Kontakthof ★★★★★ Sadler's Wells Theatre | February 3 - 6, 2022


Kontakthof, which Pina Bausch created in the 1970s, has musical allusions to the 1920s and 1930s but its insights into relationships, their conventions and their power dynamics is brilliantly resonant of present experience. The work is a series of linked vignettes which explore the longing for human contact and its complexity using dance, song and spoken word. With Tanztheater Wuppertal, Bausch developed a new genre and a new language of movement that challenge and explore the codes of dance just as Kontakthof itself makes visible those often unseen realities of courtship, communication and connection. The stress involved in creating a public performance in these critical spheres is palpable and sometimes humorous. Each of the large troupe of dancers manages to establish a personality, and the tension between individuation and conformity is another core theme of this work that certainly repays all the concentration it demands. If there is any quibble with the piece, it would be the length of the first act which runs to almost a hundred minutes. There is so much to delight in and to ponder that one can feel rather overwhelmed. Nevertheless, this is an epic undertaking that anyone who cares about theatre and dance should see. One is left with indelible images and haunting resonances that are bound to affect any future views of both art and intimacy.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Reiner Pfisterer.

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