Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: Kontakthof review – the miseries of mating | Stage


It was 40 years ago that choreographer Pina Bausch first brought Kontakthof to London (it was made in 1978) and yet its subject matter hasn’t aged a bit. Its themes centre on the endless miseries of mating, gender wars and sexual mores as well as the irritations, humiliations and pain we inflict on each other in our struggle to connect and make physical contact. The pursuit, judgment and abuse of women is ever present, too.

The late Bausch was sharp in her commentary and clever in her execution. A cast of 22 populate a dull dance hall, in suits and brightly coloured silk dresses and stilettos. To the gramophone crackle of a 1930s tango, they offer themselves up for examination – teeth, face, posture – and proceed in formation across the stage, knowingly on display.

Bausch exposes private actions under stark lights, and gives physical form to psychological needling, having couples bend each other’s fingers back, tug earlobes or flick noses. But she also shows why we go to the trouble: a man holds up his hands, then a woman slips her face in between them, perfectly fitting the gap like Cinderella’s slipper.

Playfully teasing … Emma Barrowman in Kontakthof at Sadler’s Wells, London.
Playfully teasing … Emma Barrowman in Kontakthof at Sadler’s Wells, London. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/the Guardian

Kontakthof has bitterness, regret, moments of tenderness and brutality, but plenty of humour, too. The problem is, at three hours long, Bausch never knew when to stop. For some, that’s the point. Don’t humans go on repeating their strange behaviour endlessly year after year? Much like Peter Jackson’s epic Beatles doc Get Back, arguably you have to become immersed in the world, and from repeated riffs emerge something simple, brilliant and true. Alternatively, you could say Bausch was just terrible at killing her darlings.

In 2010, Tanztheater Wuppertal performed Kontakthof in London with different casts: one made up of teenagers, one of dancers over 65, and that was revelatory, seeing the anxieties and excitement of youthful encounters, and unseen intimacies of older people. This original version is lacking by comparison, even though the cast is strong, a rich gathering of individuals, with Canadian Emma Barrowman by turns sexy, cutesy, dominant and playfully teasing in the central role.

Source link

Share post:



More like this

10 Best Cards For Iron Man, Ranked

After debuting on December 2, 2022, avid...

Priyanka Chopra Wears Jean Shorts and Crop-Top Outfit

Trendy summer styles come and go, but Priyanka...

The Best Water-Type Pokémon in Scarlet and Violet

There are a lot of Water-type Pokémon in...

Seth Rogen Will Convince You to Buy a Velvet Suit

Jordan ClarksonTony Soprano vibes, in the best possible...