Day 12 of Campaign
Fabulous Woman Week: Pina Bausch Connection
December 2016: I was sitting in little studio at The Alchemical Theater with a group of people gathered round a folding table to hear me read a first draft of my one woman show. It was the DRAFT of my first ideas, my first visions, my dreams and musings and imaginings that I had cultivated for years based on my love of dance, movement, clowning, gesture work and plays.
The first (5) pages included a prelude that described the physical choreography of the show, the physical action of a character who who tells the story of her personal journey through life from age 5 - 12 and (without speaking, just in the body, just through dance, just through gesture, just through clown) how those experiences catapulted her to make some of the most important decisions she'd ever make as an adult. I explained the readers/audience in an introduction to the play, (both in writing and verbally,) that what they were about to hear and what an audience would see a physical score, and that it was Pina Bausch inspired.
One of the invited guests of that audience asked, "Why do you have to move? Why do you have to dance? Why not just say what you'd be doing in movement? Many people do not know who Pina Bausch is and you'll confuse your audience. It was a wonderful question for me.
The reading was a huge success (from my perspective) because I saw, was told, and knew in my heart that what I was reading had stirred something inside the gm, moved them, made them wonder, made them laugh and made them cry. It was far from perfect but it was an opening to what would lead me to producing HOPE.
Here is answer to that brilliant question posed by the guest at that reading that night. (Thanks to Allison Plamondon who has a deep understanding of the importance of the body, dance movement and the skill to see this vision come to life):
Pina Bausch’s Working Methods
In 1978 Pina Bausch changed her working methods. Invited by the director of the Bochum theatre Peter Zadek to create her own version of Shakespeare's Macbeth, she found herself in a difficult situation. A large portion of her ensemble no longer wished to work with her as there was little conventional dancing in her pieces. She thus cast the Bochum guest performance with just four dancers, five actors and a singer. With this cast she was unable to deploy choreographic steps and so began by asking her performers associative questions around the themes of the play. The result of this joint investigation was premiered on 22 April 1978 in Bochum under the lengthy title Er nimmt sie an der Hand und führt sie in das Schloss, die andern folgen (He takes her by the hand and leads her into the castle, the others follow) and was almost drowned out by the storm of protest from the audience. Yet in making this unusual move, Pina Bausch had finally found the form her work would take, its dream-like, poetic imagery and bodily language justifying the worldwide success she soon achieved. In taking people's essential emotions as its starting point - their fears and needs, wishes and desires - the Tanztheater Wuppertal was not only able to be understood throughout the world, it sparked an international choreographic revolution. The secret of this success may lie in the fact that Pina Bausch's dance theatre risks taking an unflinching look at reality, yet at the same time invites us to dream. It takes the spectators' everyday lives seriously yet at the same time buoys up their hopes that everything can change for the better. For their part, they are required to take responsibility themselves. All the men and women in Pina Bausch's pieces can do is test out, with the utmost precision and honesty, what brings each and every one closer to happiness, and what pushes them further from it; they cannot offer a panacea. They always, however, leave their public in the certainty that - despite all its ups and downs - they will survive life.