Monthly Archives: October 2014

Writing about dance : Pina

It was a long time back that I watched Wim Wenders’ film PIna on the late German choreographer Pina Bausch (1940-2009) who created new vocabulary of dance through her creations at Wuppertal TanzTheater.  Inspite of it being so long back, and I have seen several performances before that and ever since, the images of Pina’s choreographic creations refuse to fade away from my memory and mind. The human stories that she evokes and that are performed so beautifully by her dancers, leave lasting impressions on one’s mind, making one slowly realize that any movement, even one performed with apparent ease, can possess a quality of enormity and terrific meaning.

Pina Bausch, dancer and choreographer

Pina Bausch, dancer and choreographer

Here is an excerpt of one of Pina’s creations Le Sacre du Printemps which was first performed in 1975, to t Igor Stravinsky’s orchestral composition.
Before you watch it though, it would be great if you read this small review written in 1997 by Nadine Meisner (for The Times, London), that so beautifully ekes out the physicality of the performance, almost bringing the dancers to life through her words. Writing about dance is indeed an art.

The women stand hunched and shuddery, near naked in flimsy beige shifts which they draw up with childish, ungainly immodesty. They are gripped by terror because they know one of them will be the sacrificial victim to mark the end of winter – the Chosen One who dances to the death. The red dress she will wear is passed among them, a rag both fearful and fascinating. They huddle together for comfort, then disintegrate into panic-stricken scurries as destiny stirs under the surface. And when a woman is chosen (Aurelie Dupont) by the male leader, the music briefly unleashes the colossal power of its drums, like the cracking of the Russian ice in spring. It signals the release of pent-up sexual longing, the men and women flying like shards into each other’s arms.

What makes Bausch’s Rite so extraordinary is the balance between visceral realism and intervals of vivid, orchestrated geometry: the phalanxes of unison dance, the circle of dancers revolving with stately vastness to the music slow’s section, like the cycle of the seasons, like life. And then there are Bausch’s emotional images: the crowd waiting before the victim like spectators at a bullfight; the girl’s frozen terror as she is forced to walk by the man, who pushes her, half holding her up, her feet resisting hopelessly against the loose soil.

Nadine Meisner
The Times (London)
18 June 1997

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Filed under Dance, Stuff I like

The day after

This is an attempt at a poem about the day after something significant or insignificant.
Its as yet incomplete and am not even sure if is at all meant to be one single poem.

The day after

The day after the night
when the first raindrops fell
everyone saw that the drops had
placed themselves gingerly on tips of green leaves,
and on the edges of crisp blades of grass.
One had arranged itself on the spot on the car windshield
so that when they looked from the front
it made look like a brilliant luminous diamond
had etched itself on the crease of her smile.

The day after their examinations ended
the excited kids woke up far too early
although they had decided that they would sleep till noon.
They made plans about all the candies they would eat
all the games they would play and all the films they would watch.
But by eve they had split into factions of Iago and Othello
and thus began the trysts of adolesence that weren’t resolved
until they had children of their own.

The day after the road was fixed
everyone still walked as if the road was not fixed.
They drove around the ghosts of potholes
and stepped aside from non-existent pits.

The day after she first spent the night at his
she woke up forgetting this very fact
because she had dreamt very realistically
that the war had ended and that her dad
had returned.

The day after she first spent the night at his
he stopped kissing her and it broke her heart
while his was seized by fear
because the day after
she first spent the night at his
he realized that he liked men.

The day after their friend died
they woke up raw with dry eyes
grieving at their inability to weep
for ther tears did no justice to their sadness.

The day after the war ended
the soldiers packed up their rifles
and retraced their tanks
but had forgotten to make the
Ivorian child forget how to use a gun.

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Filed under Literature, Poetry, Thoughts/ Ideas, World