Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch at Sadler’s Wells

© Ulli Weiss

The late great Pina Bausch is a legend of contemporary dance. Her work is renowned for having changed the scope of what we consider ‘dance’, and is so individual it is almost a genre in its own right. So how does one review a Pina Bausch piece and do it justice? In fact, how does someone born almost a decade after the creation of 1980 even begin to respond to the piece?

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: 1980

I’m going to be honest – I had a tough time getting my first experience of Pina Bausch straight, and I am still far from having her ‘sussed’, but, despite it contradicting almost every expectation I had, I thoroughly enjoyed 1980. It took a while to get into it. No, it took a while to suss out that if I waited for the piece to ‘get started’ I would miss it. Of course it’s not all action-packed, it’s 3 hours 35 minutes long! The beauty of the piece was not so much in aesthetic beauty or stunning high-octane choreography (though it did have moments of both), but in it’s humanity. I really felt like I got to know the characters on stage. And, once I’d warmed to them (and their quirks) I found them absolutely hilarious. There aren’t many “dance” pieces you could claim are funny, because your average dance piece doesn’t tend to develop characters like Pina Bausch does here. 1980 was completely different from anything I’ve seen in the past, and I loved it.

Click on the link in the title to read my full review.

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