Pina Bausch’s brilliant ‘Sweet Mambo’ comes to Athens for the first time

“I am trying to talk about the life that surrounds us, the existence for us. And the problem is that life cannot always be danced to traditional aesthetic forms,” the legendary German choreographer Pina Bausch once said to describe her views on art, dance and ultimately life. Bausch broke the boundaries between theatre and dance, becoming a catalyst for the course of European dance.

Retracing her work, the Onassis Cultural Center (OCC) brings on its main stage her penultimate work, “Sweet Mambo” (2008) on November 3-6.

In “Sweet Mambo”, six women and three men appear and disappear in an evocative landscape consisting of an infinite forest of ethereal fabric. They communicate through desire and fear, laughter and pain, loneliness and tenderness. In Bausch’s universe, linear narrative is superfluous: questions are more important than answers. Everything is possible and everything co-exists in what is a collage of human experiences. It is an absurd and tender universe, violent as well as melancholic: small everyday stories, a brief confession, an invisible gesture, a joyous laughter, a drowned sigh. In her absence, the great choreographer gives us a wink, urging us to explore and embrace the complexity of our existence.

The show is a production by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and carries the audience with the music of, among others, Barry Adamson, Rene Aubry, Brian Eno, Jun Miyake, Hazmat Modine, Portishead, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tom Waits.