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Information

1944

born in Posen

1963 to 1966

studies painting in Haarlem, Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Paris (France)

after 1967

studies graphics and design at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen (Germany)

1970

meets Pina Bausch

1973 to 1980

works as costume and set designer for the Tanztheater Wuppertal

1980

dies at the age of 35


Biography

Rolf Borzik

was born 1944 in Posen, Poland, but grew up in Germany and the Netherlands. In 1963 he began an apprenticeship at a graphic design firm in Detmold, then studied drawing and portraiture with the Dutch painter Poppe de Maar in Haarlem. From 1963 to 1966 he studied painting in Amsterdam and Paris before enrolling at the Folkwang School, Essen, in 1967 to study graphics and design. Here he met Pina Bausch. The two became friends, and from 1970 lived together. Three years later, when she was invited to take charge of dance in Wuppertal by artistic director Arno Wüstenhöfer, he began designing costumes and sets for the company.

Giving the new dance theatre a face

They formed a congenial partnership. They agreed that the pieces couldn’t accommodate any of the stylisations typical at the time, instead needing to be situated close to reality. At the same time the sets needed to open up poetic spaces for the audiences, allowing room for them to make their own associations. Borzik worked on Pina Bausch’s Wuppertal productions right from the start and gave them a very different look: everyday in Fritz, spare and reduced to the minimum for the Gluck operas Iphigenia in Tauris and Orpheus and Eurydice. These constraints on the means aimed to draw the eye to the intensity of the actions, with nothing allowed not genuinely needed. For The Rite of Spring Borzik opened up the stage back to the firewalls and covered it in a thick layer of peat – dance as a physical act of violence. On the one hand Borzik sought proximity to everyday life, on the other he defamiliarized the spaces by playing with the elements. For The Seven Deadly Sins he took a cast of a Wuppertal street and used this as the stage floor. The nineteenth-century room in Bluebeard is full of fallen leaves which track the dancers’ steps; in Come dance with me it is twigs and branches. Renate emigrates presents a fantastical ice landscape to the eye. Café Müller shows a coffee house full of tables and chairs which Borzik rumbles out of the way of the dancers. In Arias the whole stage is ankle-deep in water while a melancholy hippopotamus steps through the landscape searching for love.

Everything is possible

Borzik’s costumes are often reminiscent of everyday clothes while at the same time departing from them. They may be minimal or extravagant, elegant or simple, a fake skin or an inventive disguise. Everything is possible. For Pina Bausch he was a congenial working partner with whom she could discuss every thematic and dramaturgical issue. He co-devised and -imagined these pieces from their heart, as they began to define a new genre.

In January 1980 Rolf Borzik died at only thirty-five years of age. But in the seven years in which he had worked with Pina Bausch in Wuppertal he succeeded in giving dance theatre an unmistakable face. He created stage sets which incorporate the chronology of events, in defiance of ephemerality and transience. These are spaces of memory which record the drama of human existence within themselves, at the same time reminding us, with their poetic defamiliarization, that everything is possible, even what we have not yet seen and not yet imagined.

Following Borzik’s death Marion Cito took over costumes and Peter Pabst sets. They continued the trajectories of these excessive yet disciplined fantasies into the future.

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

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 1999/2000

season 2008/09


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