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In ‘Vollmond,’ the dancers are all wet

Pina Bausch, one of Europe’s most distinguished choreographers, died suddenly last summer, leaving an extraordinary troupe of performers and a repertoire of landmark works for beautiful bodies in motion.

Pina Bausch, one of Europe’s most distinguished choreographers, died suddenly last summer, leaving an extraordinary troupe of performers and a repertoire of landmark works for beautiful bodies in motion. Dominique Mercy, who’s been with her troupe since its founding in 1973, has taken over its direction along with Robert Sturm; he also performs a key role in the production now on view at BAM.

“Vollmond (Full Moon),” a two-hour, 2006 extravaganza for 12 dancers and a whole lot of rain, left audiences standing and screaming, but frankly, an hour of its coy behaviors would have been plenty.

This time around, on a stage bare but for a large boulder, the piece pits elegant women in evening gowns and pumps against dorky men in more casual garb; it’s like watching dark corners at an eighth-grade dance, beautifully designed by Peter Pabst (set) and Marion Cito (costumes).

Or like the scene at the waterfall the night before college graduation, when the moon is bright and inhibitions are discarded. The men dump bottles of water over the women, play hopscotch with goblets, chase each other around the stage, surf in the puddle created by the dramatic rainfall, get lessons in how to unhook a bra. The eclectic score ranges from Tom Waits to Alexander Balanescu.

The script, such as it is, mostly falls flat with utterly predictable ripostes. If you’ve never seen a Bausch production, check this one out; you may never get another chance to savor her unique theatrics. But if you’re a true aficionado, maybe you’d best savor your memories and give this one a pass.

 
 
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