Dear Pina,




On June 30, 2009, German choreographer Pina Bausch died very suddenly. News of her death spread rapidly all around the world and artists everywhere profoundly felt the loss.

I was home working in my garden when I got the call, first from Annette and then Erika who had both just returned from visiting family in Germany − two friends who knew the impact this passage would have on me. Almost immediately, I began thinking about developing a performance acknowledging Pina’s huge influence, not only on the art world but on my own sensibilities.

To design a suitable tribute, my nonprofit Cradle to Grave Arts once again joined forces with the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts as presenting partner, and 34 technically proficient dancers who make northwestern Vermont their home are the ensemble. Of those 34 dancers, one met Pina Bausch in college and several saw her work, as did I.

My two choreographic partners − Amy LePage and Hanna Satterlee − and I began work on site this summer and are well on our way to creating Dear Pina, a dance/ theatre piece to be performed June 2012 at Shelburne Farm’s Breeding Barn − a vast, dirt-floor space in keeping with the grand scale of the work of this radical artist.

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    Barn Warm Up
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    Hannah notes
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    Memorial Auditorium
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    Hannah Teaching
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    Working on Spacing
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The Choreographers and Ensemble

The 2011 Auditions

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    Meg Pond - 1 
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    Emily Boedecker - 9 
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    Meg Pond - 5 
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    Emily Boedecker - 10 
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    Emily Boedecker - 12 
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    Meg Pond - 3 
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    Emily Boedecker - 16 
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    Emily Boedecker - 14 
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    Meg Pond - 2 
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    Emily Boedecker - 6 
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    Meg Pond - 4 
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    Emily Boedecker - 8 
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    Emily Boedecker - 7 
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    Meg Pond - 6 
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    Emily Boedecker - 21 

Photographers: Emily Boedecker & Meg Pond

The three of us (Amy LePage, Hanna Satterlee, Hannah Dennison) began work in spring of 2011, taking dances I had sketched out in my living room and enlarging them in the Contemporary Dance & Fitness Studio in Montpelier. In mid June, we went to the barn. It was startling, challenging and thoroughly engaging to shape and adapt the initial dances to this huge space. A lot changed in the many work times we had on site. Our focus was to make sections and fragments (or even whole ideas) to be presented at the audition in September, and to make that audition inclusive and non-competitive.

On September 25th, thirty-five dancers showed up at the barn on the most glorious day of late summer. For five hours, they were focused—learning and dancing the material. The great majority of them form the ensemble that begins rehearsals February 5th, 2012.
-Hannah Dennison

read more from the choreographers
read more from the ensemble