Choreographic structure of "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" by Pina Bausch.

by Renee
(Allendale, Michigan, U.S.A.)


"Dance of the Blessed Spirits" by Pina Bausch. What structure did Pina Bausch use in this dance segment?

Comments for Choreographic structure of "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" by Pina Bausch.

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Oct 17, 2012
Maria's reply
by: Maria

Dear Renee,

This smells to me like I'm doing your homework... I hope not ..., ;--)!

Anyway, I'll make a brief and rough approximation of this choreographic structure for you, expecting that you'll do the rest of the work.

I see a rounded dramatic structure here that is constructed both with the group of dancers as well as with the music. The piece starts with the image of the whole group of women from which a soloist comes off and it ends with a soloist that enters the group again to construct the same image to finish (however it shows a slight change in the position of the dancers).

The excerpt has three main parts that are again all noticeable both in the music and the choreography:

1. Larghetto (Tempo: 62 bpm); starts at 0:16' of the video.
2. Largo (Tempo: 40 bpm); starts at 3:12' of the video.
3. Repetition of the Larghetto in an abbreviated version; starts at 6:31' of the video.

Concerning the group variations, we can see the following:

1. Larghetto:
- Canon between a soloist and the group unison
- Counterpoint between a soloist and the group unison
- Canon of a trio that counterpoints the group unison, ending with the whole group in unison
- Counterpoints and canons of trios, duos, and soloists at alternate moments
- Repetition of the very first canon between a soloist and the group unison of this larghetto

2. Largo:
- First female/male duo counterpointing the group unison
-Second female/male duo counterpointing the group unison

Transition: soloist counterpointing the group unison

3. Repetition of the Larghetto in an abbreviated version.
- Canon between a trio and the group unison
- Counterpoint between a soloist and the group unison, ending with the whole group in unison
- Canon between a soloist and the group unison

As you can see, there are just a few main choreographic phrases that are used to create the whole group variations.

There's a lot more to say about this piece, but that is, to my eyes, a rough and fast description of its structure.

If you are working on some choreographic analysis, we would all love to read the written material you produce. You can share some of it by adding it in the comments form of this same thread. If this is homework indeed, you could add your little grain of sand by letting all your classmates know that here's an example of choreographic structure analysis, where they can compare, pick up ideas or learn something.

These types of things are really useful for all of us, choreographers. It will be great if you all share your works with us, just as I did. exists for this purpose. It will be great if we all use it!

Remember our page about dramatic structures for dance. It may also help:

Movement Dramaturgy

Warm regards,


Mar 25, 2013
Dance of the Blessed Spirits
by: Victor Meza

The analysis of the structure of this choreography is relatively simple,it´s in concord with the music structure,basically:A-B-A form,one of the most simple and strong forms mainly used in barroque music,for the part A larghetto,Bausch uses female dancers evolving in groups and soloists,for the part B largo,partnering in first scene coinciding with the appearance of the flute with female groups in counterpoints so the orchestra,and with the return of part A larghetto,returns the female evolvings too,nevertheless these simply form contains a rich and so smart evolution of movements since few phrases,it´s the Bausch style of course,the repetition of the same movements but in differents fronts,differents times,differents dancer groups,the abbilitty of the choreographer is fantastic,still more if we see all the opera (this choreography is only a part of the Bausch´s work in the opera "Orpheus and Eurydice" of Gluck) these style doesn´t let the audience get quiet,every time means a different reading,specially because the movements used are very poetics in accord with the so beautiful music and the theme of the choreography: the parade of the blessed spiritis in the death kingdom where Orpheus must looking for his loved Eurydice.Particulary I did my own version of "Orpheus and Eurydice" for the National Ballet of Perú ( and,fortunately for me,when I was creating my choreography I didn´t see the Bausch´s work,in other way I think I hadn´t done it,obviously the Bausch´s work is superior and I hadn´t could avoid to have an totally influence almost copying her.I admire SO much the Bausch´s works,she is one the most importants choreographers of these times and really I regret she is not with us creating more.

Mar 25, 2013
Reply for Victor
by: Maria

Hey Victor,

Thanks a lot for your contribution.

Great having you around.


Feb 14, 2014
Children's contemporary
by: Anonymous

Wow I'm a new choreographer and found this subject fascinating..I would live to know more about the beginning of choreographing with children in mind but to a contemporary themed piece

Jul 12, 2015
Great work
by: Lisa

Wow… That was one wonderful piece of dance and I really loved it to the very bits. The lighting in the stage has also played a very crucial role in making the dance look so unrealistic and out of the world.

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