‘On the Mountain a Cry Was Heard.’ by Pina Bausch was just amazing to watch last night.
I studied Pina Bausch, a contemporary choreographer, at A level and then with a lot more depth when I was at university. She is a well respected choreographer in the dance world and I fell in love with her when I learnt about her work and her as a person. I devised a piece about her in my third year of dance training and was given a 1st for it. Something that I will never forget and this is why seeing her work, at her theatre was so important to me last night.
It was a last minute buy and I was so lucky to get the ticket I did as it was one of the last tickets to be available. I was going to spend the day in Wuppertal, but there wasn’t really much there so I took the train at around 3pm. It only cost me €29.50 for a return ticket which wasn’t so bad really!
It was absolutely freezing when I got there, so I was grateful for my big Jack Wolfskin coat to say the least. The doors opened at 6:30pm and in I went with a smile like I’d slept with a coat hanger in my mouth!
I got my programme which was only €2.50! A programme for this type of show in the UK would be at least £10!
This is the front of the programme and my ticket 🙂
Like any true Pina choreography it was filled with repetition, exhausted dancers, moments of joy juxtaposed with moments of complete horror. And this is why I love it. It’s unlike any kind of choreographer I know. She sets herself apart from many other modern choreographers too. I love the old music playing like it’s on a crackly wireless to a brass band walking on, sitting down and playing their music.
This piece was highlighting many ways in which people interact with each other. We had groups of men running after this woman and this man and forcing them to kiss. Over and over again. And they weren’t running in a pretend way, these dancers were running like their lives depended on it. They fell over and they got back up and tried to get away or tried to catch the said man or woman. This was repeated and shown again at the end and you could really hear them all gasping for breath. You then had two girls, trying to flirt with an audience member whilst dressed in 1950’s dresses and performing kart wheels to impress the man/woman in the audience.
One highlight for me was the gentlemen that you see on the poster ^^^, he came on with a swimming cap, a piece of elastic squashing his nose to one side (which he kept on for the whole performance! ouch!) , and a small pair of pants (yes, you could see his willy!). He stood in one position, blowing up balloons that he had pulled from his pants until they popped. He did this 7 or 8 times. Then to the balloons he had blown up and kept; he sat on them to of course make them POP! I must have jumped out of my skin multiple times! I think the people behind me had a little chuckle to themselves about that haha.
Another main highlight for me was a piece involving two older gentlemen, dressed in suits. One man performing a motif trying to grasp for anything he could get his hands on, until the other man made it so that he was the subject the man grasped for. His shoulder. This then turned into a little piece of these two older gentlemen dancing together linked arm in arm. It was so beautiful and touching. You could make up in your mind what kind of relationship they were to each other, at times I felt they were lovers and at other times I felt they were just friends looking for comfort and interaction. It was so loving until at the end the guy suddenly breaks away, perform his motif again and searches for other things to reach out for, leaving the other man standing there. It spoke volumes and was very sad to watch.
It was exactly like I had imagined it would be and more. It is so much better watching a live performance then it is watching it on a screen. I gave my second standing ovation last night as well. Something I don’t give out willy nilly! I wasn’t going to stand up, but actually the limits that these dancers pushed themselves too and the performance they gave, they deserved it.
I found an article written back in 1985 and published by the New York Times about this piece I went to see last night. Please take a read as I think it will offer you more of an insight into it then I can..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WLazG0bQPI on 28th February 2016.
This is a clip from another Bausch piece called Cafe Muller. In this short clip you get a feel for the repetition I have mentioned and the energy it takes from the dancers included. These three members here were also in last nights performance. The man manipulating the woman is the man who pulled balloons out of his pants haha!!
It was just an amazing experience to be there and to actually watch her company, in their resident theatre, what a dream come true! It was the best €47 I have ever spent!
Pina Bausch 1940-2009