Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch review – a swansong to make you swoon

Sadler’s Wells, London
Instead of raging battles of the sexes, the men are gallant and the women dance for sheer pleasure in the choreographer’s final piece, Como el Musguito …

There’s no mistaking the signature style of Pina Bausch in her final work, Como el Musguito …, developed in Chile as part of her World Cities series and premiered a fortnight before her death in 2009. The women wear sumptuous gowns, the men are in monochrome suits, and the piece unfolds as a collage of cameos circling themes of folly, absurdity, desire and disparate sexual dynamics. Yet if the look is familiar, the feel is strange, most noticeably in the relations between men and women. Out with mutual incomprehension and competitive powerplay, in with – it’s hard to believe – gallantry.

Typical is a scene where Fernando Suels Mendoza offers effusive compliments to each passing woman, which the women simply accept – not because they believe him, but because if compliments are to be had, they might as well enjoy them. Elsewhere, gentlemanly Damiano Ottavio Bigi vacates his chair for a gracious lady, and Anna Wehsarg playfully tosses her hand in the air, delighted that Mendoza catches it each time, covering it with courteous kisses. Couples walk arm in arm, and a woman dancing a rumba explains that she is living for the moment. It’s remarkably convivial.

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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