most of us already know, dance is a very expressive form of art. One can find
the inspiration for a choreography everywhere. Still, the most important parts
of a dance are its meaning, its influence on the audience and the message that
it tries to communicate. Pina Bausch was one of the best choreographers in the
world, who succeeded in creating some of the most meaningful choreographies in
Bausch was born in German and she was a performer of modern dance, a choreographer,
a dance teacher and a ballet director. In 1970, she started to be the most
important influence in this field, as she represented one of the main choreographers
who had the courage to elaborate works in a style known as Tanztheater (“Theater Dance”). She was unique in her style, as she
managed to combine perfectly elements of sound and movement and because her
choreographies generated a bunch of feelings in both the dancers and the
watching a choreography of Pina Bausch, one can easily notice that it is such a
complex and meaningful one. Then, questions appear. What is her inspiration?
How can a human being create such works of art that contain the deepest
feelings of a human mind and body? What are her goals? Well, there are answers,
fortunately. As Eleonore Bayles stated in her thesis entitled Psyche Embodied; an exploration of modern
dance through a psychological lens, Pina Bausch’s choreographies were, more
than once, defined as being psychological, as both psychoanalysis and Bausch’s
choreographies “explore the human condition through similar questions, and
search for meaning in virtually identical ways” (Bayles, 87).
admitted that her works came out of her feelings, emotions and experiences. She
said: “I loved to dance because I was scared to speak. When I was moving, I
could feel.” (Bayles, 10). More than that, when the choreographer was asked
what inspired her, besides her own life, she answered that the biggest inspiration
consisted not only of her personal experience, but she even spent weeks and
months trying to make her dancers express their deep feelings and use them as
background for choreographies. “I’m not interested in the movement of my
dancers, but in what moves them” (Bayles,79-80). One can easily observe that
the relationship between her and her dancers was not just a professor-student
relationship, it was deeper than that.
“Her entire choreographic process
was in fact quite similar to a psychological therapy, in which individuals
explore their unconscious thoughts and emotions. Bausch process was a
continuous exploration. Even her final product was not considered absolute, but
instead an integral part of the choreographic process” (Bayles, 80).
daily basis of Bausch’s dancers consisted of this: the only ballet class they
had was in the morning; the rest of the day they spent in Bausch’s studio,
where they were asked questions till the end of the day. The process could take
place in different ways: sometimes Bausch chose a theme for the questions,
sometimes it was upon the dancers the way in which they wanted to answer, but
other times Bausch imposed a certain way of answering. Some of them “might
create a movement segment in answer to her questions, while others might just
sit and speak with her about their ideas on the topic” (Bayles, 89). It was a
very deep psychoanalytic process of discovering the inner self and the outer world.
“Why is it called ‘LA’?” was one of Pina Bausch’s questions for the work Nur Du. The answer was: “Something
kitschy”. But then she said: “Do something leading with your elbow.” “Spell Los
Angeles with your body.” (Daly, 20; Bayles, 90). Dominique Mercy was one of her
dancers and she stated that “She looks for material that belongs deeply, and
uniquely, to each individual. She wants us.” (Daly, 20; Bayles, 90)
as the choreographies are full of emotion and shape both her and her dancers’
personality, they, of course, generate an incredible audience response. Moreover,
stating that Pina Bausch’s aim was combining theater and dance, it is obvious
that the performances had the best result: the audience got fully lost in the
dances and in their story. Being absorbed by the feelings that were contoured
in the performances, they start to reflect about their own life. “For many
audiences, watching a Pina Bausch piece is an internal rollercoaster, an
experience of inner reflection and questioning…” (Bayles, 79)
one of her goals was even to make the audience pass through what her dancers
had passed. Pina Bausch wanted the audience to ask themselves questions, to
find answers, to find their true self and analyze it. Even when watching a
documentary movie about her life and career or a video on Youtube.com with a
performance, someone is able to get out of the place they are at the moment,
and lose themselves fully in the movements, in the struggles and, of course, in
the story of the dance. One can experience a great emotional process which
comes out of the video. All of her works contain such deep messages and
histories, that it is impossible not to go with the flow.
example, in “Rite of Spring”, the performance begins with a woman lying on a red
material. No one else is on the stage. Then, another woman comes running and
bares her body, which can be a sign of the desire of showing to the world the
real image of her life and personality, to show that SHE is real. More and more
women appear, each of them having a unique message to convey. They are not
moving in the same way, each of them has her own movement and style, which
underlines again the fact the Pina Bausch did a great job in shaping their
unique personalities on the stage.
the performance continues, the movements, from being low and smooth, become
fixed, more intense, more expressive. Everything seems to change when the woman
lying on the red material leaves it on the ground. They start moving in the
same way, their movements being grave and burdensome. More than that, the
music, Igor Stravinsky’s song “The Rite of Spring”, offers the dance an even
more pressing state. All of these generate intense emotions for the audience.
The dancers keep the audience there and their heart start beating faster and
faster. When the men appear on the stage, everything changes. The relationship
between men and women is shaped. Then, again, the whole attention shifts to the
red material, as everyone and every feeling moves around it.
consequence, after watching one of Bausch’s choreographies, “Many audiences
have found that they connect with her work on an emotional level that they had
never before encountered. Perhaps this was because Bausch’s work was made for
the here and now.” (Bayles, 102-103). Pina Bausch addressed to each person, she
didn’t choose to address to the audience as a whole, but to individuals.
Because of this, every person that watches a choreography created by Bausch
feels that he or she is being addressed directly, he or she feels that the
dancers talk exactly to him or her and provoke him or her to think about their
movements and to complete the performance with emotions of him or her. The
choreographies cannot be completed without audience’s contribution. This is why
Pina Bausch’s works can be interpreted in millions of ways and each of the
interpretation is valid (Bayles, 104-105).
after analyzing briefly Pina Bausch’s work and her contribution to dance, one
can surely say that she was one of the greatest choreographers in dance history.
It is clear that her work did not consist only of dancing, but also of intense
psychological sessions with her dancers, trying to discover their personality
and giving them the opportunity to “dance”, to “vocalize” their deepest
feelings through movements. In fact, she succeeded in doing the same thing
indirectly to the audience, through her performances and choreographies. Pina
Bausch was a symbol of unicity profoundness.