new york

Pina Bausch

brooklyn academy of music

While Pina Bausch’s work is consistently surprising, it is not altogether unpredictable. The four works seen here in their New York premieres—The Rite of Spring, 1975, Café Müller, 1978, Bluebeard, 1977, and 1980, 1980—all deal with the ancient motif of “Death and the maiden,” or the Persephone myth. In addition, all exhibit a Wagnerian leisure in making their points, and making them again and again, till all meaning the artist has access to has been wrung out of them; meanwhile, the intensity of concentration rises in an almost demonic arc. Still, in other ways the four works are entirely different. I am here describing 1980, a work that revives the Dada performance vocabulary and brings it to life with astonishing vigor.

Except for a low platform, the stage is stripped bare back to the rear wall of the theater and covered with sod and grass. The light is dim. A youth enters, sits on the

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