Unwrapping Humanity

Many things happened since she appeared on the stage of the Tanztheater Wuppertal for the first time in 1973, and ever since then, the metamorphosis of dance has continued unfazed, undefinable, irrepressible. Now, 9 years after her death, we are called to look back on these times of creative dearth, only to find out that nothing has remained the same, and that everything is touched by the same suffused magma that is Art.

 

Greek Abstract

Πολλά πράγματα συνέβησαν από τότε που εμφανίστηκε στη σκηνή του Tanztheater Wuppertal για πρώτη φορά το 1973, και από τότε η μεταμόρφωση του χορού συνέχισε ατάραχη, ακαθόριστη, ανεξέλεγκτη. Τώρα, 9 χρόνια μετά το θάνατό της, καλούμαστε να κοιτάξουμε πίσω σε αυτούς τους χρόνους δημιουργικής έλλειψης, μόνο για να διαπιστώσουμε ότι τίποτα δεν έχει παραμείνει το ίδιο και ότι όλα αγγίζονται από το ίδιο υπόγειο μάγμα που είναι η Τέχνη.

[riduci]
Italian Abstract

Molto è cambiato da quando fece la sua prima apparizione sul palcoscenico del Tanztheater Wuppertal nel 1973 e da allora, la metamorfosi della danza è proseguita indisturbata, indefinita e irrefrenabile. Oggi, a nove anni dalla sua morte, siamo chiamati a gettare lo sguardo su questi tempi di penuria creativa per scoprire che nulla è rimasto uguale e che tutto è toccato da quel magma soffuso che è l’Arte.

[riduci]

 

«Nine years after the sudden loss of the legendary German choreographer Pina Bausch, the artistic director of Tanztheater Wuppertal for its 2017-18 season, Adolphe Binder, chose to invite – for the first time ever – an artist from beyond the company to choreograph a full length piece for its superlative ensemble». This is the breeding ground on which Greek choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou’s latest creation grew and bloomed: Since She (“Seit sie”), a work for Wuppertal Tanztheater Pina Bausch.

Continuing his recent aesthetic parabola – which began with the trilogy of Primal Matter, Still Life and The Great Tamer – the creator of the Edafos Dance Theatre answered with enthusiasm to the onerous task of paying homage to one of the biggest names in dance theatre today, majestically blending his own peculiar style with the endless flow of life embedded in Bausch’s every movement. «Papaioannou dug the chairs of Café Müller from out the Tanztheater Wuppertal storerooms, made them into a bridge, turned them upside down and created a tribute to the women and men who insist on the playfulness of life even as it grinds them down – a tribute that is as irreverent as it is deeply adoring towards the great Pina».

Chairs are but the basis, black stilts standing out from the ground, uniting two worlds separated only by time. The pliable and agile bodies of the performers harmonize perfectly with Papaioannou’s visions, bringing onto the stage (and thus into reality) the stuff dreams are made of. Loyal to his own artistic path, the Greek choreographer fills the canvas of the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens with carefully pondered brush strokes that softly unsnarl the circularity of his narration – or lack thereof. Making full use of all the techniques honed by the late Pina, and merging them with his own dissecting philosophy, Papaioannou pushes the human body to the fore, seeing it as a universe unto itself, and focuses on the development through the ages of the eternal collision between men and women, dreams and nightmares.

«Dance must be rooted somewhere other than technique, which follows existing forms. Technique is important but only as a starting point. We can express some things with words, others via the body. But there are moments where we are left speechless, completely lost and disoriented, not knowing what to do. This is where dance begins», purports Pina, and confirms Papaioannou, excavating with his painterly eye into the enigmatic absurdity of our existence and finding a perfect mean of representation of the unconscious in the human body. Starting from the Ancient Greek Classical tradition that still runs wild into his veins and slowly moving forward through time and cultures, Since She tries to give an overall picture of the internal and external struggle of the body, seen as a battleground where flesh and soul fight for supremacy against themselves and against society as a whole.

Papaioannou’s effort to oppose the modern anaesthesia of the look floods the stage with symmetry and balanced proportions, with makers of men and destroyers of women, with segmented legs and arms, with violent accelerations and tender fears, with withered bodies and blooming beauties, with frivolous attentions to the fleeting present and stubborn disregard of the foreboding past, with sleepwalkers, freaks, raw materials, humour, a relentless Sisyphus and an unscrupulous man-eater, everything moving in the same direction, everything eternally returning to the same point, the beginning and the end of it all: the body.

And it is in this fratricide conflict between spirit and skin, this rebellious unsticking of the flesh, that poetry becomes tangible only to suffer the wound of a cut, of a mutating movement, of an endless and slow fall into disgrace. Dimitris Papaioannou, one of the most interesting and justly praised voices of the Greek contemporary scene, seems to recognize the dismay related to the dilution of the boundaries of the “I” within the unknown dimension of time, and calls his audience to make a decision: whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to act as flâneurs in this frantic synchronous modernity or to take arms against the indifference of velocity and stop in front of the humanity of other people.

 

The show was played at
Onassis Cultural Centre
Syngrou Avenue 107 – Athens
from Tuesday 18 to Friday 21 December 2018
20.30

the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch presents
New Piece I – Since She
conceived, visualized and directed by Dimitris Papaioannou

set design Tina Tzoka
costume design Thanos Papastergiou
lighting design Fernando Jacon, Stephanos Droussiotis
sound design Thanasis Deligiannis
music supervision Thanasis Deligiannis, Stephanos Droussiotis
artistic consultants Tina Papanikolaou, Stephanos Droussiotis
rehearsal director Barbara Kaufmann
sculptor Nectarios Dionysatos
collaboration costumes Rike Zöllner
artistic photography Julian Mommert

with Ruth Amarante, Michael Carter, Ditta Miranda Jasjfi, Scott Jennings, Milan Kampfer, Blanca Noguerol Ramírez, Breanna O’Mara, Franko Schmidt, Azusa Seyama, Ekaterina Shushakova, Julie Anne Stanzak, Oleg Stepanov, Julian Stierle, Michael Strecker, Tsai-Wei Tien, Ophelia Young

music Christos Constantinou, Richard Wagner, Charles Ives, Johann Sebastian Bach, Aram Khachaturian, Gustav Mahler, Gija Kantscheli, Marika Papagkika, Wayne King, Leo Rapitis, Manos Achalinotopoulos, Sergei Prokofiev, Giuseppe Verdi, Tom Waits

produced by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
co-produced by Théâtre de la Ville – Paris / La Villette, Paris; Sadler’s Wells, London; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; Onassis Stegi
supported by Kunststiftung NRW

Dimitris Papaioannou is supported by
MEGARON – THE ATHENS CONCERT HALL

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
founder Pina Bausch
designated general and artistic director Bettina Wagner-Bergelt
designated general and managing director Roger Christmann

Tour Team
production manager Robert Sturm
technical director Jörg Ramershoven
lighting director Fernando Jacon
lightboard programmer Falko Das Gupta*
lighting Peter Bellinghausen
follow spotter Kerstin Hard*, Lars Priesack*
sound Andreas Eisenschneider, Karsten Fischer
stage manager Andreas Deutz
stage technicians Dietrich Röder, Martin Winterscheidt, Benjamin Greifenberg*
props and merchandising Gökhan Mihci*
wardrobe Andreas Maier, Ulrike Schneider
ballet master Mathilde van den Meerendonck*
physiotherapist Bernd-Uwe Marszan
personal assistant to managing director Sabine Hesseling

*guest

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