Even the most autocratic choreographer recognizes that creating a dance is a collaborative process. Pina Bausch went further than most; shed greet the dancers attending the first rehearsal of a new work with questions, rather than steps to be learned. They would create the piece together from the ground up, building from individual memories and everyday experiences. Bauschs signature approach introduced and married elements of theater to modern dance, spawning bristling, human-scale performances. The series To the Limit: Pina Bausch on Film salutes the great German dancer and choreographer, who died scant days after she was discovered to have cancer last summer. Chantal Akermans rarely seen 1983 video, On Tour with Pina Bausch (Un Jour Pina a Demandé), which launches the series tonight with Fernando Lopes Lissabon-Wuppertal-Lisboa (1998), provides a graceful yet heightened close-up of the artist and various gifted accomplices. Bauschs art tapped into a range of 20th-century European movements, including Expressionism, Dadaism, and existentialism. That each would resonate with a woman who went through adolescence amid the shock and destruction of postwar Germany is hardly surprising.
May 6-30, 7:30 p.m., 2010