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Monday 15th
posted by Morning Star in Arts

Sadler's Wells London EC1


STUNNING movements of rapid-fire expression, micro dramas subverted by curious wit, the tender mocking of human desire and the yearning of the human soul for liberty hit home in this, the last work by Pina Bausch before her death six years ago.

The choreographer created it with her Tanztheater Wuppertal while touring Chile and the production, imbued with the music culture and politics of that country, draws in part on the work of the legendary singer, songwriter and political activist Victor Jara who was brutally murdered by the Pinochet regime in 1973.

The physical and emotional commitment of the dancers, a rare spectacle of style and refinement, is both humbling and uplifting as the expressionistic movement sequences unfold, predictable only in their unpredictability.

This is rapid-fire and brilliant choreography as, in flashbacks and reprises, the action switches between suffering to the funny gameslovers play and, in moments of tranquility, a sense of collective solidarity.

The stage floor cracks open as the dancers move and, as the accelerating action takes hold, stones drop from dancers' hands and potatoes fly everywhere. Quixotic, quintessential Bausch.

Among the dancers, Dominique Mercy’s solo work is sumptuously commanding but it is Tsai-Chin Yu who embodies the production’s recurrent themes of subjugation, hope, yearning, submission and distress, while the quicksilver Pablo AranGimeno and Jonathan Fredrickson emphasise the lyricism of human expression and sheer exuberance so typical of Bausch's work.

Review by Peter Lindley