Pina Bausch’s new production, Bamboo Blues, inspired by India, its cultural multiplicity and a research trip to this country in November 2006 will be staged in the city on January 18 and 19. The path-breaking choreographer and dancer was accompanied by her team comprising the stage designer, Peter Pabst, the costume designer, Marion Cito, music experts and assistants. This Tanztheater Wuppertal production — or dance theatre developed by Bausch in 1970s — is being presented by the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan.
Pina Bausch is known for her interactions with the dancer Chandralekha, and her interest in Bharatanatyam. Her production of Carnation way back in 1994 is still remembered for its startlingly beautiful evocation of a field in flower on a bare stage. Unfortunately, when Pina Bausch had first visited Calcutta in 1979 with her production of Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring, the Democratic Youth Federation, of which Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was leader then, forced Wuppertal Tanztheater to stop the show because the leftist organisation could not stomach the presence of a nude dancer onstage.
Bausch has been discussing this “India piece” with Max Mueller Bhavan since 2002, and even when she last visited the city it was still in a nascent stage. In 2006 they visited Calcutta and Kerala to gather impressions and ideas. The premiere of the new show, then referred to as New Piece 2007, took place last May in Wuppertal, where all her pieces are premiered.
Reimar Volker, director, Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, said on Wednesday that the piece was named Bamboo Blues only recently, and it is perhaps a reference to the bamboo structures used onstage. “It has been received well,” he said.
Five to six performances have already been held and Delhi has witnessed it. It will next be staged in Mumbai, followed by Calcutta.
It will be performed at all the major metros such as Paris, Tokyo and New York, and quite characteristically, the dancers and music is truly multi-culti.
Bausch had said in 2006 that while she was appalled by the poverty and moved by the “beautiful family life,” she was amazed to discover the beauty of the architecture during her trip to the Howrah bridge flower market. It will be interesting to discover what she will “pick” from the vast melange of Calcutta.
The three-and-a-half minute video that was shown on Wednesday was not very revealing but one couldn’t miss the mudras and the projections from South Indian films.