Friday, December 30, 2011

Movies | "Pina": Life as Dance

Dance as language or celebration of movement is not new and there are countless movies on dance. So I am wondering and trying to answer what made the movie “Pina” so special and memorable. Pina” is a 3d film/documentary of several performances of the late Pina Bausch “Tanztheater” The director Wim Wenders is one of the most profound storytellers of cinema and in his movies images tell stories as much as words. In “Pina” Wenders’ visual poetry makes compelling use of the 3d format. Not new, as 3d movies bring space to a 2d flat medium, the projection screen; often the architectural features of sets —thinking of the other remarkable feel good 3d movie “Hugo” are greatly enhanced by the 3d technology. But in “Pina” besides the set is the movement of the dancers’ bodies through space which becomes quite compelling experience for the viewers. From the simplest step to the most acrobatic jumps and falls the viewers feel surrounded by the energy of the larger than life dancer’s bodies, often emphasized by the lighting.
And of course Pina Bausch’ choreography makes the visual story captivating. Her work is defined a contemporary form of Tanztheater ("dance theatre"), the expressionist dance developed in Germany in the 1920s. The vocabulary is based on movement as expression, in contrast with ballet or other structured forms of dance, leading to a fusion between dramatic and rhythmic movement. The use of props is another important element of the performance: the dancers interact with chairs, sand, ropes, veils, water almost as extension of their body. Beauty often derived from the lyrical abstraction/presentation of otherwise ordinary objects or simple movements of daily life. In Pina dance is a component of daily life, as the set design goes beyond the stage to expand in a wider context of real places, either urban or landscape, offer the set. Dancers perform in the Schwebebahn (floating tram) of Wuppertal or in highways; any place can offer a pretest to express “joie de vivre” or any other feeling —quoting Matisse another visual artist who was intrigued by “la danse” as expression.

The story is also told through a few words from the dancers of Pina’s Wuppertal Tanztheater: besides their interaction with the charismatic choreographer, they reveal their life in a dance company as a greater community —perhaps utopian. The dancers span different generations making a statement that dance, at least in Pina’s world, is ageless.

And beauty and celebration of life can be found and expressed everywhere.
dance dance otherwise we are lost