Innovative German modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch died on Tuesday aged 68, the theatre in the western city of Wuppertal where she was based told AFP on Tuesday.
"An unexpected death carried her away five days after being diagnosed with cancer," the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch said. "Only the Sunday before last she was on the stage with her company at the Wuppertal Opera House."
Born Josephine Bausch in July 1940, the choreographer made her name at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She was known for a highly personal style of dance with often exaggerated forms of expression and scenery.
The visual expressions of the dancers would often be in contrast to their movements, with fear, panic and the battle of the sexes among her favourite themes.
She divided audiences, however, with spectators walking out of performances in the early days of her career and her performances often attracting cheers and boos in equal measure.
Later this month she had been due to present a performance of the "The Seven Deadly Sins" by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Moscow.
The theatre said that Bausch died in hospital.
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