Josephine Endicott
"I went wild with rage, insane"

Australian dancer Josephine Ann Endicott is one of the treasurers of Pina Bausch’s legacy. And she is a great storyteller. Fifty years of Tanztheater Wuppertal leave no trace on anyone. Humour is the least it takes to be celebrated now with the …


In the autumn of 2023, I was awarded the prestigious German Dance Prize together with my long-time colleagues Dominique Mercy, Malou Airaudo and Lutz Förster for “50 years of life’s work, achievement, and commitment.” The festive award ceremony took place on 14 October.

Josephine Ann Endicott in Pina Bausch’s “Kontakthof” at the Dance Award Gala in Essen 2023

Ursula Kaufmann

The presenters suggested for the Laudation speeches included the Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German filmmaker, author and screenwriter Wim Wenders, former German politician Norbert Lammert, well-known Wuppertal-born feminist, journalist, author and publisher Alice Schwarzer, and well-known German actress, film, and dancer colleague Mechthild Grossmann. It was quite funny for four individuals who always made critical decisions together to try to identify who will present the awards. I was happy that our final Laudation-choice was Mechthild Grossmann, who not only knew all four of these “mad” people but had worked with us all as well.

Josephine Endicott

The laudatory speech by Mechthild Grossmann

Ursula Kaufmann

Mechthild was the only German actress officially engaged by Pina for Tanztheater, either on a continual basis as guest or in a full contract, from as early as the 1970s. Pina and Mechthild were closely linked or perhaps friends. From 1976 until 2017 Mechthild stayed connected to the dance theater proving to be irreplaceable and unforgettable in her roles. These included her lustful fairytale story in “Macbeth”, singing her dazzling, unmistakable “Surabaya Johnny” in a Brecht/Weill evening in 1980, and in Walzer with her famous text “ein Weinchen und ein Zigarettchen – aber noch nicht nach Hause” (a little wine and another cigarette, but let’s not go home yet.) She was one of the public’s darlings with her dark, husky voice, as if she had been out all night drinking or smoking, which she hadn’t been, and not to forget her gorgeous shapely legs and thick curly hair. I loved watching Mechthild perform. She truly put 100% of herself into whatever she did in Pina’s pieces.

What follows is not a memoir as usual after one has received a great prize and hopes that the world will want to look back for a moment. What follows is a tragedy, a desperate love, a homage to Pina, of course, and a seemingly endless struggle for dance theatre after Pina’s death. In short: a pretty entertaining read in the size of a colourful paperback from rainy Wuppertal.

Read on …

Jo and Pina – Chapters of changes


After Josephine Endicott left Australia in 1973, she did not imagine she would make her whole career in another country. Sadly, that talented young girl was soon forgotten in her country until she appeared in several of Pina Bausch’s pieces in Tanztheater Wuppertal’s first Australian tour in 1982. Over the next fifty years she spent all but six years in Pina’s life.

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