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Pina Bausch's Dance Theatre

Tracing the Evolution of Tanztheater

Lucy Weir

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First full-scale thematic analysis of Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater, critically evaluating the impact of modernist theatre on her choreographic method

This book presents a new reading of Pina Bausch’s dance theatre, orienting it within an international legacy of performance practice. The discussion considers not only the influence of German and American modern dance on Bausch’s work but, crucially, interrogates parallels with modernist and postdramatic theatre (including Antonin Artaud, Samuel Beckett, Jerzy Grotowski, and Robert Wilson), the influence of which has been largely neglected in existing studies of her oeuvre.

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List of illustrations
List of choreographies
1. A Bilingual Dancer
2. New Beginnings: The Origins of Bausch’s Tanztheater
3. Unmasked, Unfinished, Unresolved: A Dance Theatre of the Absurd
4. Violent Acts: Traversing the Postwar Landscape
5. Transient Tanztheater: The Co-Production Model
6. ‘I only tried to speak about us’

About the Author

Lucy Weir is a Teaching Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Art at Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh. She is a specialist in modern dance and performance. Her research interests span the fields of live art, theatre and dance, and queer culture and gender studies. She received her PhD from the University of Glasgow in 2013 and has held several teaching and research fellowships. She previously taught at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.


Eloquent and probing, Lucy Weir's astonishing book on the late German choreographer Pina Bausch and her Wuppertaler company is a milestone for a fresh and invigorating Anglo-American reception of tanztheater, rediscovering Bausch's early residency in New York, her processing of parallel modern legacies of ballet and dance and her radical shaping of these idioms into a new theatrical language and rehearsal method. Weir's explorations are wide-ranging and brilliant in their insights and interpretive rigor, leading us through decades of work to the late transcultural ‘World Cities' productions, and the challenging promise of how to continue the dance after Bausch.

- Johannes Birringer, Brunel University

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