Visionary choreographer Pina Bausch died today at age 68, five days after being diagnosed with cancer, Germany’s Wuppertal Dance Theater announced today. The theater didn’t reveal the cause of death, except to call it “unexpectedly fast.” Bausch’s strange modern style of dance couldn’t be taught in a classroom, but it left an unforgettable impression, writes Judith Mackrell in the Guardian.
“There was a combination of terror, beauty, strangeness, and even bawdy comedy in the worlds that she and her designers invented,” Mackrell writes. Bausch’s productions, though choreographed, weren’t even primarily about dance. They combined music, movement, speech, and striking imagery, giving her productions a “monumental magic” that inspired a devoted following. Her death leaves the dance world a challenge: It must keep her work alive onstage.