october 22, 2012
pina bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal: an army of limb-y creatures
in poetry, we try to distinguish between the scenario and the about-ness of a poem, and often begin our discussions by identifying what is OCCURRING and what is BEING SAID.
what OCCURS in …como el musguito en la piedra, ay, si si si… is perhaps a deranged dinner party on an iceberg.
what is BEING SAID feels limitless. the work explores relationships (and within those, vulnerability, aggression, teasing, loss, longing, flirtation…), ideas of beauty and presentation (i can’t stop thinking about the woman applying makeup while the man pours out a bottle of water over her head), the joy of movement itself (remember in the movie PINA when that one man does the movement during the piece with the rock and then everyone joins in?)…and more.
the dancing is incredible. many of the performers have arms like pina’s, which most closely remind me of uliana lopatkina‘s. there’s something so subtle about the muscular control that allows them to be perfectly placed and articulated, yet flowing. it’s beautiful to watch.
this piece felt like a poem in a lot of ways; or maybe that’s just the way i’m “reading” it. i’m considering its structure (multiple short stanzas, some only one line), its images (some i think we are meant to take literally, others are fantastically exaggerated or abstracted), its colors and spatial arrangements…and of course, there’s the text itself, some of which is highly lyrical (and at least one line of which is borrowed from an existing poem by lorca).
i am fascinated by this piece of dance writing by claudia la rocco, which continues the melding of roles of choreographer/poet/critic. it will not surprise you to know that i am curious about how these three voices can share a task.
what is the role of the critic, in your eyes? do you want to be reminded of what you saw, or do you want to hear someone else’s opinion? do you want context? is the purveying of contextual information the job of the presenting venue, the choreographer, the critic, or someone else? without doing any research, what would you guess a dance scholar does? what are ways in which reading dance criticism has helped you or not helped you to understand someone else’s work?