Bausch's Orpheus is told in four movements—Mourning, Violence, Peace, Death—with three characters (and a chorus), each played by a dancer and a female singer who occupy the stage together. Bausch is conscious of, and nimbly exploits, such contrasts: between sound and movement, between colors, between bodies and the shapes they can form. In Peace, Bausch shows off her facility with classical elegance, particularly in the group dances, intricate tableaux of crisscrossed limbs—a forest of bodies. But she's most affecting when she discards tradition. Eurydice's second death—unlike Gluck, who rewrote the myth to give it a happy ending, Bausch restores its tragic finale—was among the most moving things I've seen on a stage in quite a while: Eurydice's singer dead on the floor, the dancer too draped over her, as the Orpheus singer sat over them and sang a lament. In the corner, the Orpheus dancer crouched still, with his back to the audience, for what must have been... five? Ten minutes? Bausch knew how to utilize movement but also its cessation. The woman sitting next to me sobbed and sobbed. Who wouldn't?
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