Finding one's self in a sea of pink

Nelken (Carnations) by the late German dancer-choreographer Pina Bausch, will be performed by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.
Nelken (Carnations) by the late German dancer-choreographer Pina Bausch, will be performed by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.PHOTO: OLIVER LOOK

In Nelken (Carnations), the late German choreographer Pina Bausch had created dream-like and poetic scenes - with the stage transformed into a field of pink carnations - but the presence of men in austere suits added an aura of power and control.

"It is an extremely strong visual work," says Adolphe Binder, the incoming artistic director of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. She alludes to the challenges faced "when we're trying to bloom and rebel and find our identity in a framed environment".

The company is presenting the 110-minute work from Oct 13 to 16 at Esplanade's da:ns festival. The show involves about 20 people on stage, including dancers aged between 20 and 50. There will also be four stuntmen and four dogs.

Nelken may have been created in 1982, but Bausch's works are universal, says Binder."The whole body of work of Pina Bausch is about the human condition and human relations. This is a universal theme that is timeless."

  • BOOK IT / NELKEN (CARNATIONS)

  • WHERE: Esplanade Theatre, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Oct 13 to 16, 8pm (Thursday to Saturday), 3pm (Sunday)

    ADMISSION: $20 to $100 from Sistic

Binder, 47, will officially start as artistic director of the company from May, but she is already busy getting to know the company and planning ahead.

It is an "interesting point" in the life of the company, she says, and new challenges lie ahead.

Binder, whose previous roles include head of Swedish contemporary dance company GoteborgsOperans Danskompani, says she would like to do multi-disciplinary work with artists who "know what heritage is" and can "carry on the fire".

Binder, who was born in Romania and grew up in Germany, understands the legacy of Bausch, who died in 2009, leaving behind her brand of dance theatre, which has influenced dance and non-dance artists, including pop star Lady Gaga.

"She changed the art form forever," Binder says of Bausch's influence on the world of dance.

"That is iconic and irreplaceably unique."

Nabilah Said

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2016, with the headline 'Finding one's self in a sea of pink'. Print Edition | Subscribe