Pina Bausch - Dance For Your Life


20120604Recorded with dancers in Pina Bausch's Tanztheater company in Wuppertal, former lead dancer for the Royal Ballet, Deborah Bull, pays tribute to this extraordinary artist.

Bausch's subject is the relationship between men and women, which is played out in all her pieces. Her dancers, who break any conventional rules about age and shape, actively share in the creation of the choreography - bringing their life experiences, memories and personalities to the dance.

Each of the performances has the capacity to provoke immense, powerful and individual responses. There's no single narrative in each piece; it's more like a sequence of captured moments, close ups and sometimes lucid, sometimes inexplicable enactments of life.

Tanztheater, literally, means Dance Theatre. It's a hybrid or a genre that slips between the definitions and breaks down the formal boundaries between different arts.

The raw, expressionistic movements, often so extreme, pose open questions about culpability, moral responsibility and humanity's dark side. For all the intensity though, she incorporates humour - her dancers will leave the stage and offer the audience jam sandwiches, cups of tea, or ask someone in the front row if they are in love.

Pina Bausch alongside other German artists and performers, including her mentor Kurt Joos, also addressed the aftermath of war on a profound level, asking again and again what it is to be human.

With Fiona Shaw, Antony Gormley, Michael Morris, Wim Wenders, Judith Mackrell and principal dancers from the Company - Dominique Mercy, Julie Shanahan, Julie Anne Stanzak and Eddie Martinez

Producer: Kate Bland

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.