Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Pina Bausch

Dance is an expressive art form, it gives the choreographer and dancers a chance to be able to release and engage their ideas through physical practice. Not all pieces have a meaning but may have an aesthetic level of semiotic content. As an audience we recognise and interpret movement, sometimes this is not conscious as this is an analysing tool that we all use to read situations in everyday life. This essay studies the piece The Rite of Spring (1974) by Pina Bausch (1940-2009). Bausch was a German modern dance choreographer who rebelled against ballet and made her own twist on dance. The rite of spring was one of her many frantic pieces. Bausch uses emotion, costume and staging to make this piece individual and unforgettable. Bausch uses a mix of responsive gestures and powerful unison movement; she goes into great depth and detail to portray the subject of human sacrifice. The choreography has been carefully thought out and you can see this by watching the piece, it has a phatic semiotic level. The music accompanying the piece is composed by Igor Stravinsky (1882- 1971) the piece has three sections: (Introduction, Omens of Spring–Dances of the Youths and Maidens, Ritual of Abduction). There are many instruments used helping the piece explore different pitches and tempos giving more scope to play with as a choreographer. Some of the instruments used : piccolos, flutes, English horn, clarinets, bass clarinets, bassoons, contrabassoons, French horns, piccolo trumpet, trombones, tubas, timpani, bass drum, triangle, and strings. Phrase one – Female solo explosion. Performer| Movement| Space| Sound| 1 vulnerable woman wearing a red dress. Her role is being sacrificed. She is trained dancer, her facial expression shows distress. Stillness, explosive movement, drops and falls, repetition of the motif of the head falling towards the floor and being flung back up again. | The spatial view was of one female and then the rest of the group huddled together in a staggered clump. Whilst dancing the women doesn’t travel far but covers a space and keeps moving within it. | The music used is very intense and dramatic, its use of tempo and pitch add to the nature of th e piece and adds effect to the dynamics in the choreographed movement. In this phrase the female performer wears a see through red dress exposing one of her breasts, this shows her vulnerability and is referential to the fact that red can mean ‘dying’. The piece has a phatic semiotic level as the stage has been set in a certain way which draws attention to the female, as the other performers are set in a staggered clump giving the impression of a group relationship. Whilst the woman explodes into dance the rest of the company stand watching in fear as she jerks herself to death. The choreography used is very repetitive as she collapses to the floor and back up again, the strength and ability shown through her movement is very believable as you see the tension moving through her body. The way the performer repeats the motif of her head swinging to the floor this could be a metalinguistic level as we associate this kind of movement with stress and frustration. Phrase two – circle sacrifice Performer | Movement| Space| Sound| A mix of male and female dancers. Males have just trousers on and women just chiffon dresses. They are all trained dancers, and their facial expressions in this phrase are neutral. Starts with slow walks and repetition of the same motif of the head being swung towards the floor. As the phrase goes on the movement turns jerky and more energy is put into the phrase as the movement is developed. | The whole of the stage is covered as the dancers create a spacious circle. Highlighting the main focus of the red dress that is in the centr e of the circle. | The music starts slow and quiet as the movement starts to pick up the music complements it as the tempo gets faster. There is a loud explosion of music twice in this phrase. | This phrase consists of many different devices such as unison work, canon, motif development and partner work. They start the phrase in a spacious circle, and the red dress is left in the centre this indicates the power of the dress and shows that they are all in fear of being the one chosen to be sacrificed. Again the as the dress is red in colour it is referential to the fact red could mean ‘dying’. There is a motif that is repeated throughout the piece but is more apparent in this phrase as they all dance it in unison and then it develops further; it is the motif of them swinging their head towards the floor and back up again. This could be metalinguistic as we associate this movement with frustration, aggravation and disturbance. As the motif is developed it gives the audience trace level signs as it is embedded in the work and creates the idea of the aggravation and frustration excelling further. As stated above there is also an element of partner work used the proxemics suggest an intimate relationship and the movement used suggests vulnerability from the women. The music starts quiet and gradually picks up as the movement and motif develops; this makes the audience feel the emotion and state that all the performers are in as it does not take the emphasis away from the movement content. In the phrase all the performers collapse to the floor, this sudden fall is accompanied by a loud explosion of music; it adds such effect and shows the phatic level of semiotics as it was obviously rehearsed that way to make the dynamic stand out. Bausch has put so much detail into the choreography, staging and costumes; the overall effect is the meaning and depth of the piece. The two phrases that are analysed above use similar choreography although both are unique in different ways. Phrase one – female solo explosion, the attention is drawn to the one female dancer that is dancing her solo. The impression that comes across is the thought of her being alone as the other performers are all stood together watching on. In comparison phrase two- the circle sacrifice, the feeling and staging makes the group seem as a whole and that they are all equal; this is because they all move the same in unison and no one is singled out. In phrase one the movement content is jerky, energetic and extremely emotional for the one female dancer; whilst the rest of the group are swaying gently this implies that the feeling that the female is experiencing is most defiantly not of which the group are. Phrase two on the other hand shows that the group are together and are dancing as a whole. The contrast between phrase one and two are not that different as they are both following the same theme of sacrifice making the choreography through the piece restricted into what style and practice is used. The Rite of Spring is an exceptionally meaningful piece that shows the difference between the royal ballet and modern dance. The twist widens the restrictions and enables people to dance without having all the Ballet technique. The two phrases above certainly stand out in the piece and add to the story telling ability. To conclude the analysis of this piece has been very intriguing to watch the performance in a different light, it helps you understand and helps you see the nature of the piece and how it was made. Bibliography

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