Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch's Danzon

Production held in Zellerbach Hall

Legendary choreographer Pina Bausch’s Danzon made its only US stop at Zellerbach Hall. Pina Bausch was a famous German choreographer who was associated with German Expressionist dance, called Tanztheater. She had her own unique style of composition, blending movement with speech, song, and visual images that made her both innovative and a leader in her field. Her company, Tanztheataer Wuppertal Pina Bausch, rebirthed her Danzon work after her 2009 death and finally brought it to Berkeley.

Definitely unconventional

Danzon, meaning Cuban dance, is a modern piece that depicts humanity’s journey through life. It includes being in the womb, transitions to adulthood, exploring sexuality, courtship, and death. The movements were fresh, repetitive, ethnic, yet classical in their Cuban form. The production was entirely unconventional, humorous, and made you think outside the box. It gave a whole new perspective on 20th century life through Pina Bausch’s eyes, and made the audience examine their own phases in life.

Beautiful silhouettes were apparent in their costumes

The piece consisted of dancers who sat with the audience, climbed the steps toward the audience, smoked a cigarette on stage, and ran entirely naked behind a see-through screen. Its props consisted of simple, yet prominent objects such as bathtubs, a seesaw, campsite, and haystack that attracted the viewers’ attention. The set was bare minimal to help the props stand out more against the dark floor and mainly used screens to depict environments and moods. The lighting was stripped to bare minimal qualities as well, mostly having spotlights on the various dancers onstage. The piece was very unorthodox, smart, and engaging as a whole. What is more, the costumes were relatable to everyday wear, yet danceable and elegant with their shimmery pastels, loose draping, mostly muted colors, and flowery prints, enhancing the dancers’ silhouettes. They were adaptable to the theme of a life’s journey and reflected different life transitions and events accurately. They were sensuously rich and helped enliven the bold piece.

Dooee Kim
Assistant Blog Editor

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