PINA BAUSCH'S TANTZTHEATER WUPPERTAL
March 12, 2023
Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal
When Pina Bausch died unexpectedly in 2009, questions swirled about the company's future. Over the years, various individuals have held the reins while recycling repertory and aiming to reproduce the Bausch magic.
For their BAM season, the company, now headed by Boris Charmatz performed Bausch's colorful 2001 Agua -- a work imbued in the fragrances of Brazil.
Designed by Peter Pbast, a film of the lush Brazilian beaches and foliage panned across the enormous, white, curved backdrop. It generated the same sensation felt when sitting in a car looking out the window at the flashing landscape.
Agua's arrangement features individuals in ritualistic vignettes. There's the kooky monologue about a leg cramp--=in this case Naomi Brito--who whips her long hair around the pendulum swings of her arms and legs. A cascading effect was produced by appendages windmilling throughout Agua and compounding the sight of a sunny wind lapping through the palm leaves.
Men lift women in peculiar ways, nudging into torsos or lifting from under the armpits simulating a doll-like version of women. Mind you, Pina was not a docile woman, so it is always intriguing to see how women are represented in relation to men. Generally, women wittily ace the men who more readily rely on attitude.
Less inclined towards indulging in the country's rich social dance and music, Bausch employs her theatrical vocabulary to suggest people merely passing through a bright playland. A distinct openness prevails with lifted chests and faces welcoming the visions and scents of the tropical lands.
Bands of friends and casual strangers traipse through a sunny seaside. And although it lacks the usual depth and dark underside of a Bausch creation, it rushes by as a relaxing indulgence in the ever- quirky imagination of one of our most intensely inventive creators.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis