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    2018-2019 reviews:


      Nazareth Panadero in Fr die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen
      Photo by Maarten Vanden Abeele
      Nazareth Panadero
    Flight of the scorched squirrel

    Pina Bausch finds wry hope in a legend about how the bat came to be, in "Fr die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen."


    Choreographer and Director of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch returns to her New York home at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to perform the 2002 "Fr die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen." (For the Children of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.) Conceived after the 911 tragedy, "Fr die Kinder" visits memories from changing phases of life. It takes inspiration from a Native American legend about a blind squirrel with no tail. Scorched by the sun that got caught in a tree, he gnaws at the branches to relight the world. As a reward, the squirrel (who always wanted to fly) is turned into a bat. This simple tale in which a good deed is rewarded and damage is repaired lends a message of hope, with a wry twist, to the dance.

    Original title: For the Children of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.
    Company: Tanztheater Wuppertal.
    Choreography by: Pina Bausch.
    Directed by: Pina Bausch.
    Dancers: Rainer Behr, Andrej Berezin, Alexandre Castres, Ditta Miranda Jasjfi, Melanie Maurin, Dominique Mercy, Pascal Merighi, Nazareth Panadero, Helena Pikon, Jorge Puerta Armenta, Azusa Seyama, Julie Anne Stanzak, Michael Strecker, Fernando Suels, Kenji Takagi.
    Music by: Matthias Burkert, Andreas Eisenschneider.
    Set design by: Peter Pabst.
    Costumes by: Marion Cito.
    Lighting design by: Fernando Jacon.
    Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
    30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
    Nov. 16-21, 2004

    Fr die Kinder...Nov.16-21

    The cast of fifteen runs with arms spread and quirky hands flapping as if wings needed further articulation. In Marion Cito's dress up costumes, the women in flight are wrapped in print gossamer. They mount the backs of the men with their legs spread like geese or ducks.

    Helena Pikon, Melanie Maurin, Azusa Seyama, and Julie Anne Stanzak are sexy and Eurostylish. The tiny Ditta Miranda Jasjfi is childlike, vivacious, and funny. Confident presence equals technical skill in their theatrical dancing. Pikon is so light on her feet she seems to float. The women's long hair is an important extension, brushed with brooms or combed with a stiletto heel. Jasji is swung around by her long thick black lock. Bausch performers brush the hair of audience members in the first row with the huge static-making implements. A later barbershop scene is played and staged so elegantly, it too seems to belong.

    Rainer Behr, short and stocky, spins, flies and floats in solo. In a noirish vignette, he clambers over two large safes that move on wheels. He stretches between them dangerously. Peter Pabst's elegant walls replete with parlor doors move back and forth creating different spaces. The set is clean, warm white, like a grand home or comforting financial institution. But in the bank heist scene the walls angle and close in with dizzying claustrophobic effect.

      Azusa Seyama in Fr die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen
      Photo by Bettina Stoss
      Azusa Seyama
    Jasjfi surveys the space and calls it 'my room.' Several of the men gather near her and she announces, 'my men,' with childish glee. The dancers play chicken, a jump rope is used to boomerang women across the stage, whoopee cushions release giggles; the games exercise juvenile impulses more naughty than nice. In Bausch's celebration of the phases of life, wry humor replaces nostalgia. The legend of the bat is spoken in the performance as a message of post 911 renewal — and an invocation of compassion.

    Veteran Bausch performer Dominique Mercy and Nazareth Panadero play a couple in mid-life. They exchange one-liners, she in a throaty, abrasive sing-song; he is desperate for thirty seconds of love. Stanzak is the femme-fatale Mercy addresses as his wife. Her kiss leaves him red-lipped. A monologue of half sentences exposes his crippling doubt, Panadero gets a bizarre thrill from burning holes in her sweater with a lighter — and the mesmerizing dark humor justifies all.

    Among the gifts Bausch offers the children of tomorrow, a sand castle city is brought out on a rug like a puzzle in progress to work on with pleasure and cooperation. Fragility is also embodied in the voluminous tutu worn by Mercy as he pours from a watering can. Pascal Merighi blows on the tutu and the two zigzag upstage.

    The dance is to a sequence of popular songs, but Mercy's gut-wrenching solo is driven by inner demons. The near three-hour piece looks cathartic and feels exhausting. It's a rare treat and ends with a feast of valedictory solos.

    NOVEMBER 24, 2004

    Reader comments on Fr die Kinder von gestern, heute und morgen:

  • Flying Squirrels   from Jackson Sherwood, Nov 28, 2004
  • X !!!   from vander silveira (Porto Alegre), Sep 11, 2006

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