Concrete Expression

Individual Research

  • Walzer (1982)


How This Performance Was Created?

During the rehearsal of Walzer, Pina Bausch asked her ensemble members about the feeling they have when looking at an exhibit in a natural history museum, where displays a collection of stuffed animals and mounted insect. Pina Bausch wanted the members to re-create their feelings, the feelings they observe how the animals and insects are preserved. The image created out of the feelings need not to be a direct expression of the event. When the actors mount themselves on a wall, Pina Bausch interfered with their performance by saying that it is too illustrative and literal.

This rehearsal was designed to trigger a particular feeling of “discomfort“. According to the extract, the images aims to capture the feeling and express it in individual terms that are joined through an emotional connective. The aim of the rehearsal was to recapture the experience implicitly and to leave it open.

” There’s a little bit of realism there. A little piece of the world they came from. A bit of meadow or whatever. I mean, it’s different when they’re just stuck on, that’s OK somehow. But you get a real sense of it when you know it’s been mounted with a pin. A pin gives a different sort of awareness because you know a pin hurts.”

-Comments-> I remember that I said “I can’t understand what the performance is about” at Minju’s workshop, which was creating a piece of performance based on one’s own precious object. Now It makes me clear that what I couldn’t imply the story at that time. What the exercise requires to actors is not to create an illustrative performance, but an implicit performance.


Dayong’s exercise, in many ways, resembled Pina’s exercise. She asked us to :

  • Stand in a circle
  • Show how we contain loss and desire

We tended to show ‘loss’ by crouching, kneeling or showing our back. However, we were taught that showing loss through these kinds of movement is not only literal but likely to disengage  the audience with the performance. ‘Loss’ can be described more evocatively and presentational, as Sunhee tiptoed to show her own loss.

Then, Dayoung asked us to:

  • Pair up
  • Create a piece performance given that the theme is ‘ hope’

Irene and I tried to convey hope in an implicit form. We stood straight then we leaned sideward (opposite to each other). And we got close to each other as we drew each other like a magnet. We held hands using our peripheral vision, and repeated the same movement for 3 times. As the movement repeated, it became difficult to hold each other hands because we couldn’t know when and where to hold hands. In the performance, I found myself genuinely hoping to hold Irene’s hand. This authenticity also caused the audience to sense hope through our performance.

The last activity that DY organized was to:

  • Form a group or 4-5 people
  • Show despair

Lynn, Angela, Irene and I portrayed despair by showing us coming to the stage in cannon, showing me repeating a gesture while the rest collapsed, and showing me as a focal point confronting the audience.

Ms. mor commented that the quality of the group performance is lower than the couple work because we started to worry about how to coordinate and because we had to take more teammates into consideration.

The exercise, in my opinion, was productive enough to give directors an idea of their performance.


Climenhaga, R., Pina Bausch, Routledge, UK, 2009


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