The development of a genre: Pina Bausch and the later twentieth-century dance theatre

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Texas Tech University

During the nineteen eighties, a type of performing art called dance theatre started in Germany and gradually spread out its influence on other countries in Europe, America, and Asia. Ever since, dance theatre has aroused much controversy in terms of categorizing this artistic genre, a form that merges dance and theatrical elements. This study will evaluate all the pros and cons and find a way to define dance theatre by using interdisciplinary approaches that combine contemporary aesthetics, and theories of performing arts.

Chapter I introduces the importance of categorization by using contemporary philosopher Kendall Walton's categorization criteria. Walton's concept will serve as an umbrella theory to give focus on the dance and theatre theories in terms of what standard properties are used to define dance and theatre. Chapter II traces theatre theories from Aristotle's Poetics to the present. The survey will be a reference point to judge whether contemporary dance theatre does maintain some standard properties of theatre. Chapter III examines the concept of dance through theories about ballet, modem dance, and postmodern dance. The survey will compare dance theatre in an historical context and judge if it does pertain to some standard properties of dance. Chapter IV has two focuses. First, it traces the beginning of German dance theatre from the twenties until now. Second, it analyzes the properties of Pina Bausch's dance theatre to examine if it does include standard properties from both genres. In chapter five, the properties of Pina Bausch's dance theater will be used as a paradigm to judge works of other dance theatre by the following director/choreographers: Reinhild Hoffmann, Susanne Linke, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, and Martha Clarke. This comparison aims to clarify whether those works of dance theatre not only contain properties of dance and theatre, but also unique properties distinct from other performing arts, and should therefore be categorized as dance theatre in their own right.

Bausch, Pina -- Criticism and interpretation, Tanztheater (Wuppertal, Germany) -- History, Improvisation in dance -- 20th century, Choreographers -- German, Modern dance -- Study and teaching, Modern dance -- Germany -- 20th century, Modern dance -- Philosophy, Postmodernism, Theater -- Germany -- 20th century