I went to BAM (the Brooklyn Academy of Music) this week to see Pina Bausch Dancetheatre Wuppertal. Bausch was a German choreographer who died in 2009 and there is still a company that performs her work. I’ve seen them every time they’ve come to Brooklyn since I was about 25 so I’ve been to a lot of their performances! It’s been six years since they’ve been here so when I received a postcard about their upcoming gig I jumped at the chance to see them again. I got in touch with my cousin B who also likes to go to dance and who I’ve seen them with before. She very nicely drove us there (and drove very nicely – I can’t imagine going through tunnels and city traffic and crazy drivers but she grew up in the city and learned to drive there and drives like a pro.)
On the way in my cousin pointed out how gorgeous the sky was and I snapped a few photos but they don’t quite capture the oranges and reds, how bright and beautiful it was out. I rarely see a sky like that. We made good time and arrived early. The place was packed, lots of too cool for school people in their hipster best casual outfits. I’ve given in to comfort these last few years, dressing up means wearing jeans and a nice shirt. I wear my Avia gel soles everyday. I used to not go out to an event without some Kohl under my eyes and lipstick on and a bright scarf to offset black clothes, but those days are long gone. I’m older now and I don’t care as much how I look. Feeling at ease is all that matters.
It wasn’t one of their best performances, it was really long – three hours – and at times repetitive and lackluster – yet I was still enthralled. I like being a loyal fan the way others are devoted to sports teams, following directors and choreographers who are my favorites through their ups and downs. I’d see Basuch’s next visit to Brooklyn in a heartbeat.
BAM is a wonderful venue and we sat in the mezzanine in great seats to capture it all. In past performances there’s been more humor, more interactive dance that left the audience dazzled and amused, but the crowd was still captivated. No pictures allowed (I was reprimanded for snapping this photo before the performance started) and cell phones off, there was nothing to do but take in the spectacle before us. It was a relief to not have other distractions beyond the tall guy seated right in front of me. I leaned a little in one direction so he wasn’t a problem.
I haven’t gone to a movie theater in a while, since pre-covid, and I’ve been to the theater only a few times. It’s something I miss a lot. To turn off the damn phone and be in a space with other people and share a viewing experience. These days I watch movies at home, by myself or with T. We pause when needed or watch a really long film in two sittings, we take a break to get something to eat or use the bathroom, we watch at our own pace. We don’t sit still for three hours – with one intermission where everyone gets up at once and there are forty women waiting to use a bathroom with five stalls. And then we all sit back down to watch the rest of the show, the fun and lighthearted, the less interesting patches, the music that didn’t quite grab me enough most of the time. Still, it was wonderful to leave my life behind for three hours in the dark, surrounded by strangers all in the same space, attentively watching, wanting to be transformed and even if it came up short, a delight to be there.