There are rooms that we go to for inspiration. Some exist for a night on an opera stage. A stage covered in green grass, a huge wall crumbled, a garden of carnations. Eggs are fried on laundry irons. Nipples slip out of flowing dresses. Long hair wet with sweet sweat. Water. Cigarettes. Loud scratchy music. The stage lit like a strong rye. For many years I sat in Opera Houses waiting for the curtain. So happy in those moments before the performance began. Seeing Pina Bausch, always in black, behind the orchestra, mysterious, enigmatic. The greatest magician, dramatist, comedian, choreographer. A pen and a program on my lap. Knowing I was about to be transported to that place where dreams are shared. A place I so wanted to be almost all of the time.
Once I arrived in Paris for a shooting, picked up my Vespa, then heard Pina had a performance of "Danzon" that night. I raced over cobblestones bursting with song, it being the night of La Fête de la Musique where bands played on every corner. I arrived at the Theatre de la Ville, parked my scooter and raced through the doors. The performance had just begun and miraculously there was a ticket for the balcony. I climbed up, tucked my helmut between my legs and was swept away. Projections on huge white fabric, billowing. Dancers who had become friends just from watching them through the years. Faces slapped. Water spit. Men in suits barefoot. Women in the tallest heels - passionate and indifferent. When I left the theater hours later, I was in dreamland. The streets were alittle drunker,still loud and wild. I had my helmut under my arm, walked out on the streets, and reached in my pocket for the keys. No keys..... No bike. Realized Realized in my excited arrival at the opera house I had left the keys in the bike and it was gone. They charged me $800 for the stolen bike. It was worth it of course.
Years later,one late winter night after a performance at BAM I went to the Austrian restaurant across the street. Velvet curtains in the entry. Felt so European - ate goulash. Pina and her dancers came and sat at the big table near us. I was in heaven. Decided not to say anything. Then as I was leaving there was a shadow of a woman smoking a cigarette in the doorway. It was Pina. Backlit by the streetlights through the fog. I did talk to her. Reminded her how we had met in the canteen under the opera house in Wuppertal. Thanked her for everything. What could I say?
Many Pina stories I need to recall. Will add to this post in the coming weeks. Need to pull out the old programs with the scratched notes.
Very little documentation on Pina. Jochen's pix: http://www.jochenviehoff.de/pinabausch/index.htm
Some wonderful ariticles this week: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/07/pina-bausch-remembered.html
Will miss Pina and her company so much. Will play games with my imagination to remember. Will tap into my inner Pina - as I so often do - to find the richest vein of inspiration she always touched.