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Pina: Oscar-nominated dance film screens at Wealthy Theatre

Groundbreaking documentary celebrates life of legendary choreographer.
Underwriting support from:

Pina--Film Screening Info

Duration: 2 hours

Location: Wealthy Theatre

1100 Wealthy St.

Times: 7:30 pm Friday, March 23

(Doors open at 7:00)

1:30 pm Sunday, March 25

(Doors open at 1:00)

Tickets: $5.00

($4.00 for GRCMC members)



"For anyone with an interest in dance, 'Pina' is a must-see. For anyone not interested in contemporary dance, 'Pina' is a should-see. It could change your mind." ~ Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic

Such is the gift of filmmaker Win Wenders' tribute to modern dance luminary Pina Bausch. Released in 2011, the 3-D extravaganza has been showered by critical praise, earning a nomination for Best Documentary Feature at the 84th annual Academy Awards. The homage showcases the work of two masters, employing Wenders' brilliant film techniques to celebrate the theatrically powerful dance genre that brought Bausch global acclaim and influence.

The German choreographer was a major force in the development of tanztheater, or dance theater. The New York Times described her approach as "...a method of creating dances that was widely copied. She would begin rehearsals by asking specific questions of the dancers: about memories, about their daily lives. She would ask them to act out the recollections, and create minidramas from their responses. The dance would grow out of that work, as well as a sense of place derived from foreign residencies... The ideas and feelings were often harsh, like frustration and alienation, cruelty and pain, but the works were frequently suffused with humor. Ms. Bausch was quoted as saying she was 'not interested in how people move but in what moves them.'"

​Wenders began pre-production on the film in 2009, but soon canceled the project after Bausch's death only days after an unexpected cancer diagnosis. At the urging of Pina's students, the filmmaker completed the effort, faithfully resurrecting the choreographer's life and artistic vision through student retrospectives and the staging of Bausch's defining dance pieces, shot in and around Tanztheater Wupperstal, her long-time artistic center. 

​The result is both poignant remembrance and unprecedented work of cinematic art. Thrilling and elegaic in tone and execution, Pina's astounding imagery transcends conventional documentary, pulling dance aficionado and novice alike into a fluid vortex of stunning visual lyricism. At the same time, Bausch's forms reveal their thematic depth by expressing, in movements alternately elegant and primally animated, an essential tension inherent in the human condition. In the words of The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw:

"If its meaning can be summed up – though it is arguably the point of an abstract artform that it can't be summed up – it is probably in the words of a dancer who asks, 'What are we yearning for? Where does all this yearning come from?' We spend our lives yearning, and then, in the shadow of mortality, our yearning is redirected backwards, a yearning to understand our past lives, our youth, and again forwards – a yearning to understand the point of our death. Wenders' movie uncovers the crucial state of yearning in Bausch's work."

Pina​ is sponsored by Dance in the Annex, Grand Rapids' innovative contemporary dance performance and training center. The documentary screens at Wealthy Theatre 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 25. 

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