Egyptian friezes unfrozen

1st November 2010 | Daily Life, Inspirations | 0 comments

To Sadler’s Wells to see the Tanztheater Wuppertal, Pina Bausch’s dance company. Sadly I never saw them while Pina Bausch was still alive (she died last year).

The audience was packed with dancers, or at least that was how I interpreted the fact that there were so many gorgeous people with regal posture, tiny waists and turned-out toes. Many of them were casually wearing stylish and unusual clothes. In front of us was a chap in a close-fitting black military jacket with silver braid and elegant grey fedora. Behind us was a tall, willowy girl with piled-up black hair and scary Halloween face makeup, so fully realised that I had to whisper to Bob not to faint when he turned around at the interval and saw her. This turned out to be good practice for what we saw when we travelled home on the tube. Innumerable young women on their way to Halloween parties had painted bleeding wounds and realistic vampire bites on their faces.

Pina Bausch’s choreography was interesting because it made me realise how much she had influenced other choreographers whose work I’ve enjoyed, notably Mark Morris. Her dance language was austere, angular and quirky, yet highly responsive to the gestures of the music. I often felt as though the dancers on Egyptian friezes or Greek pots had come to life and continued the kind of dancing shown on the pots.

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