Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch

It began with controversy. In 1973, Pina Bausch was appointed director of dance for the Wuppertal theatres and the form she developed in those early years, a mixture of dance and theatre, was wholly unfamiliar. In her performances, the players did not merely dance; they spoke, sang – and sometimes they cried or laughed too. But this strange new work succeeded in establishing itself. In Wuppertal, the seeds were sown for a revolution that was to emancipate and redefine dance throughout the world.

Dance theatre evolved into a unique genre, inspiring choreographers throughout the world and influencing theatre and classical ballet too. Its global success can be attributed to the fact that Pina Bausch made a universal need the key subject of her work: the need for love, for intimacy and emotional security. To this end, she developed an artistic form that could incorporate highly diverse cultural influences. In consistently renewed poetic excursions, she investigated what brings us closer to fulfilling our need for love, and what distances us from it. Hers is a world theatre that does not seek to teach, does not claim to know better, instead generating experiences: exhilarating or sorrowful, gentle or confrontational – often comic or absurd too. It creates driven, moving images of inner landscapes, exploring the precise state of human feelings while never giving up hope that the longing for love can one day be met.

Alongside hope, a close engagement with reality is another key to the work; the pieces consistently relate to things every member of the audience knows, has experienced personally and physically. Over the thirty-six years in which Pina Bausch shaped the work of the Tanztheater Wuppertal until her death in 2009, she created a an oeuvre that casts an unerring gaze at reality, while simultaneously giving us the courage to be true to our own wishes and desires. Her unique ensemble, rich with varied personalities, will continue to maintain these values in the years to come.