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CineDance Festival: The Works of Pina Bausch



For years I've been reading about German choreographer Pina Bausch. Now, finally, I've had the chance to see some of her work on video--and the woman is a certified genius, producing images so right and so terrifying they seem to have been plucked from our dreams. Far from erasing or blurring sex roles, Bausch heightens them: in 1980 (a dance featured in the documentary A Primer for Pina), a woman crouches between the legs of a man seated in a chair, almost hiding beneath its seat; her hand creeps up his torso and caresses his face, which he tolerates for a few seconds before shoving her head down violently. She keeps on doing it, like a dog driven by blind need, and so does he. Bausch often uses this kind of repetition to stunning effect: in the 1978 dance Cafe Müller, a man and woman take turns slamming each other into a wall, like a two-person merry-go-round gone berserk. Another man arranges the same couple like mannequins in a sort of embrace, but as soon as he leaves them, the man drops the woman; they do this over and over, faster and faster. Taking everyday gestures of affection and repeating them with a kind of violent automatism, Bausch reveals the animalistic needs behind our desire for love and romance. The same insight into fundamentals characterizes Susan Sontag's discussion of Bausch in A Primer for Pina, a documentary that's provocative not only for what's said but for the nonlinear way visual information is presented. The sets for Bausch's dances, designed by Rolf Borzik, are reason enough to check out this three-day video festival, presented by Performing Arts Chicago. Showing on Friday: The Rite of Spring (dance work, 7:45). Showing on Saturday: Bluebeard (dance work, 2:00), A Primer for Pina, part one (documentary, 4:00), A Primer for Pina, part two (5:30), Bilder aus Stüken (dance work and documentary, 6:00), Cafe Müller (dance work, 7:30), and The Rite of Spring (8:30). Showing on Sunday: A Primer for Pina, parts one and two (1:00), What Do Pina Bausch and Her Dancers Do in Wuppertal? (documentary, 2:00), Walzer (dance work, 5:15), and The Search for Dance: Pina Bausch's Theatre With a Difference (documentary, 6:30). A separate admission will be charged for each screening. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday through Sunday, May 7 through 9, 773-281-4114 or 773-722-5463. --Laura Molzahn

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