The reason this is such a fantastic
documentary is because it doesn’t consist primarily of boring interviews and
stultifying background information. This
is almost pure performance art. And
it’s very unique.
It’s difficult to describe creative,
but these dancers paying tribute to their mentor and teacher, Pina Bausch, are
nothing short of mesmerizing. They do
their routines not only on the stage, but on a sidewalk, out in a field,
beside a fountain, in front of a playground, inside a moving train, in an
alleyway, under power lines beside an industrial plant---in short, anywhere.
Anywhere is a good place for fantastic artistry, and expressive
movement. When they have an orchestra,
they move to the music; when they
don’t, they move to the music inside of them.
This is interpretive dance at its finest, challenging and “outside
the box” but not so weird and atonal that it leaves behind a mainstream
Some of these incredible athletes have
been on the same “team” for twenty years or more, which is a testament
both to their perseverance and their affection for their heroine, Pina.
We see her, sometimes just smoking and talking, sometimes demonstrating
a flowing movement to a student, sometimes performing herself---but she
remains somewhat of a mysterious enigma to the outsider, who can’t, of
course, see the kind of mystical bond that has obviously formed between her
and her adoring protégés. It’s
rare, in the artistic world, for troupes to be together that intensely that
long. So we understand that this lithe
could attract students from
, and literally all over the world. And
they wouldn’t come just to sit at the feet of their guru---they would learn
how to move their own feet.
The personal interviews with the dancers
are done in an interesting way---very brief statements, but the audio is
dubbed over a sitting, silent, face shot---as if we could feel their physical
presence and energy while hearing their thoughts, but they were still
something of an enigma because of the disconnect between what we were seeing
and what we were hearing. It’s the
kind of technique that would have made Pina proud---even a talking head is
done differently; artistically.
Of course, “Pina” isn’t for
everyone. But for all who are
interested in the various expressions available just from sheer body movement,
you’ll be enthralled.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,