Having reviewed dance in Dayton for DMM for the last season and a half I have always talked about my love and passion for all things related to dance. This passion has driven me literally to commute to Columbus for three years for a Masters Degree in dance. I have sacrificed my paycheck to send a needy student away to a summer dance program to give them a chance. I am willing to get up at the crack of dawn to read dance articles and watch YouTube clips of companies from around the world. I have drawn the ire from some people in this community because of my honest and less than salutatory reviews of our local dance companies. It is obvious my passion is deep and resolute.
After seeing Pina I feel the sacrifice and passion are vindicated. This was more than a film about dance it was a visceral journey to a world that we so rarely get to see and inhabit. It is a world in which the singularity of Pina’s vision as an art maker (choreographer is just too limiting of a term) is brilliantly mapped out by the legendary filmmaker Wim Wenders with such loving and passionate detail. It is fascinating hearing her dancers speak about their lives with her, the company is still in existence and performing her work even though she passed away in 2009. They tell us how she did not need to over explain her process, that they [the dancers] will get it. You will get it to as a audience. Seeing that their commitment has an almost quasi-religious fervor, that they are missionaries for the high priestess that was and is Pina Bausch, was inspiring.
But what stood out to me the most was the assemblage of her stage works for the film. The carefully chosen locations for outside performances, which were juxtaposed against the staged works was fluid. It made you feel as a viewer that the level she is operating at as an art maker transcends the confines of mere mortal comprehension and limitations of the proscenium stage. This is heady stuff but it is also rooted in the emotive and spiritual realm that only a genius can tap into for artistic inspiration. We have to acknowledge in a world were everyone thinks they are special and worthy, that we are not, when faced with the staggering creative abilities of Pina Bausch. It is humbling. I couldn’t breathe after seeing this film. I ran through a gambit of emotions just walking to my car, culminating in tears.
I have said in several reviews and speaking at the last installment of Pecha Kucha that the Dayton Arts community needs to step it up. I have been very critical of the arts patrons for not educating themselves about the world outside the bubble of Dayton. Here is a golden opportunity if you are willing to take the journey. Jonathan and the crew at the Neon Movies have provided us with a venue to view brilliance. There are no more excuses.
After seeing this masterpiece (which I am planning to see again at least two more times), I am even more committed to this crusade for “quality” being the lynch pin of the art viewing experience in our community. So dance community of Dayton, I am serving notice. In the immortal words of Bette Davis, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” This film is here for a limited one-week engagement if you miss it, shame on you. This is the level we should all be striving for as art makers and patrons. It took a movie to give me the visceral dance experience that I have desperately wanted to see on our local stages.