Pina Bausch (1940-2009) is one of the great artists of the 20th century, creating around fifty ballets and operas, establishing a company in Wuppertal and shaping a choreographic style known as tanztheater (dance theatre). One of her masterpieces is Kontakthof, a universal piece that has transcended time since it premiered in 1978. In a large municipal hall filled with chairs, women in coloured satin dresses and men in sharp suits congregate for a dance. All dressed to the nines, they show themselves off in their best light to seduce. Their parade reveals male-female relationships, rivalries and jealousies, erotic desire and disgust, an unquenchable desire for tenderness, protection and attention, distress and solitude, gentleness and violence in a series of scenes regulated like a mechanism that sometimes stumbles, sometimes gets carried away. Ferocious but empathetic, old-fashioned and still current, Kontakthof leaves an indelible mark on your memory like a bittersweet ritornello continually retracing its steps.
Kontakthof with seniors
It was an idea that encapsulates the genius of Pina Bausch: and, as with all great innovators, her brainwave was a spark so simply ignited, yet one that has blazed into an enduring flame. In the final year of the last Millennium, Bausch took a work she had made in 1978 (the same year that 'Café Müller' came to be) and decided to turn it into a one-off performance by ”Ladies and Gentlemen over 65”. She had realised the extra potential of 'Kontakthof' being enriched by performers with more life experience and decided to recruit ordinary people from around her base in Wuppertal, who would have no prior professional acting or dancing experience.
In 2008, world-famous dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch selected 40 teenagers who had never heard her name to be part of her dance piece ‘Kontakthof'. For 10 months through opening night, the young dancers discover Bausch's genius and their own bodies. Pina Bausch died in 2009. A sensation at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, Dancing Dreams (Tanzträume) is a testament to Bausch's revolutionary work.