Arien (Arias) 

First performed May 12, 1979

Photo: © Jochen Viehoff
Used with permission

Realism as processed in Miss Bausch's artistic blender has interesting results. The idea of filling a stage surface with water seems like a gimmick. But by the end, we are so used to dancers sloshing through the water, getting their evening gowns wet, even gliding on a rubber raft or holding a party in this huge puddle, that we barely take notice of the fact that they are completely drenched at the end.

Like previous Bausch pieces seen here, the decor - again by Rolf Borzik - creates a mood-setting and metaphorical environment. Water has symbolism of different kinds. But here it is used not so much as an aquatic universe as a physical property to affect the dancers' movements and how we perceive them.

Thus after the dancers play children's games of various sorts and the men dress up the women in fantastic make-believe costumes, the inner truth of a person is blatantly revealed when one of the women with a painted face rushes under a downpour - the red makeup streams down her face and onto her chest.

Anna Kisselgoff
The New York Times
3 October 1985


No one can deny the theatrical daring of Bausch's visions. No one should belittle her concern for the examination of profound socio-erotic and socioaesthetic relations in a sick and sarcastic world. No one can devalue the stamina, dedication, individuality and character of her dancers.

Some observers, however, soon tire of having to unravel all those symbolic knots. Marathon navel-gazing isn't everyone's idea of a collective water sport. A little overstatement, no matter how imaginative, how fluid and how bizarre, can go a long, long way.

Some impatient, obviously unenlightened participants -- this one, for instance -- can enjoy and endure only so much psychic water-treading.

Martin Bernheimer
Los Angeles Times
3 October 1985

By Mimi Tashiro ©1999, Stanford University


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