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Pina Bausch/Tanztheater Wuppertal

brooklyn academy of music

Set deep into the earth like hundreds of upside-down ziggurats, the breathtaking excavations at Trapani near Palermo were created by years and years of brick cutters excavating large golden blocks from its quarries. Indeed, when the cinder-block wall that entirely closed off the stage of the opera house in Pina Bausch’s Palermo, Palermo, 1990, fell backward in a cascade of masonry and dust, that town deep in the Mediterranean came back to me. Glorious, dark, and dappled with light that pours through rambling greenery, every piazza is a backdrop for the daily theater of Italian life. Church bells babble constantly, as in Bausch’s piece, and crumbling facades give way to more crumbling facades.

Though Bausch is known for her brilliant dance dramas and angst-driven characters who, despite their antipathy, can’t take their hands off one another, this three-hour work, commissioned for a festival

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