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© Oliver Look

Nelken (Carnations), a defining piece by Pina Bausch, is scheduled to make its appearance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre for Valentine's Day, marking its comeback after an absence of nearly two decades.

Nelken (Carnations) first premiered in 1982. Within a vast field of 8000 carnations, the ensemble navigates through seasons, transitions between chairs, and showcases virtuosity with a nod to classical forms. The performance conveys a worldview that is both tragic and cruel, yet tender and brimming with a humanity that resonates with audiences worldwide. Representing an almost 30-year collaboration between Pina Bausch and set designer Peter Pabst, Nelken seeks to establish an otherworldly atmosphere by covering the stage with carnations.

Pina Bausch's transformative influence revolutionized the fusion of dance and theatre, giving rise to Tanztheater Wuppertal. Having presented Bausch's works multiple times over the years, Sadler’s Wells has a longstanding connection with this production. Directed by Boris Charmatz, this revival promises to be a beautiful challenge and an ideal way to spend Valentine’s Day this year.


Taylor Jha is a writer and curator based in Brixton.


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