Philippine scholarship to study for three years at New

“Pina” Bausch was born in 1940 in Solingen, Germany. As a child, she
and her siblings helped her parents in the restaurant they owned. There, Bausch
began observing people and wondering about their lives. The young Bausch also
sometimes entertained customers by dancing for them; she had begun ballet
classes early and was serious about her studies.

            The impact of Bausch’s relatively
short time spent working in the restaurant can be seen in her later career. Her
observations of customers led her to question the “fundamental things which
drive humanity” (Servos); her answers to this determined the guiding themes
of her work. In addition, the atmosphere of her parents’ restaurant is echoed
in her work; “music is heard, people come and go, and talk of their yearning
for happiness” (Servos). In addition, Bausch created an entire dance piece—titled
“Café Müller”—inspired by her memories of seeing her father work.

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            When she was fourteen, Bausch began
studying dance at the Folkwang School in Essen, under the guidance of Kurt
Jooss. Jooss was a proponent of the modern dance style which had become popular
before WWII. This style combined the fundamental techniques of ballet with more
free expression of emotion; thus, the adolescent Bausch learned to dance with
both good form and creative merit. In addition, because the Folkwang School taught
other subjects such as “opera, music, drama, sculpture, painting, photography, and
design”, Bausch was able to gain inspiration from a wide range of artistic fields
of study.

            After graduating with honors from
the Folkwang School, Bausch won a scholarship to study for three years at New
York’s Juilliard School. She was mentored by a large number of dance
professionals, including “Antony Tudor, José Limón, dancers from Martha
Graham’s company, Alfredo Corvino, and Margret Craske” (Pina Bausch Foundation)
and joined both modern dance and ballet groups. Because she performed in the Metropolitan
Opera Ballet, she had a great respect for opera, but also liked more modern
styles of music such as jazz. While in Germany, “serious” and “popular” music considered
to be separate, Bausch made no distinction; for her pieces, she simply chose
music that moved her.

            Bausch moved back to Germany after
being invited by Jooss to dance for the Folkwang Tanzstudio (previously called
the Folkwang Ballet). Bausch began dancing in shows and assisting him in
choreographing, but quickly moved on to creating her own pieces and, finally,
in 1973, being promoted to head of the Wuppertal Ballet, which she re-named the
Tanztheatre Wuppertal. The concept of “tanztheatre”, or dance theatre, originated
in the 1920s with dance artist and theorist Rudolf von Laban. Laban wanted to
free dancers from the rigid, conformity-based nature of ballet routines and
instead allow them complete freedom of expression. 


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