“No, there was no hurricane that swept across the stage,
there were just … people performing
who moved differently then I knew
and who moved me as I had never been moved before.
After only a few moments I had a lump in my throat,
and after a few minutes of unbelieving amazement
I simply let go of my feelings
and cried unrestrainedly.
This had never happened to me before…
maybe in life, sometimes in the cinema,
but not when watching a rehearsed production,
let alone choreography.
This was not theatre, nor pantomime,
nor ballet and not at all opera.
Pina is, as you know,
the creator of a new art.
Dance theatre.” Wim Wenders Director of the film Pina.
What bullying harsh and so too beautiful ephemeral human moments, were captured in this original and multi dynamic 3D film about the German dancer and choreographer Philipina (Pina) Bausch
A company left both bereft and bewildered by her surreal death at the age of 68, after only a 5 day illness to cancer in 2009. This film is a special memorandum of the deeply thoughtful, spirited personality of Pina, through the eyes of her company. The beauty and special relationship between dancer and choreographer were intensified inside this company because they worked in progress beyond human relational difficulties, and lived for many years, day in day out, as a dance ‘family’. Many of the dancers had been under Pina’s direction for 20 or so years, they had grown together in Love and respect as individuals, as well as dancers in company under her Loving care.
A thoughtful lady of composure and of powerful words, She gently said to one dancer (who hid behind the others when notes were being given) “why do you look so scared of me, I have done nothing wrong to you” thus instantly breaking the barriers of fearsome awe, and encouraging and alleviating her dancer of shyness. Another time after a poor final rehearsal she remained completely silent, no notes, and then just before the premier performance said to the lead male dancer “don’t forget you are supposed to scare me”.
All her dancers were in awe of her presence both as a dancer, as a choreographer, and as a person. One stating “She danced as if she had a hole in her tummy, as if she had risen from the dead”. Her dance was not just about the contemporary moves, but inward emotion being expressed through the embodied self. Every part of self, right down to excruciating facial expressions, the way ones fear is shown in breath. The interior thumping pulse of arousal, visibly tangible in movement. Not a single inch of body left unposessed by emotion. She questioned her dancers “what are you longing for, where does all this yearning come from”? All dancers were encouraged to question and to ask themselves, above and beyond simply being “what was our responsibility, our honesty, even when we dance”. Another dancer breathes “You always felt more than just a human…….you were angels working with Pina”.
Parts of her dance characteristically and constantly repetitive, become soul carving. One senses the tensions between light and dark. The human intrinsic instinct, the will to Love to relate, never to be overpowered when manipulated by outside darker influences. Lemming like repetitions, zombies drawn comatose to uncontrollable pre-programmed repetitive action. Like waters returning to the ocean. Born of some compelling magnetic force beyond sense, intrinsic. Beyond oppression of all fascist outside influence. Driven from within, regardless, by supernatural command.
The results were breathtaking, unashamedly natural bodies of the earth, real, celebrated, old and young, petite and large, firm and soft, gentle and slamming. Whole. Beautiful gossamer purist femininity grounded to the humus. Earth stained flesh, blemished fully human. Fragility and strength combined, intertwined. Raped, weighted in emotion, grounded, and yet fully belonging to self, self God-given, God made, not denied fully being. Self. Whole. God.
With sets which fully expose ones senses to the elements, to the seasons. Autumn through a glass cube. Giant Icebergs, melting into lakes of life-giving water. Rain drenching and making breathless bodies beautiful, through translucent wet vibrant colours. Wuppertal Ariel railways, death and mountains, the clay, soil, the sky, skin, all were the choreographers canvas for her dancers to paint with their contemporary strokes. This film is a memorial of Pina’s expression, an astounding life through dance. A 3D master piece that makes the kings Road seem positively dull afterwards, although a little more springy underfoot.