Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch will close this weekend after two weeks of sold out performances (September 14 – 23) at BAM. And for this run, long after Bausch’s death, the program offered two of Bausch’s iconic works: Café Müller (1978) and The Rite of Spring (1975), both were part of the company’s 1st season at BAM in 1984 that marked their introduction to New York. Bausch, the sole choreographer for the company, died in 2009. In a sense, this was a celebration of the continued power of Bausch. For sure the program showcased a Tanzetheater Wuppertal staple, performers ranging in age from the 20s to 60s, which the new Intendant and Artistic Director, Adolphe Binder promises to keep this going, and like the veteran dancers in Café Müller, the audience was drawn into a Baushean dreamlike state, and time stopped. Ghost-walking through upturned chairs and tables in a ransacked café, after closing hours, six bodies crash in and out of doors and crevices, each with storied encounters, both synchronously and asynchronously. Throughout, Azusa Seyama and Scott Jennings are either kissing or madly slamming into walls, while a skittish Nazareth Panadero punctuates the happenings with fast entrance and exits. Michael Strecker and Pau Aran Gimeno’s humor was balanced by Helena Pikon’s lovely offering of Bauschian swirls and dips, arms and legs caress the air, and bodies sweep through the space to give breath to their drama-filled world. Café Müller is an autobiographical work set in a café which resembled the restaurant that Bausch’s parents owned when she was very young. The quiet of Café Müller was paired with Bausch’s raw and driving The Rite of Spring prompted by Igor Stravinsky’s music of the same name. In making the work, Bausch wondered out loud, “There is so much fear in it… [and asked] how would it be to dance knowing you would have to die?” Joined by a cast of 35, Tsai-Chi Yu, company member since 2008 who worked with Bausch for just one year before her death, was the one who would die; dancing the role of the “Chosen One.” Bausch’s Rite begins on a stage filled with sodden dirt, and the costumes were just skimpy enough to hold the dirt from their thrashing, digging and rolling. The mostly newer and some younger members of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch were intoxicating from beginning to end. They are: Olivia Tarish Ancona, Pau Aran Gimeno, Emma Barrowman, Astrid Boons, Damiano Ottavio Bigi, Michael Carter, Moonsuk Choi, Leonor Clary, Cagdas Ermis, Silvia Farias Heredia, Jonathan Fredrickson, Scott Jennings Milan Kampfer, Mariko Kida, Yosuke Kusano, Chen Wei Lee, Douglas Letheren, Raymond Liew Jin Pin, Chiara Mezzadri, Jan Mollmer, Blanca Noguerol Ramirez, Breanna O’Mara, Yoann Rifosta, Azusa Seyama, Ekaterina Shushakova, Oleg Stepanov, Julian Stierie, Charlotte Virgile, Stephanie Troyak, Tsai-Wei Tien, Paul White, Simon Wolant, Chih-I Wu, Ophelia Young and Ghih-Ming Yu.
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member at The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."