Dancing Dreams: Pina Bausch On Film

May 29, 2010

A new documentary featuring the work of Pina Bausch is slowly starting to trickle onto screens in the US. A sensation at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, in Dancing Dreams Bausch selects 40 teenagers who had never even heard of her to be part of the dance performance Kontakthof. The film follows ten months of rehearsals and opening night, as the young dancers discover Bausch’s genius and their own bodies. From the Berlin Film Festival's catalog description:

The dance performance “Kontakthof” bears the unmistakable signature of Pina Bausch: it deals with forms of human contact, encounters between the sexes, and the search for love and tenderness, with all its attendant anxieties, yearnings and doubts. It is a dance about feelings, which always pose a big challenge – particularly for young people.

Teenagers from more than eleven schools in Wuppertal went on an emotional journey that lasted almost a year. Every Saturday, forty students aged between fourteen and eighteen years of age took part in rehearsals that were led by Bausch-dancers Jo-Ann Endicott and Bénédicte Billiet and intensely supervised by Pina Bausch herself.

Anne Linsel’s and Rainer Hoffmann’s film accompanies the rehearsal process that reaches its culmination at the opening night’s performance. We watch the teenagers making their first, clumsy attempts to transform the themes of the dance performance into motion and choreography and develop their own, individual ways of using their bodies to express themselves. They soon find themselves embroiled in a process which will lead them to experience enormous personal growth. The physical encounters – at times gentle and shy, but at others aggressive – unleash emotions among these teenagers that many of them experience on stage for the first time in their lives.

Again and again, Pina Bausch encouraged the young dancers “to be themselves”. But just beyond the movements of these young people, their fears, their feelings and their desires – in short, their personal ‘dancing dreams’ – become apparent. By the end of this process each one of them has not only grown up, they have also become more self-confident, independent individuals who are, moreover, able to counter prejudice with scepticism.

Pina Bausch died on 30 June, 2009. TANZTRÄUME preserves her image on film for the last time; it also contains the last on-camera interview with this world-famous dancer and choreographer.

Currently screening at:
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, To the Limit: Pina Bausch On Film (May 6-30)
Dance Camera West, Pina Bausch Program (June 12)

Tags: Pina Bausch, dance, film, documentary, Dancing Dreams, Tanzträume

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