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Monday, September 11, 2017

In Context: Café Müller/The Rite of Spring

In 1984, Tanztheater Wuppertal made its New York debut at BAM, performing what would become the two most iconic works of Pina Bausch’s extraordinary repertoire. More than three decades later, the company returns with a landmark restaging of that historic double bill. Context is everything, so get closer to the production through our series of curated links, videos, and articles. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #PinaBausch.

Program Notes

Featured Collection
Pina Bausch (Leon Levy BAM Digital Archive)
Browse richly detailed entries on all of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch's BAM productions, plus a selection of photos, artifacts, and ephemera from the BAM Hamm Archives.

Pina, Dark & Light (BAM blog)
A look at the evolution of Pina Bausch’s repertory—from dark and literally earthbound to light and air- and water-suffused.

Interviews with three Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch dancers, from three distinct phases of the company’s 44-year history.

A Portrait of Pina in 35 Objects (BAM blog)
Illustrator Nate Gelgud pays tribute to iconic objects from past Pina productions.

Pina Bausch, in her own words (BAM blog)
A selection of the choreographer's thoughts and influences that informed her work, mined from remarks and interviews.

The Power of Pina Bausch (Evening Standard)
What is is about the late choreographer that inspires such admiration? The Evening Standard asks the devotees.

Watch & Listen

Wim Wenders on Pina Bausch (YouTube)
At a screening at BAM Rose Cinemas in 2012, director Wim Wenders reflects on how he came to make PINA, the difficulties of capturing dance on film, and more.

Now your turn...

How did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #PinaBausch.


  1. Powerful and emotional dance. The choreography may be more than 30 years old but it is original, profound and new. Performance and staging are fantastic. Rite of Spring is full of beauty and real fear and anxiety.

  2. A combination of sitting in the balcony and much of the performance being performed at the front of the stage, I didn't get to see much. It was a waste of time and money, and most of all I missed a performance I was looking forward to.

  3. It's perfect. Cafe Muller was a singular achievement that could only be realized by Pina. The company is outrageously talented. I enjoyed watching them throw each other into walls repeatedly - something about that is somehow more real than a lot of choreography I've seen. It's quite moving too. Then leaving the curtain up for us to watch the crew set up for Rite was a great touch. So often we don't get a chance to see the hard work these crews put in, and are forced only to imagine (if it even occurs to some). This is special, and I am sure the applause they get happens every night because they are of such esteem and huge value to the experience. Then Rite starts and it's almost more exertion than anything we're used to seeing. Fragility and all-out thrashing, Pina exploits movement dynamics to a sublime degree. What we are left with by the end is likely personal to every audience member. I'm so happy I got tickets to two performances - coming back on Sunday to experience it all again. As with every time out with Pina, I'm afraid I'm not prepared for what's about to happen, but by the end, so grateful to have been along for the ride. Please invite them back sooner and more often!

  4. Pina Bausch has changed my life. Since 1984 when the company was first @ BAM to this afternoon; relentless, emotional, hilarious and unnerving. I never saw dance/performance the same way after that first performance of Kontaktof in '84.

  5. Profound and life-changing. Such incredible beauty and emotion in her choreography, the wild abandon and yet sublime control of her movement. I count myself so fortunate that I was able to see them in person, have loved this company for years!

  6. What a great intro this was to this year's Next Wave Festival. I have never seen a dance performance set to Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Now I am afraid I am spoiled for any other choreographer's version. Pina Bausch's choreography left me breathless — stunned, even. Café Müller moved me deeply as well. I lost count of the curtain calls that night. The audience was wild for the dancers, and so was I.


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