Two of the world’s leading cultural organisations, Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican Centre are collaborating for the first time to present an unprecedented season of 10 works by one of the most influential choreographers in dance, Pina Bausch.

The month-long season of international co-productions performed by Tanztheater Wuppertal at Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican in summer 2012 marks a fitting celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic year’s global focus. Seven of the 10 works are UK Premieres. Tickets for the whole season of works are on sale from Monday 9 May 2011.

For Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012 Sadler’s Wells has, in association with Cultural Industry and the Barbican, with thanks to Wuppertal, North Rhine Westphalia and Arts Council England, commissioned the first ever continuous season of productions by the late Pina Bausch and her company. Running from 6 June to 9 July 2012, the season features 10 international co-productions exploring 10 global locations; India, Brazil, Palermo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Budapest, Istanbul, Santiago de Chile, Rome and Japan. Full listings details are below.

Embarked upon by Bausch in 1986, the landmark series of international co-productions were created at the invitation of specific global cities. Living in each city for a period of time, her renowned multinational company would then return to Wuppertal to create a new work inspired by their visit; a choreographic travelogue deeply informed by its host location.

Bausch described her approach and commitment to creating co-productions as, “almost all our pieces have been co-productions, evolved from the meeting of different cultures – whether in Hong Kong , Brazil , Budapest , Palermo , Japan or Istanbul . Getting to know unfamiliar customs, music and traditions led me to transform into dance what is unknown but is part of us all. Getting to know the unknown, sharing it, and experiencing it without fear.”

With their intricate, complex and stunning stage designs by Bausch’s longstanding collaborator Peter Pabst, featuring gigantic tree trunks evoking Californian Redwood forests (Nur Du, Los Angeles), a 20-foot-high hill of red silk flowers (Der Fenzterputzer, Hong Kong), and an entirely bricked up stage (Palermo, Palermo, Palermo), the works will be presented as part of the London 2012 Festival. Ruth McKenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad, has confirmed that this will be one of the major highlights of the cultural festival leading up to the sporting event. Six works will show at Sadler’s Wells and four at the Barbican.

Dominique Mercy and Robert Sturm, Co-Artistic Directors of Tanztheater Wuppertal comment “For all the dancers and members of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, the wonderful invitation to be part of the Cultural Olympiad 2012, is an amazing and outstanding homage to Pina Bausch and a great honour for all of us.”

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Chief Executive & Artistic Director, Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre, Barbican and Michael Morris, Director of Cultural Industry comment: “We are thrilled to be working together to realise World Cities, a hugely ambitious cultural event at a time when global attention will be focused on London. Pina Bausch’s work is truly Olympian in quality and scale and her legacy continues to influence the global artistic landscape. Pina loved our city and saw the world reflected in it. Her reflections on the world will now be gathered together for the first time in one city – 10 major works performed by her outstanding company in just one month.”

Pina Bausch was born in Solingen, 1940 and died in Wuppertal, 2009. She received her dance training at the Folkwang School in Essen under Kurt Jooss, where she achieved technical excellence. Soon after the director of Wuppertal ’s theatres Arno Wüstenhöfer engaged her as choreographer, from autumn 1973 she renamed the ensemble Tanztheater Wuppertal. Under this name, Bausch’s initially controversial fusion of radical theatre, surreal art, drama and danced body language, known as Tanztheater, gradually achieved international recognition for the company.

Her original approach to theatre and dance influenced the international development of dance decisively and inspired not only a generation of choreographers, but also theatre makers, visual artists and filmmakers. Awarded some of the greatest prizes and honours world-wide, Pina Bausch is one of the most significant choreographers of our time.

Since her death in 2009 the artistic directorship of Tanztheater Wuppertal has been taken over by Dominique Mercy and Robert Sturm. French-born Dominique Mercy joined Tanztheater Wuppertal as a dancer at its conception in 1973. Robert Sturm’s background is in dramaturgy and directing, and he was engaged by Pina Bausch in 2000 as artistic assistant and rehearsal director.

The international appetite for Pina Bausch’s work is as strong as ever. In 2010 the company’s intense international tour included Athens , Istanbul , Monaco , New York , Barcelona , London and Edinburgh International Festival. This year they will visit Hong Kong , Brazil , Portugal and Paris .

Sadler’s Wells first presented the work of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch in 1982. A 17 year absence followed before Bausch returned with her company in 1999 with Viktor, in 2002 with Masurca Fogo, and in 2005 with Nelken and Palermo, Palermo . In 2008 the company presented her seminal works, Café Müller and The Rite of Spring, followed by a unique performance at Sadler’s Wells Celebrates in November of the same year, marking 10 years since the theatre re-opened. In 2010 they presented the London premiere of the rarely performed Iphigenie auf Tauris.

In 2002 Tanztheater Wuppertal created Kontakthof (Ladies and Gentlemen over 65), a reworking of Bausch’s pioneering piece originally developed in 1978. It was performed at the Barbican that same year and returned there in 2010 in a poignant pairing with its later counterpart Kontakthof (Teenagers over 14).

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012

Commissioned by Sadler’s Wells in association with Cultural Industry and the Barbican. With thanks to Wuppertal, North Rhine Westphalia and Arts Council England

Release issued by: Barbican press office

LINKS

Sadler’s Wells website
Barbican website