David Mead

It has always been the intention of Tanztheater Wuppertal to start producing new work at some point. That point has arrived and the ensemble has invited Tim Etchells, Cecilea Bengolea and François Chaignaud and Theo Clinkhard to make new pieces with dancers from the ensemble, to be presented in a three-part show to mark the opening of the new season in September.

Etchells is a British writer, director and performer, and artistic director of Forced Entertainment. He works with the rules and systems governing language, and with texts created during the rehearsal process.

Cecilea Bengolea (originally from Argentina) and François Chaignaud (France) have been working together since 2005, and formed their own company in 2008. They gain inspiration from difference. Bengolea combines elements of club culture such as twerking and dubstep with influences from Jamaican dancehall. Chaignaud is a classically trained dancer who uses historical references as a starting point, with a focus on vocal polyphony.

Clinkhard, also from the UK, worked with various ensembles before founding his own company in 2012. He is interested in the communicative potential of the body and the ways in which dance can make empathies between dancers  – or between dancers and audience – visible.

The selection of choreographers was made in consultation with Alistair Spalding, chief executive and artistic director of Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London; Myriam De Clopper, artistic director of deSingel in Antwerp; and Stefan Hilterhaus of PACT Zollverein, who has devised a strategic plan for coming years in close collaboration with the ensemble. That plan includes a Pina Bausch Centre in the heart of Wuppertal, one of thirteen key projects forming part of the Wuppertal 2025 strategic plan.

Spalding said it was “an honour and a privilege” to be allowed to devise the new, mixed programme for the coming season.

“Our aim in devising this programme was to give the dancers of Tanztheater Wuppertal the possibility of a variety of different experiences in the creation period. The artists that we have chosen come from a broad range of backgrounds and experience and they will all bring their own specific approaches to the process. We are looking forward to seeing that process evolve and the results in September.”

Alongside the new works, in 2015-16 Tanztheater Wuppertal will present ten different pieces by Pina Bausch, seven of them in Wuppertal, and will be touring to St Pölten, Antwerp, Monaco, London, Adelaide, Paris, Amsterdam and, for the first time ever, to Luxemburg and Wellington.

The performances include open air shows of Café Müller and Sacre du Printemps at the Arènes de Nîmes, alongside the Orchestre des Siècles.

The season also sees a new production of one Pina Bausch’s more recent works by another ensemble, directed by dancers from the Tanztheater Wuppertal. The Bayrisches Staatsballett from Munich will be adding Für die Kinder von gestern heute und morgen from 2002 to its repertoire, a Pina Bausch Foundation project in close collaboration with the Tanztheater Wuppertal. The premiere will be 3 April 2016, the opening night of the annual BallettFestwoche in the Nationaltheater, Munich.

Six new dancers will be joining the ensemble for the coming season: from Canada/Sweden, Emma Barrowman, previously with the Staatsballett München; Michael Carter, previously a member of the Compañia Nacional de Danza, Madrid; from the US Jonathan Fredrickson, previously with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; and three graduates of the Folkwang University of the Arts, Blanca Noguerol Ramírez from Spain, Julian Stierle from Germany and Tsai-wei Tien from Taiwan.