Pina Bausch July 27, 1940 - June 30, 2009

Choreographer Pina Bausch Dies at 68, After Cancer Diagnosis

Pina Bausch, the German choreographer renowned for her pioneering, collage-like stagings that meshed dance and theater, died this morning, Tanztheater Wuppertal said on its Web site. She was 68.

Bausch’s unexpected death came just five days after a cancer diagnosis, the company said. She took the stage in Wuppertal to receive her last rounds of applause 10 days ago, the statement added.

“The dance world has lost its most significant contemporary choreographer,” German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann said in an e-mailed statement. “She was an example and an icon, a great inventor and visual innovator. She succeeded in creating not only an independent body of work, but a completely new art form. We are talking, of course, about Tanztheater.”

After training as a dancer at the Folkwang School in Essen, Germany, Bausch became a soloist at the Folkwang Ballett. She began choreographing for the company in 1968, before she was appointed director and choreographer of the newly founded Tanztheater Wuppertal in 1973.

Bausch’s works focus on the personal -- human existence, relationships and communication. Among her productions are “Die Sieben Todsuenden” (“The Seven Deadly Sins,” 1976), based on a piece by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht; the violent “Blaubart” (“Bluebeard,” 1977); the witty “Kontakthof” (1978); and more recently, “Vollmond” (“Full Moon,” 2006.)

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