A Letter to Pina Bausch

Dear Pina,

I am writing you today before my premiere of “Notes to Pina Bausch”, which I dance solo on stage.

You will certainly be glad to hear that I am not alone on the stage, I dance together with you and your wonderful dancers, featured in the film“The Plaint of the Empress” that you have created. In your letter to me in 2002, you wrote:”let us both keep on dancing together”. So at this evening we continue dancing together. Surely you remember how we danced together at Juilliard an Indian dance by La Mery and the modern dance of Doris Humphrey. You were such a wonderful dancer.

We first met in New York at the audition to Juilliard. Young, almost children, you came from Germany and I came from Israel and we immediately created a mystical bond between us. People often confused between the two of us, and turned to me like I was you. I always admired you, even only as a dancer, and then, when I discovered your Dance Theater, I realized your greatness. You invited me to appear in your theater with my dance group and it was a great experience. But most of all I loved meeting with you after the amazing shows in Israel. One night you told me that the next day you are going to meet your family in Acre. I was shocked, but did not ask any questions. Two years later we met again and I met your family (which is Israeli) and I realized that in fact you are Jewish. You did not know it at all. This was revealed to you, and to me, only recently. Perhaps this was the reason for the unusual connection between us. A contact which is a mystical secret. I had no such relationship with anyone in the world. We were twin sisters, soul mates.

 I will never forget how we spent the whole day at the Derwish store. You almost bought the whole store. I was glad for that, since the rumors were that in your early life, you did not have any apartment furniture, only a folding bed. You punished yourself because you felt guilty about what the Germans did. You thought that you were German. You refused to eat. You were lonely and skinny. You wrote me in your letter, that I handed you a hand in a time of trouble. I remember the amazing outfit you bought me as a gift, which I keep to this day. You wanted me to come manage and teach at the school of Kurt Jooss and manage their dance group. I already had a flight ticket, but in a night dream I was told that I could not go to these forests, where my family was murdered. I got up in the morning, called you and said that I was not coming. You said “Please come, please come,” but I could not. It was when I left the Bat Sheva Dance Company and started my own theater.

In one of your visits to Israel we were walking together in the Jerusalem market. You wanted to buy special clothes for your dancers, and now I dance on stage with these clothes that are in your movie. You will be pleased to hear that two weeks ago I was invited to Saint Petersburg, to inaugurate two studios in your name and in mine. In a moving ceremony I received the key to the studio lock. One studio is called “Pina”, after you, the other is called “Rina”. Our names were embroidered in a wonderful handmade work. The ceremony was solemn and very beautiful, and the studio is open to those that in the future will be brave and strong enough to build special worlds, and realize their dreams through dance.

 Pina, you were my supportive twin sister. I will never forget that during the war you called me every morning to see how I feel and to encourage me. I remember that you asked me to take you to Rabin Square on Independence Day, so we can hold hands and dance to the sound of Israeli songs. It was so weird, I did not understand what was happening to you then. You and I did not know then that you are Jewish. We did not know that your aunt survived the Holocaust under Mengele. And to this day I do not know how you and your mother survived. At the same time, your dancing gives the feeling that you are communicating about the Holocaust.

 Do you think that this evening that I created as a tribute to you and to the great love between us, is a kind of soul-searching about something we were missing? It is hard for me to say. I just know that this evening comes from the deepest sources of my being, from true roots, and I am so delighted to dance it. It is an encounter between my artistic materials and your materials through the amazing film you created. I dance the piece “Remember Me But Forget My Fate” from Dido and Aeneas, and tell you that I and all the world will remember you forever.

As the dancer, choreographer and artistic director of the institution in Saint Petersburg said: “I dedicate these studios not only to the legends but to their youth friendship and eternity. I wish that all Russian dancers hear this story and fulfill their most courageous and wonderful ideas in these studios”.

I wanted to tell you that this process – to create a dance in your honor, started with a poem by Hadassah Tal, that she brought me and said: “Dance with them.” And so it was. I am dancing them together with your images that appear in your film, and all the other images, some of which you have created in the green forests of Germany. I will end this letter with a cliche: Pina, you are a great spirit and I will always carry you through my dancing, in my body and heart. As you said: “Dance, dance. If not we are lost.” We will not get lost. We will continue dancing together, both of us.



July 6, 2014