WAAPA’s dance tribute to Pina Bausch an international first

Dance lovers are in for an unprecedented treat this November when WAAPA pays homage to the world-renowned choreographer Pina Bausch in its final dance season for the year, Icon: An Extraordinary Event.

In an international coup, Icon marks the first time that Bausch’s Tannhäuser Bacchanal will be performed outside of Germany. For local audiences, this is also the first time that a Pina Bausch work will be performed in Perth.

Pina Bausch, who died in 2009, was one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century. Her immense influence on generations of dance makers and performers around the world endures through her internationally acclaimed dance-theatre company, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.

She famously once said, “I am not interested in how people move, but in what moves them.” In rehearsals, Bausch provoked her dancers into movement by asking them to delve into their past experiences. The innovative, expressive choreography that came out of this intense process was staged with arresting sound design and unconventional sets.

Now, with support from the Minderoo Foundation, WAAPA is delighted to be bringing two stagers of the Pina Bausch Foundation, both former dancers in Tanztheater Wuppertal, to collaborate with WAAPA’s students to remount Bausch’s Tannhäuser Bacchanal.

Marigia Maggipinto and Ophelia Young will share their expert knowledge of Bausch’s choreography with the dance students and LINK, WAAPA’s graduate dance company, to bring this classic work to the stage of the Geoff Gibbs Theatre.

Widely considered to be the precursor to Bausch’s iconic The Rite of Spring, Tannhäuser Bacchanal features 23 dancers on stage performing to Wagner’s romantic, restless music.

The other two dance works on the Icon program are remounts of works by Australian dance legend Meryl Tankard and WAAPA’s very own Michael Whaites, Artistic Director of LINK Dance Company.

Both these acclaimed choreographers were dancers in the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. Tankard was a company member from 1978 to 1984, while Whaites spent five years in the company from 1995.

Tankard’s work Chants de Mariage, remounted with assistance from award-winning local choreographer Paige Gordon, features an all-female cast in an exploration of ritual, secrets, deception and sacred vows.

Whaites created Things That Remain, a gentle piece devised around nostalgia and remembrance, soon after Bausch’s passing.

Icon: An Extraordinary Event, with choreography by Pina Bausch, Meryl Tankard and Michael Whaites, runs from 11-17 November in the Geoff Gibbs Theatre.  

OIP Staff, Photo by Ulli Weiss © Pina Bausch Foundation.

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