On February 9-11, 2024, The Music Center continues its 21st season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center with a major presentation and dance residency, co-produced by the Pina Bausch Foundation, École des Sables and Sadler’s Wells. More than 30 dancers from 13 African countries will perform two works choreographed by women: The Rite of Spring by Pina Bausch and the Los Angeles premiere of common ground[s], choreographed by Germaine Acogny, founder of École des Sables, and Malou Airaudo, an original member of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. The dancers performing in these two works just recently came together for the very first time, representing the countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Togo. This is a performance that should not be missed. Tickets are on sale now or calling (213) 972-0711.
Born on July 27th, 1940, Pina Bausch began her professional training with the renowned German choreographer Kurt Joose in 1955. She lived in New York City for two years initially with a scholarship at the renowned Juilliard School of Music, then as a dancer at the New American Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera House Ballet. She returned to Berlin in 1962 because Joose offered her a soloist position in the newly founded Folkwang Dance Studio. One of the works that brought Bausch recognition as a choreographer was her Im Wind der Zeit (‘in the wind of time) which won first prize in the Cologne choreography competition. It was the new director of the Wuppertaler Bühnen, Arno Wüstenhöfer who first hired Bausch as a choreographer. To meet the demands of changing times, she changed the name of her ensemble from ‘ballet’ to ‘Tanztheater (dance theatre). By the time of her death in 2009, Bausch had created over 50 works and the entire world recognized her as a great choreographer.
One of Bausch’s seminal works was titled Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring), choreographed in 1975 to music by Igor Stravinsky, with set and costumes designed by Raolf Borzik. It shook the core of many dance critics worldwide, including The Paris Review writer Vanessa Manko.
It has been stated that when Bausch began creating The Rite of Spring she asked her dancers How would you dance if you knew you were going to die? This amazing work has endured for almost 50 years and remains one of the most significant dance works of the 20th century. Now, the dancers from Africa have breathed new life and meaning into the piece. “Dancing on a peat-covered stage at The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, they clash and engage in a struggle of life, ritual and sacrifice that pays tribute to Bausch’s unparalleled genius.” (The Music Center)First on the program, however, is the 30-minute work, common ground[s], created and performed by the Senegalese dancer and choreographer, Germaine Acogny, also known as the mother of contemporary African dance, and Malou Airaudo, an original member of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. common ground[s] is set to music by Fabrice Bouillon.
Germaine Acogny was born in Benin in 1944. As a teen, she studied ballet and modern in France but decided to return to Senegal to teach dance locally. There Acogny created her own technique and style, which later became known as the Germaine Acogny technique. She is also the founder of École des Sables in Toubab Dialaw – Sénéga.
Malou Airaudo hails from Marseille, France. In 1963 she joined the Opéra de Marseille’s, directed by Joseph Lazzini. In 1965 she moved to the recently founded Ballet de Monte Carlo, and later worked with Ballet Théâtre Contemporain, led by Jean-Albert Cartier and Françoise Adret. She then studied for several years in New York City before joining Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal in 1973.“We don’t know each other, but we find each other,” said Airaudo, of her collaboration with Acogny. “We don’t have anything to prove. What we do is what we are. We were together, sharing together and what came out is what we felt.”
Do not miss this opportunity to see these two works choreographed by these amazing women?. They may not pass this way again.
Pina Bausch’s iconic work Rite of Spring set to the music of Igor Stravinsky performed for the very first time by 30 incredible African performers, and the Los Angeles premiere of common ground[s], created and performed by the Senegalese dancer and choreographer, Germaine Acogny, also known as the mother of contemporary African dance, and Malou Airaudo, an original member of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.
Friday, February 9, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 10, 2024, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 11, 2024, 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
TICKETS: Available for purchase now by visiting musiccenter.org/riteofspring or calling (213) 972-0711.
The project is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the International Coproduction Fund of the Goethe-Institut, and kindly supported by the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.
To learn more about The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and to purchase tickets, please visit their website.
Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle based on information from The Music Center press release.
Featured image: The Rite of Spring choreographed by Pina Bausch – Photo by Maarten Vanden Abeele.