Avant-garde German choreographer Pina Bausch dies

Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:16pm EDT
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By Sarah Marsh

BERLIN (Reuters) - German choreographer Pina Bausch, whose work is credited with revolutionizing the language of modern dance, died on Tuesday after being diagnosed with cancer only days earlier. She was 68 years old.

Bausch, artistic director of the Wuppertal Dance Theater, earned world renown for her avant-garde performances and choreographies mixing dance, sound and fragmented narrative.

"Just the Sunday before last, she was standing on stage with her company in the Wuppertal Opera house," the dance-theater company, which she had led since 1973, said on its website.

It said Pausch had been diagnosed with cancer only five days before her death.

"Unlike almost no other, she broke out of traditional structures in dance, modernized classical ballet and coined her own, idiosyncratic style," German Vice-Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement.

Bausch choreographed and staged her own pieces, such as Cafe Mueller and Viktor, and performed in films by iconic film directors Federico Fellini and Pedro Almodovar.

The German choreographer had been preparing to work together with director Wim Wenders on what was being called the first 3-D dance feature, a project named "Pina."

From Paris, where Bausch often performed, the city's Mayor Bertrand Delanoe and France's Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand issued statements of condolence.   Continued...