Just over a year after becoming the director of the Tanztheater Wuppertal, Adolphe Binder was dismissed following a special meeting of the company’s advisory board on Friday. In a statement, the board said the decision had “unfortunately become necessary to restore this unique cultural institution’s ability to operate at full capacity.”
No further explanation was offered. The Tanztheater Wuppertal, which was led by the choreographer Pina Bausch until her death from cancer in 2009, has continued to perform Bausch’s dance theater pieces throughout the world, to continued acclaim. In May and June, the company performed new works by the Greek choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou and the Norwegian choreographer Alan Lucien Oyen — the first full-length pieces created for the troupe since Bausch’s death. Both received generally positive reviews.
The commissions came from Ms. Binder, whose first season remained otherwise focused on works by Bausch, including a revival of her “Seven Deadly Sins” (1976).
Ms. Binder, previously the director of the GöteborgsOperan Danskompani, was the fourth director to run the Tanztheater Wuppertal since Bausch’s death, and the first to have had no direct relationship with the choreographer or her works. (The longtime Wuppertal member Dominique Mercy ran the company with Bausch’s assistant and rehearsal director Robert Sturm until 2013, when they were succeeded by Lutz Förster, another veteran company member.)
The board’s statement also announced the departure, in December, of the troupe’s administrative director, Dirk Hesse, who has worked in various capacities for the Tanztheater Wuppertal since 1987. Ms. Binder’s dismissal before the announcement of a new season along with Mr. Hesse’s departure suggest serious turbulence at Tanztheater Wuppertal.
The statement said that a “transitional solution appropriate to the artistic demands of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch” would be found, and that “a process of critical reflection and further development” would be set in motion. Alistair Spalding, the director of Sadler’s Wells in London, where the company performs each year — and where the new works by Mr. Papaioannou and Mr. Oyen will be performed next year — will be part of a committee of experts put together to advise on the company’s future and a new artistic director by the end of the year.
The job description, the statement reads, “should include preservation and care of the artistic heritage and works of Pina Bausch as well as the artistic evolution of the company as an important contemporary dance ensemble.”
Neither Ms. Binder nor the Tanztheater Wuppertal responded to requests for comment.