A brief biography

Pina Bausch was director of the Tanztheater Wuppertal for over 35 years. During this time she made over 40 productions, many of which have travelled throughout the world.

Born in 1940 in Solingen, she began her dance studies at the age of 14 with Kurt Jooss at the Folkwang Hochschule, Essen. In 1983 she became director of the Folkwang Dance Studio, a position she shared with fellow choreographer Henriette Horn from 1999. Upon graduation she received a grant from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, which enabled her to continue her studies at the Juilliard School in New York, where her tutors included Antony Tudor. Upon completing her studies she joined New American Ballet - then directed by Tudor - at the Metropolitan Opera.

She returned to Germany in 1962, working as a soloist with Kurt Jooss at Folkwang-Ballet, and choreographed her first piece, Fragment in 1968. When Jooss retired the following year she was appointed Company Director. Her first connection with Wuppertal was in 1971, when she was invited to create an ensemble piece for the Wuppertal Ballet. Two years later she became director of Tanztheater Wuppertal.

During the 1980s Bausch began filmmaking. A 1982 collaboration with Federico Fellini resulted in And the Ship Goes. Between 1987 and 1990 she made her own film, The Complaint of the Empress. In 2001 she performed in Pedro Almodóvar's film Talk To Her, which featured excerpts from which featured excerpts from Café Müller and Masurca Fogo.

Recent new pieces include: Água (2001); Für die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen (2001); Nefés (2003); Ten Chi (2004); Rough Cut (2005); Vollmond (2006); Bamboo Blues (2007) and Sweet Mambo (2008).

Tanztheater Wuppertal have visited Sadler's Wells six times; performing 1980 and Kontakthof in 1982, Viktor in 1999, Masurca Fogo in 2002, Nelken and Palermo Palermo in 2005, Café Müller and The Rite of Spring in early 2008 and the Sadler's Wells 10th Anniversary Gala in November 2008.

Pina Bausch portrait

Coronavirus update: Sadler's Wells welcomes socially distanced audiences from 17 May, in line with the UK Government roadmap. Read more