Pina

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Pina Bausch (1940 - 2009) was a German choreographer and dancer. Her work, Kontakthof (contact court), was first performed in 1978. Set in a dance hall, three walls, a window, chairs, a large curtain in the rear, the piece depicts the interactions between men and women striving for attention, asking to be seen and appreciated by each other and the audience. A women steps to the front of the stage and shows us her teeth. Men pick up women and bounce them up and down or examine their calves. Typical of Bausch's style, the movements are repetitive, multiplied by both speed and the number of performers enacting them. The interactions are odd and bizarre and always at a distance. Despite the constant touching and groping, the gazes being cast, the shoulders being caressed, any type of meaningful connection is lost. This piece has been consistently repeated and the bodies, while all the same age, have varied in generation with such performances. With such shifts come varying degrees of experience. Dancers influence the piece with their own understanding of love and human relationships and their own changing bodies. Here is a scene of Kontakthof, an excerpt from the Wim Wenders documentary, Pina, made in 2011 as a tribute to Bausch.

A year before this movie, a documentary was made chronicling the staging of Kontakthof using untrained German teenagers who had not heard of Pina Bausch before becoming a part of the ensemble. For this project, I projected this movie over my own untrained body and improvised movements, often in direction relation to the screen, in response to the video. I documented this process. The following is a condensed version of the experience.

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