Bamboo Blues (World Cities 2012) – Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: The Barbican, London, 22 June 2012

Nice to meet you

It must have been something I ate. Ruth Amarante falls for her man. Photo by Ulli Weiss

I don’t know why it’s called Bamboo Blues, it all seemed perfectly pleasant to me. On show were plenty of cosy ways to tuck into bed with someone, a man literally jumping through hoops to kiss his saheli and a veritable festival of sarong-tying. India appears to be a less frenetic place than I remember it.

There was some excellent dancing. Shantala Shivalingappa, the Indian Kuchipudi dancer, was outstanding with her light, flowing steps and hugely expressive fingers but there were star turns too from Franko Schmidt, Silvia Farias Heredia and a tautly graceful duet from Rainer Behr and Eddie Martinez.

There were some great gags; the man being picked up by two towering Amazonians, water being turned back and forth into wine and a glamorous movie couple being fanned by two flunkies waving cardboard flaps.

There were amazing sights. The giant Indian god leaping athletically above the tiny row of Wuppertal dancers was a triumph of brain-twisting scale and there was an incredible set piece where Azusa Seyama ran full pelt at a chair, leapt from it and flung herself into a pair of waiting arms.

And yet somehow it didn’t gel. In the same way that it’s often difficult to pin down why a Pina Bausch piece is so good, it’s equally unlikely that you put your finger on it when it doesn’t seem quite so satisfying. Maybe there was a bit too much muzak in it, maybe there wasn’t enough cruelty to counterbalance the super-snuggly warmth or maybe I was just in a different frame of mind – who knows?

Bamboo Blues was still way more interesting than many a dance show, however, and Peter Pabst’s shimmering silk curtain backdrop was wonderful.

Gerard Davis

This entry was posted in Barbican, Pina, Pina Bausch, Tanztheater Wuppertal, World Cities 2012 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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