Looking backwards in order to be able to move forwards in an analysis of Pina Bausch's "Bluebeard" (1977)

Sophia Preston

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    A detailed analysis of the relationships between the music and movement in Pina Bausch’s 1977 work Bluebeard: on listening to a tape recording of Béla Bartók’s opera “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle” reveals many layers of both structure and meaning to the work. Overarching, or possibly underpinning, these layers is another, “mirror” or “arch” structure in which crucial moments of the first half of the dance reappear in the second, in reverse order and often also with reversed gender and/or reversed direction. Thus, as the dance progresses through a narrative, the movement, and also the key structure of the music, travel backwards through the material already seen and heard in the first half.In talking about “meanings” and considering the “work”, as some extant, reified “thing” I am, of course, reverting to an analytical methodology that reverts back through the last twenty years of the development of Dance scholarship, and beyond. My argument, however, is that it is only through a detailed structural analysis of Bluebeard that I have been able to identify more than the immediate surface layer of the emotional journey of the work; it is only by looking backwards in interpretive strategy that I have been able to move forwards in my understanding of the piece.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)108-113
    JournalProceedings of the Society of Dance History Scholars 31st annual conference, Looking backwards, moving forwards Skidmore College, USA June 11-15, 2008
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2008


    • Dance Analysis
    • Pina Bausch
    • "Bluebeard"
    • Mirror Structure


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