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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Kontakthof, by Pina Bausch

Paris Opera Ballet / Paris / Stage

Pina Bausch, who died in 2009 at the age of 68, was beloved in Europe and controversial in America. A German dancer and choreographer, she and the company she created, the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, were known for large-scale works of stunning, sometimes shocking, imagery. Sex and power, memory and desire—these continuing subjects were never presented in a traditionally linear way. Violence, wit, absurdity, risk, with a bit of OCD repetition thrown in, all are ingredients in her neo-Expressionist recipes for disaster and sometimes delight. So an evening of Bausch can be as demanding of its audience as it is of its dancers. Her 1978 work Kontakthof—which means “courtyard of contact”—takes place in a dance hall and looks at the courtship rituals of the human animal, whether it’s a dance, a hug, a kiss. No one walks in high heels the way a Bausch dancer does—except, perhaps, the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. —L.J.

Paris Opera Ballet Place de la Bastille, 75012 Paris, France
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