“Bake cookies, bake cookies, … otherwise we are lost!“

On the virtual festival “Pina Bausch Center – under construction“

Online from November 21 till 29 and partially as a projection on Altes Schauspielhaus Wuppertal an der Kluse

Klaus Dilger

translated by Karoline Strys

„Innovative, creative and experimental – (…) that is how fortune cookies are made; daily digital warm-ups for the whole family, workshops reaching from Yoga to GAGA and Contemporary Dance, artistic interventions, masterclasses, films, music for shared delight, dance films in the night program, podcasts, panels and discussions, outdoor projections and live broadcasts.“

These words of the press announcement of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch get to the heart of what the people in Wuppertal and the world can expect and be inspired by in the coming nine days, from November 21 till 29: “building a house together“, namely the future Pina Bausch Center at Wuppertal Kluse. A project that might have the potential to embrace the visionary power of Pina Bausch and to become the first national center for choreography in Germany. The potential to – at least temporarily – assemble the most talented artists and thinkers in Wuppertal and from there to broadcast on a local, national and international level, sending social and political impulses into the world via the art of dance.

“Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost…!“, was the call of the small girl to Pina Bausch, that in its childlike openness must have seen or felt something, that not only the makers of this 9-day-long “construction“ seem to have missed out on: the visionary power of dance that is able to open doors – in ourselves and far beyond that.

Baking cookies online with Dr. Marc Wagenbach

Instead, we are “baking digital cookies with Marc Wagenbach“, who does not only present himself responsible for this program but appears omnipresent: Marc Wagenbach is moderating the kickoff discussion with minister Pfeiffer-Poensgen and mayor Uwe Schneidewind. Marc Wagenbach will be launching three podcasts the very next day,  “Marc Wagenbach talking to… | Let’s talk about dance“, Marc Wagenbach moderates and presents his “favorite format“ – as he revealed in the press conference – “Archive of Dreams“, and then Marc Wagenbach, as already mentioned, will be “baking cookies“with us. A constant presence that will follow and impact the remaining seven days of the program.

This skepticism shall not be misinterpreted as a personal offense but as a reminder to learn from experience since (latest) 2015.

Some more heads would have been in the budget: the budget of this event spans the sum of 250 000 Euros, as had been revealed upon the media’s request.

Collage(c)Robyn Orlin

Collage(c)Robyn Orlin

From analog to digital

“What had been intended as an analog workshop and participatory format for the urban society should not be simply cancelled. Instead, it shall take place as a progressive encounter with digital spaces“, it says further in the press release with more inquiries on the underlying strategies to make the digital format of streaming from Altes Schauspielhaus a real physical experience – because that is what dance is all about: the body – your own and the one of the other – and gravity?

There is no answer to that at this press conference, only the somewhat fuzzy sidestep referring to specialists in charge.

The statement of the press release says instead, “In these difficult times the Pina Bausch Center under construction is on its way, equipped with courage and joy, to explore a new social togetherness in times of pandemic and lockdown, to look for new open spaces for art and dance in the 21st century….“

Whoever followed the countless “streams“, whether “live“ or canned, as a reaction to the shock of the first “lockdown“ in March and April this year is aware of the saturation of a possible audience and the challenges – not only regarding technical quality but also regarding originality and strategies of translation of the analog experience into a digital space. Since what people really miss are touch, body, warmth and encounters.

After all, how original, innovative and creative are online dance classes with recent and former dancers of the company that have existed as part of the program of Tanztheater in analog form already for a while and since Corona also in digital form? How original are the formats of panel discussions and talks where the interest is based upon the topics and dialogue partners? How exciting will be the contributions of those who consider dance as a concept when already the format of a presentation via a house wall projection won’t knock anyone’s socks off?

Homebuilders? (Häuslebauer)

Anyway: the choice of the dance conecptionalists that have not yet appeared as homebuilders so far?

Maybe the quote of the director Bettina Wagner Bergelt provides more information? – “Building a house together, that is: we build a house where we can meet and work with each other by discussing our dreams and ideas of the future and maybe even realize some of them in an artistic manner. Someday, but maybe only in discussions and talks or in symposiums. There are already many, many formats within that we all have already approved… And I think that all this will lead to the core of what will be the topic of this first edition of Pina Bausch Center “under construction“, namely a low-threshold access to this house in the sense of everyone being enabled to participate and not entering on second thought. When walking Into this house where I shall be welcome, what should it look like? How does it introduce itself to me? And, I believe, that this is what we would like to realize in this Pina Bausch Center…“

Low-threshold access

Aha, „… a low-threshold access to this house in the sense of everyone being enabled to participate…“! That does not mean it makes you think of Soap-Operas, yet, if this will create an international radiance? – We will all be more clever afterwards. Maybe the event shall be anticipation of the Beuys’ year in 2021, who postulated that each human being was an artist?

At the same time, some very exciting analog encounters are hidden within the program, e.g. the South-African choreographer Robyn Orlin, who – alongside Pau Aran Gimeno, Milton Camilo, Nazareth Panadero, Azusa Seyama, Julie Shanahan, Horst Wegener and Birgit Neppl, who created the costumes – goes for a spiritual exorcism and artistic search for a hidden past, future and present: „…we encountered ourselves on a walk, bumped into a spirit, who reminded us to start again…“  And they are asking: How do we begin anew?

Also, the contribution from “People of Color“ will be eagerly awaited, just as Michael Carter’s and Gala Moody’s research results with students in Wuppertal.

Collage Wie mag die Installation wohl aussehen©TANZweb.org

Collage Wie mag die Installation wohl aussehen©TANZweb.org

Potentially substantial

Nevertheless, there had been somewhat substantial at the press conference, of which the realization shall be eagerly awaited, although these things will take some years as they seem rather fully open in their form:

Salomon Bausch: “I have the wish that many people worldwide and of course in Wuppertal shall have an experience with the work of Pina Bausch.

On the one hand, I am, of course, thinking of the audience, but not only. I am also thinking of those who do it, who dance this, as I believe it is also something special to them if it is done in a good way as it can really do something with a person. So that all groups who will dance the pieces in the future may give something of value back to the pieces,…“

This statement takes up what Salomon Bausch already had articulated at another point: to have all works of Pina Bausch rehearsed anew in the next ten years, as long as it is still possible to pass on the choreographies from one generation of dancers to the next  and to already involve new generations of rehearsal directors who are today dancing the work as the next generation already.

That the premiere of Pina Bausch’s “Das Stück mit dem Schiff“ originally was planned as opening on November 21 now will be screened as a recording in form of a projection onto the facade of Schauspielhaus and that this “installation“ then again will be streamed in a digital contribution of the future Pina Bausch Center does not exemplify the much-proclaimed courage to shed new light on Pina Bausch’s work. Maybe there had been legal issues that prevented a real “Livestream“ as not even the projection on Schauspielhaus will be happening live but is –probably edited – and canned.

We shall wish the realization of the Pina Bausch Center all the best from the heart! The fellows of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch are numerous and enthusiastic. Especially in times where a lot is mere assertion, marked by narcism, self-centeredness and self-interest, not only in politics, a work that goes far beyond this self becomes of greater importance. If then it is able to touch or move people who are individually maybe not even aware of it happening, when quantum theory transforms into physics via an experience without thinking, when those experiences emerge, then the remaining interest will grow and will become nourishing.

We wish you a lot of interest!

The whole program you can find in more detail HERE

Grussworte | Statements

Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind, Mayor of the city of Wuppertal

We are happy about the courage and the innovative potential of under construction to take a step towards many people of different generations, social and cultural origin with its program and digital offers even in times of the pandemic. An online format that is simply coming to your home, that offers space even in difficult times to think about another future. Funded by the Land Nordrhein-Westfalen and Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.

We are looking forward to the moment when the shining Pina Bausch Center will soon be a space for art, culture, encounter, creativity and discourse.

Dr. Hildegard Kaluza, Ministry for Culture and Science of the Land Nordrhein-Westfalen, Director of the Cultural Department, as representative Frau Ministerin Pfeiffer-Poensgen

For Tanzland Nordrhein-Westfalen the Pina Bausch Center with its multi-pronged direction is a great enrichment. The connection of the international company of Tanztheater Wuppertal as well as the urban society and a production center for interdisciplinary stage productions for artists worldwilde, as well as the Pina Bausch Archive and the immense estate of Pina Bausch provide excellent conditions and wonderful challenges – interlaced in international contexts – to develop new future-oriented and sustainable concepts.


Further information about the Pina Bausch Center

The future Pina Bausch Center is designed as a future laboratory and shall, interlock remembrance, experiment, creativity, knowledge dissemination, reflection and participation in manifold manners. The to be renovated Schauspielhaus will be extended by a new building that will be announced in an open call as an architecture competition. Contentwise, the future Pina Bausch Center will be active on four levels that are intertwined and will complement each other:

The Pina Bausch Center will be the new home of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch with their own rehearsal studios and stage where a large number of Pina Bausch’s works had been created. A production center provides space and opportunities for large-scale and interdisciplinary stage productions, premieres, coproductions and reenactments. The Pina Bausch Archive will make accessible the most extensive artistic estate of Pina Bausch. Thus, the manifold material and the valuable knowledge about this unique artistic oeuvre will be kept alive in order to inspire new generations and stimulate creative activities. Forum Wupperbogen becomes the future laboratory for the development of cultural institutions where the topics and esthetic forms of participatory projects can be observed and applied to the whole institution.

The construction of the Pina Bausch Center is a common project of the city Wuppertal, the land NRW and the state of Germany.

More info:

Weitere Informationen finden Sie unter:

www.pinabauschzentrum.de and https://under-construction-wuppertal.de/