by Pina Bausch.
Sadler’s Wells Theatre Rosebery Avenue EC1R 4TN To 9 July 2012.
Runs: 2hr 25min Oneith interval.
Review: Carole Woddis 8 July.
Inexplicable beauty of dance.
As dance audiences are distinct from theatre audiences (don’t ask me why but you can always tell which is which; they look different), so there is a distinct `language’ of dance.
Similarly, as regular theatregoers learn to `read’ plays in a certain way, so it is with dance. You learn to read the codes. But what if you don’t have access to those codes? Can pure dance be enough?
If ever this were true, it is of Pina Bausch whose ambitious World Cities festival drew to an end on July 9th with Wiesenland.
Anyone looking for a typically `Hungarian’ feel to Wiesenland, created in Budapest in 2000, will be disappointed although once you realise Hungary is heavily wooded and Budapest renowned for its baths and saunas, you begin to understand why the set is dominated by a large grass cliff/waterfall which later becomes a grassy knoll or playground. Water becomes a presiding motif, employed in many different moments and situations.
As with all Bausch’s work, certain characteristics prevail. Packed with tiny detail and sideways humour, here her mannequin style dancers, decked out in gloriously floating frocks and high heels, seem to endorse a highly feminised female stereotype. At the same time, the sly smiles suggest a satirical undercutting in the very act of welcoming and addressing the audience. And there is a lot of audience interaction.
Bausch’s dancers once again are a joy to behold. But often I found myself wondering what each moment, though beautiful or humorous, meant; how it connected to what had just gone before.
Bausch’s distinction was to create a new dance-theatre language, sequences of short realistic-abstract scenarios in which dominant/submissive and aggressive/passive roles are played out repeatedly. But of direct narrative, there was little sign.
For many, this missing link is unimportant. The sheer beauty and virtuosity of the dancers, set to the most wonderfully eclectic musical background, is the end in itself.
Since Bausch’s death in 2009, the future for this group of her dancers remains uncertain. This past month’s festival therefore has been a moment out of time, unrepeatable. And therefore a privilege.
Dancers: Regina Advento, Ruth Amarante, Pablo Aran Gimeno, Rainer Behr, Andrey Berezin, Damiano Ottavio Bigi, Ales Cucek, Barbara Kaufmann, Nayoung Kim, Eddie Martinez, Daphnis Kokkinos, Eddie Martinez, Pascal Merighi, Helena Pikon, Jorge Puerta Armenta, Julie Shanahan, Julie Anne Stanzak, Michael Strecker, Fernando Suels Mendoza, Aida Vainieri.
Director/Choreographer: Pina Bausch.
Designer: Peter Pabst.
Collaboration: Marion Cito, Irene Martinez-Rios, Jan Minarik, Robert Sturm.
Rehearsal Directors: Dominique Mercy, Robert Sturm, Anna Wehsarg.
Music: Vera Bila, Romano Drom, Ghymes, Taraf de Haidouks, Fanfare Ciocärlia, Peace Orchestra, Elektrotwist, Bohren and the Club of Gore, Bugge Wesseltoft, Sidsel Endresen, Hermenia, Caetano Veloso, Jose Afonso, Rene Lacaille, Lili Boniche, Rex Stewart, Mel Tormé, Götz Alsmann.
Musical Collaboration: Mathias Burkert, Andreas Eisenschneider.
Ballet Master: Giorgia Maddamma.
Costume: Marion Cito.
A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with Goethe-Institut Budapest and Théâtre de la Ville Paris. World premiere: 5 May 2000 at Schauspielhaus Wuppertal. British premiere: July 8, 9 July at Sadler’s Wells Theatre London, in association with Cultural Industry. Part of the London 2012 Festival.