Watch Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring Performed on a Senegal Beach

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Pina Bausch’s Rite of Spring Dancing at Dusk
Dancing at Dusk, 2020(Film still)

See Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring performed by a Pan-African company on the beach in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal

The Rite of Spring is perhaps German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch’s most seminal work. An adaption of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky’s 1913 musical-choreographic work of the same name, Bausch’s “harrowing” dance, first debuted in 1975, caused a stir in the dance world. Performed on stage covered with a layer of earth, the production left the cast “sweat-streaked, filthy and audibly panting” according to The Guardian’s Luke Jenning.

This spring, a re-staging of this ballet was set to tour the world, the result of an international co-production between Sadler’s Wells (UK), Pina Bausch Foundation (Germany), and École des Sables (Senegal). But then of course, the coronavirus pandemic hit, closing venues across the UK and the globe. However, just as the world went into lockdown, the Pan-African company – which comprises dancers from 14 African countries – decided to do one last rehearsal, on the beach near their base at École des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal.

Exchanging earth for sand, this rehearsal was captured by Florian Heinzen-Ziob, whose resulting film, entitled Dancing at Dusk, is now available to watch via Sadler’s Wells’ Digital Stage for a mere £5. Capturing the company’s incredible performance, the film represents a rare opportunity to see one of the greatest works in the history of dance, from the comfort of your home.

“We are so delighted to be able to bring this unique film to audiences across the world,” says Alistair Spalding, artistic director and chief executive of Sadler’s Wells. “Coronavirus has had a profound impact everywhere, and for us, has sadly resulted in the postponement of much of our work, including The Rite of Spring / common ground[s]. Despite this, the company seized the opportunity to capture this powerful, one-of-a-kind moment, which feels very much in harmony with the spirit of Pina Bausch. Perhaps now more than ever, this type of international collaboration is how Sadler’s Wells responds best to the difficult times we are in, bringing our artists and audiences together once again.”

Watch Dancing at Dusk here.