I went to see “Pina” at the Park Theatre on Cambie a few Tuesdays ago. Pina Bausch’s words, as quoted above, capture my own reaction to this film in that words cannot capture the response I had when viewing it. I will, however, try my best to articulate it, but first, some background information.
The late Pina Bausch was a modern dancer and choreographer in Germany. Many of her students traveled from all corners of the world to be privy to her teaching. Globally recognized and coveted for her vision in her time, Ms. Bausch is considered one of the great choreographers of our time.
The idea for the film developed manifested out of desire for Pina’s students to pay homage to their teacher in one last grand finale. A few members of the company are interviewed and then shown in a Bausch piece they’ve been in and what they have choreographed for Pina. What is especially unique about these clips is that the dancers are often depicted in unanticipated spaces. For instance, one couple dances at the periphery of a busy free way while others dance in a moving skytrain. These motley venues suggest Pina’s modus operandi of choice and allows the viewer to experience the legacy that Pina left behind.
During a delayed response to a psychology lecture I heard last year, “Pina” got me thinking about the concept of Mirror Neurons. The basic premise of mirror neurons is that it has been discovered that certain neuronic pathways in the brain can be triggered just by watching a certain activity. For example, watching dancers can, for some, have the same neurological response as actually dancing. I am always very perceptive of this phenomenon because whenever I view something highly kinesthetic like dancing, bungee jumping, etc. I often feel very much part of the activity rather than just a viewer.
Watching “Pina” and knowing that some of her dancers moved halfway across the globe to be able to feel experience Pina’s style, made me want to explore my own desire to dance. And I don’t think it was just the mirror neurons talking.