1 Jul 2009

Goodbye Pina Bausch

One of the greatest dancers in dance history; a sincere dancer who devoted every minute of her life to her beloved dance. Pina Bausch is not only a dancer. She is a real artist, a philosopher, and a saint.

It is her passion for life that brings a strong humanist concern to her dance. This humanist concern, whether it is a concern about human emotions or a concern about the contemporary social disorders, is embedded in every gesture and movement of her dance, and therefore the viceral expressions of her body (and the bodies of her dancers) transforms classical balletic body - mechanical bodies with all sorts of techniques - into a real human body that is full of emotions and consciousness.

It is the rediscovery of what human body should be that makes her dance so beautiful and powerful. These bodies are no longer objects that are used to show techniques but lived human beings who tell stories to their audiences. Through the dancer's use of body, different emotions and consciousness are expressed. And through the reorginzation of these emotions and consciousness, a story is presented in front of the eyes of every spectator. We all agree that using only bodies, instead of using any known languages, to tell stories is difficult. Bausch was such a great choreographer who was able to tell a story beautifully with only the bodies of her dancers.

Using body to tell a story about us, about our world, differentiates her dance from our normal perception of dance. Dance ceases to be a form with a simple storyline that is always about something unreal, about princes and princesses. Showing bodies with difficult techniques, like a circus, stops being the primary concern of dance; however, this does not mean that her dance lacks any techniques. Thus, her dance cannot be called dance anymore because such an old-fashioned concept of dance is not what she presented us. It is Tanztheater, a new form of dance. The style of Tanztheater has influenced many choreographers all over the world, including another world-famous dance group, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre.

A story is told and the conscious bodies are full of emotional power. It is the combination of these two distinct characteristics that draw the audience to attend the performances. The performance is about us, and what we see and feel is what we truly experience in real life. Nothing is better than something we experience that is so vivid that touches our deepest emotions. We know it is only dance but we cannot help outselves crying and laughing because the power of these dancers' bodies overwhelms us.

How sad that Pina Bausch left us so early. Thank you for giving us so many great dances, and thank you for giving us Tanztheater.

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