9 June 2015
2015/2016 Season Press Conference

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch 

The 2015/2016 season will see the realisation of developments initiated by the Tanztheater Wuppertal ensemble in 2014/2015. Peter Jung, Wuppertal’s mayor says, “along with the state, North Rhine-Westphalia, we have come a long way towards generating a plan to preserve Pina Bausch’s legacy while at the same time ensuring that dance in Wuppertal continues to develop in the future. With Stefan Hilterhaus from PACT Zollverein we have engaged a renowned dance expert who has devised a strategic plan for coming years in close collaboration with the ensemble. Dance will continue to have a home in Wuppertal – a physical home, with a Pina Bausch Centre in the heart of our city.”

The Pina Bausch Centre will be one of the 13 key projects forming part of the Wuppertal 2025 strategic plan, says Wuppertal council chief executive Dr Johannes Slawig. The fact that both national and regional funds have been made available demonstrates that this is a matter of “national heritage.”


For the 2015/2016 season the Tanztheater Wuppertal has invited four choreographers to work with dancers from the ensemble, each presenting works in a three-part show to mark the opening of the season in September. This shows that “alongside preserving Pina Bausch’s legacy the company is open to new ideas and concepts,” Slawig commented. The selection of the choreographers for this first series of new pieces was made in consultation with Alistair Spalding, chief executive and artistic director of Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, with which the Tanztheater Wuppertal has collaborated for many years on touring productions, with Myriam De Clopper, artistic director of deSingel in Antwerp, where the company has also performed, and Stefan Hilterhaus. 

Alistair Spalding described it as “an honour and a privilege” to be allowed to devise the new, mixed programme for the coming season. 

“Our aim in devising this programme was to give the dancers of Tanztheater Wuppertal the possibility of a variety of different experiences in the creation period. The artists that we have chosen come from a broad range of backgrounds and experience and they will all bring their own specific approaches to the process. We are looking forward to seeing that process evolve and the results in September.“ 

Tim Etchells, Cecilia Bengolea & François Chaignaud and Theo Clinkard will each create works for the three-part show:

Tim Etchells: Writer, director and performer from the United Kingdom, artistic director of the internationally acclaimed performance group Forced Entertainment, is fascinated by the rules and systems governing language, and works with texts created during the rehearsal process.

Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud have been working together since 2005 and in 2008 they formed a company. They gain inspiration from difference. Cecilea Bengolea (originally from Argentina) combines elements of club culture such as twerking and dubstep with influences from Jamaican dancehall. François Chaignaud (originally from France) is a classically trained dancer using historical references as a starting point, with a focus on vocal polyphony.

Theo Clinkard from the United Kingdom, worked with various ensembles before founding his own company in 2012, and has also worked with dancers from the Tanztheater Wuppertal as part of a workshop. He is interested in the communicative potential of the body and the ways in which dance can make empathies between the dancers visible – or between dancers and audience.

2015/2016 Season: The Highlights

Alongside the new works, the Tanztheater Wuppertal will be presenting ten different pieces by Pina Bausch, seven of them in Wuppertal, and will be touring to St Pölten, Antwerp, Monaco, London, Paris, Amsterdam and, for the first time ever, to Luxemburg . 

Highpoints of the season will included the open air performance at the Arènes de Nîmes featuring Café Müller and Sacre du Printemps, with the Orchestre des Siècles under the musical direction of Xavier Roth and the first new production of one of Pina Bausch’s more recent works by another ensemble, directed by dancers from the Tanztheater Wuppertal. The Bayrisches Staatsballett from Munich will be adding Für die Kinder von  gestern  heute und morgen from 2002 to its repertoire, a Pina Bausch Foundation project in close collaboration with the Tanztheater Wuppertal. The premiere will be 3 April 2016, the opening night of the annual BallettFestwoche in the Nationaltheater, Munich. 

Lutz Förster, artistic director of the Tanztheater Wuppertal, emphasised that this move is also crucial to the future of the company. “We are very excited and very pleased that this project, already envisaged while Pina Bausch was still alive, can now be realised, and that, in collaboration with the Pina Bausch Foundation, new challenges and roles for the Tanztheater Wuppertal will be opened up.”

Six new dancers will be joining the ensemble for the coming season: from Canada/Sweden, Emma Barrowman, previously with the Staatsballett München, and Michael Carter from Australia , previously a member of the Compañia Nacional de Danza, Madrid, from the US Jonathan Fredrickson, previously with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and three graduates of the Folkwang University of the Arts, Blanca Noguerol Ramírez from Spain, Julian Stierle from Germany and Tsai-Wei Tien from Taiwan. 

2014/2015 Season: A Review 

A total of 99 921 people saw the Tanztheater Wuppertal during the previous season, not including the upcoming performances this June in Wuppertal or the touring production of UNDERGROUND III in Münster: 16 255 guests in Wuppertal, 83 096 at touring performances, and 570 at the project UNDERGROUND III by and featuring dancers from the Tanztheater Wuppertal in the Wicküler Park multi-storey carpark.


Three-part-evening with choreographies by Tim Etchells, Cecilia Bengolea & François Chaignaud, and Theo Clinkard 

Tim Etchells is an artist and a writer based in the UK. He has worked in a wide variety of contexts, notably as leader of the world-renowned performance group Forced Entertainment and in collaboration with a range of choreographers, artists, theatre makers and photographers. His solo work spans performance, video, photography, text projects, installation and fiction. He is currently Professor of Performance & Writing at Lancaster University.

The collective Forced Entertainment was founded in 1984 and based in Sheffield, UK. For the group Etchells has directed, devised, and occasionally performed in, dozens of critically acclaimed performance works that have been shown at major festivals and theatres around the world. 

Etchells’ work explores contradictory aspects of language in playful and poetic ways, exploiting both the speed, clarity and vividness with which it communicates narrative, image and ideas, and at the same time celebrating its’ propensity to create a rich field of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud

Cecilia Bengolea, born in Buenos Aires, dancer and choreographer.  She studied antropological dances, philosophy and art history in Buenos Aires University.  Since 2001 Cecilia Bengolea is based in Paris. She collaborated with the choreographers Claudia Triozzi, Marc Tompkins, Yves- Nöel Genod, Alain Buffard, Mathilde Monnier,  Monika Gintersdofer and Knut Classen.

François Chaignaud, born in Rennes, he graduated from Paris Dance Conservatory. Since 2003, he has danced with many choreographers: Boris Chamartz, Emmanuelle Huynh, Gilles Jobin, Tiago Guedes, Alain Buffard and others. He offers performances and concerts in various venues, at the crossroads of various inspirations and he has initiated several collaborations, a.o. with a drag queen, cabaret artists, fashion and visual artists. François Chaignaud  is currently researching on polyphonic repertories (from Georgia and from Middle Ages).

In 2008, Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud founded Vlovajob Pru Dance Company. A steady dialoge between the two choreographers has given rise to miscellaneous work, they created different performances together presented worldwide and they have been commissionned HOW SLOW THE WIND (2014), piece for seven dancers on point shoes from the Lyon Opera Ballet and DEVOTED (2015) piece for nine female dancers on point shoes from the Ballet de Lorraine.  In 2009, they won the critique choreographic revelation award. They received the Noon Award for emerging artists at the Gwangju Biennale 2014 for their works Sylphides and Dublove. 

Theo Clinkard launched his own seven-strong company in 2012 to develop a portfolio of eloquent, visceral and visually arresting works that explore the communicative potential of the body and the empathetic nature of dance in performance. He was born in Cornwall and danced locally with Brigid Albrechtsen before starting full time training at Elmhurst Ballet School and The Rambert School. Theo has created twelve commissioned works for professional companies and training institutions in England, Austria, Chile, Ireland, Wales and New Zealand.

Alongside his own creations, Clinkard has recently toured 'Accumulation (1971)', an iconic signature work by the pioneering American choreographer Trisha Brown, widely regarded as one of the most significant choreographer to emerge from the postmodern era. He is the first man and the first non-company dancer to perform this legendary solo. 

Beside his work as a dancer Theo has worked as a designer in opera, theatre, dance and live art. Theo teaches contemporary dance technique internationally. He regularly provides company classes for DV8, Carte Blanche, Culberg Ballet, Michael Clark, Sydney Dance Company, Scottish Dance Theatre, Danish Dance Theatre, Skänes Dansteater, Candoco, National Dance Company Wales, New Adventures, Rambert and Pina Bausch Wuppertal.


PRESS INFORMATION by the City of Wuppertal, press department 13.05.2015 / Page 1 of 2

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia promises half a million euro to plan a Pina Bausch centre

The German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia will contribute 500 000 euro towards the costs of planning a Pina Bausch centre on the site of the former civic theatre in Elberfeld, Wuppertal; the city has now received confirmation from Ute Schäfer, NRW culture minister. At the end of last year the federal government announced it would make 1 million euro available. The planning costs have been estimated at a total of 2 million. The remaining sum of half a million, to be provided by the city, is likely to be approved by the council at its next meeting on 11 May.

“This joint initiative by the federal government, the state and the city will enable the planning of this nationally and internationally significant venture,” the minister declared. “The future of the art form dance in the context of Pina Bausch’s artistic vision is a very high priority for me.”

Wuppertal’s mayor, Peter Jung, was also delighted: “This is a big step towards securing the heritage and vision of Wuppertal’s great artist and honorary citizen Pina Bausch for the future.”

Chief executive of the council Dr Johannes Slawig added, “The commitment from the state is the next big result following the initial success of obtaining funding at a federal level. The Pina Bausch centre is an outstanding venture and one of the thirteen key projects comprising the Wuppertal 2025 strategic plan.” The fact that both national and regional funding has been secured demonstrates that this is a question of “national cultural heritage,” Slawig added. “Pina Bausch has equal status to an artist such as Joseph Beuys.” As well as thanking the state and federal governments, he thanked Wuppertal’s members of the state and federal parliaments for their engagement. “This project is beyond party politics,” Slawig said, “and will only succeed if it remains that way.”

Citizens’ Participation Envisaged

Assuming the council votes in favour, the city can now embark on the planning phase. This means that the existing idea will be revised and planned in detail. Investment and subsequent costs can be calculated and the architectural concept can be transposed into a design.

As Slawig and the council’s culture director, Matthias Nocke, emphasise, a broad spectrum of all local citizens are to be involved even at the planning stage. Ultimately the Pina Bauch centre is not intended solely as the home of the Tanztheater Wuppertal and the Pina Bausch Foundation, but as a place for meeting and exchange. The plans are to be finished by summer 2016.

Responsibility for the project will lie with the city’s buildings department (Gebäudemanagement Wuppertal: GMW). For its director Hans-Uwe Flunkert it is therefore crucial “that I first ask the people who will later be using the building what they envisage, and what they might need, if I am to plan a cultural centre and meeting place.” A specially chosen team at the GMW will be dedicated solely to this project. There is huge excitement, Flunkert says. Everyone is eager to start.

Culture director Nocke was keen to emphasise, however, that the plan was not simply to restore the theatre. “We will create something new,” he said.

Despite all the euphoria, the chief executive of the council  Dr Slawig was unwilling and unable to make a cast-iron guarantee that a Pina Bausch centre would in the end be created. “But I can guarantee that we will do everything we can. And we have now taken a big step forwards.”

Contact details for further enquiries:

Dr Johannes Slawig, Chief executive of the council (Stadtdirektor),
Tel: +49 (0)202 / 563-5356

Matthias Nocke, culture director of the council (Kulturdezernent),
Tel: +49 (0)202 / 563-6550

Hans-Uwe Flunkert, GMW director, Tel: +49 (0)202 / 563-6842


copyright Pina Bausch Foundation, Foto Ulli Weiss
Tanztheater Wuppertal - Pina Bausch