Tanztheater Wuppertal Light Up The Stage Of Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier with PALERMO PALERMO, February 23-25

Eight years after their first appearance at Danse Danse, the 23 performers of Tanztheater Wuppertal take us on a journey through space and time.

By: Feb. 01, 2023
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Tanztheater Wuppertal Light Up The Stage Of Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier with PALERMO PALERMO, February 23-25

In the company's long-awaited return, the dancers of Tanztheater Wuppertal light up the stage of Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier with Palermo Palermo, February 23 to 25 at Place des Arts.

Eight years after their first appearance at Danse Danse, the 23 performers of Tanztheater Wuppertal take us on a journey through space and time: destination Palermo and the 1980s!

A pivotal piece in Tanztheater Wuppertal's repertoire, Palermo Palermo is one of a long series of danced portraits of cities choreographed by the late Pina Bausch. In 1989, shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German choreographer, then in residence in Palermo, imagined a collapsing brick wall, a metaphor for "the invisible walls that exist everywhere in the world, inside our heads."

Amid the rubble, male and female dancers with powerful individuality perform a succession of vignettes, in high heels or barefoot. A seismic tremor of unforgettable proportions, Palermo Palermo depicts a shaken humanity in a sensual and colourful Sicily, where the street is an ongoing performance... Today, a younger generation is taking up the torch alongside familiar members of the troupe to breathe new life into the many characters of this baroque and poetic creation.

With this new production of Palermo Palermo, Tanztheater Wuppertal invites audiences to reconnect with the distinctive artistic language of its founder, Pina Bausch, who combined speech, acting and singing with contemporary dance and influences from art forms around the world to create a new form of expression.

Palermo Palermo marks the pinnacle of this great artistic career, notable for the choreographer's sustained interest in everyday subjects (and for Peter Pabst's spectacular sets). Human beings, with their hopes, fears and uncertainties, are always at the core of her works. Bausch succeeded in adding new depth to these elements of daily life by merging them with the poetry of the stage, and through her dancers who, with their unique talents, show how people can experience muteness, exploitation, humiliation and dependency.

Pina Bausch was born in 1940 in Solingen and died in 2009 in Wuppertal. She received her dance training at the Folkwang School in Essen under Kurt Jooss, where she achieved technical excellence. Soon after the director of Wuppertal's theatres, Arno Wüstenhöfer, engaged her as choreographer, from autumn 1973, she renamed the ensemble the Tanztheater Wuppertal. Under this name, although controversial at the beginning, the company gradually achieved international recognition. Pina Bausch's blend of poetry and the everyday has had a decisive influence on the development of dance internationally. A pioneer of dance theatre, she received the world's most prestigious awards and honours, including the Deutscher Tanzpreis (German Dance Award), the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Dance (Venice Biennale) and the Kyoto Prize, cementing her reputation as one of the greatest choreographers of our time.

In 1973 Pina Bausch became artistic director of the Wuppertal Opera Ballet, an institution that she renamed Tanztheater Wuppertal two years later, instigating a veritable revolution with the advent of the dance-theatre movement. Based in an industrial city in the North rhine-Westphalia region, the company performs some thirty shows a year there, in addition to its many performances abroad. 29 of the 42 pieces in her repertoire are still performed, including Orpheus and Eurydice and The Rite of Spring, which is also performed by the Ballet de l'Opéra de paris. Characterized by soundtracks of eclectic music of all sorts, most of her pieces involve elaborate, often spectacular sets (giant rocks, waterfalls, a mountain of flowers, a field of carnations, hedges, a boat), created since 1980 by peter pabst. The costumes typical of the Bausch aesthetic include evening gowns, business suits and flowing robes.

The company currently numbers 34 dancers from 17 different countries. Three generations work together on the pieces. The older dancers pass on their roles to the younger ones, sharing the experience inscribed in their bodies. New works by promising young choreographers are gradually expanding the repertoire and carrying on the legacy of Pina Bausch. In 2018 the artists selected were Alan Lucien Øyen and Dimitris Papaioannou, followed in 2021 by Richard Siegal and Rainer Behr, and now by French choreographer Boris Charmatz.