More traditional circuses also have animals, and the dancers here often behave like different beasts and creatures. The graceful yet coarse movements of non-humans is perfectly suited to Bausch's style, which is at once classical yet intensely modern and deconstructive. The show opens with a woman on all fours, who yips like a dog when two men lift and move her; others make simian movements (the dancers sitting in a row, picking at each other's hair), lift their limbs lumberingly, or run from one side of the stage to the other, as though gone mad in captivity. There's even a feeding scene, in which what look like bread rolls are tossed out to women in bright outfits, like birds, who catch them in their dresses. Courtship is the dance's dominant motif—my friend was reminded of a Shakespeare comedy, where couples keep breaking up, realigning, getting back together—though I suppose we could consider them more mating rituals than courtships, dancers not so much performing as presenting, showing off in solo the last gift Pina gave them before she died. Part of me wanted some serious and poignant final statement from her. But it's warming, even more poignant, to think she went out smiling.
The sold-out run concludes on Saturday.
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