German Dance Prize 2023: Four dancers honored – Culture

Another honor for the much-respected Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch (TTW): Malou Airaudo, Jo Ann Endicott, Lutz Förster and Dominique Mercy share it German Dance Prize 2023, the division’s most important award. The quartet belongs to the first generation of dancers in the ensemble, which was founded in 1973, and played a key role in raising its profile. As stated in the notification from the awarding umbrella organization dance Germany means, the jury honored not only the lifetime achievements of the dancers, but also “their untiring, individual commitment to dance to this day”. The four former TTW members not only shaped key roles in the repertoire, but also contributed to the survival of the works after Bausch’s death in 2009 by passing on their knowledge. Dominique Mercy and Lutz Förster also managed the company at times. A conflicting mission, because the collective mourned the loss of the founding mother for a long time.

In the meantime, emancipation has been successful, as Florian Heinzen-Ziob’s impressive cinema documentary “Dancing Pina” recently proved. The filmmaker accompanied Malou Airaudo and Jo Ann Endicott in rehearsals of Bausch’s “Sacre” and “Iphigenie auf Tauris” – and showed two artists who have freed themselves from the shadow of the dance theater icon and convey the substance of their pieces with verve to much younger colleagues . In this respect, the award is not only for four great stage personalities, but also sends a signal for the importance of the Bausch legacy in the contemporary scene.

Also of historical importance is the teacher and ballet master Peter Appel, who received the award for his life’s work. A groundbreaking decision, because the almost ninety-year-old Appel has always spoken out against any kind of drill and pressure in training. The honor for special developments in dance goes to the visually impaired performer Sophia Neises for her intensive commitment to barrier-free access to dance art. The presentation of the prizes, which are endowed with 5000 euros per head, will take place on October 14th in Essen.

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