PRINT April 1990


Pina Baush's Palermo, Palermo

PINA BAUSCH’S TANZTHEATER WUPPERTAL rejects the notion of an ideal body. Operating outside esthetic imperative, against ideologies of the “proper use” of the body, the mother of European dance-theater violently reveals the transgressive power of movement. Every element of gesture finds expressive space in her world: elastic, infinite borders are restored to the body, which, freed from the role of mediator of significances, may outrageously fabricate emotions onstage. If archetypal tales are told in traditional ballet, if music is visualized through the inscription of pure signs in space in abstract neoclassical dance, if subtextual associations between expression and its form are constructed in historical modern dance, Bausch leaps over these conventions with unprecedented impudence. In her performances, everything that moves about onstage has an implicit dramatic autonomy, which is

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