essen
Germany
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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 1973/74

PieceZwei Krawatten
Date31 May 1974
VenueOpernhaus Wuppertal
Wuppertal
Germany
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season 1974/75

season 1974/75

season 1974/75

PieceFliegenflittchen
Date21 March 1975
VenueSchauspielhaus Wuppertal
Wuppertal
Germany
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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 1976/77

season 1977/78

season 1977/78

season 1977/78

season 1978/79

season 1978/79

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 1998/99

season 1999/2000

season 1999/2000

season 2000/01

season 2001/02

season 2002/03

season 2003/04

season 2004/05

season 2005/06

season 2006/07

season 2007/08

season 2008/09

season 2008/09


From the archives
Pina Bausch

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