Betroffenheit: The Show and the Emotions

“Betroffenheit” is a German emotion word. Max Wyman compared it to being gobsmacked. I might add nonplussed. But English and French words only capture part of the meaning of betroffenheit. Crystal Pite, a brilliant Canadian choreographer (Kidd Pivot productions), created an entire dance show that translates betroffenheit in several of the brain’s (verbal and non-verbal) languages.[1] Since seeing this very powerful show a couple of weeks ago, it has frequently come to my mind (a light perturbance); and I’ve discussed it with many people. I had been resisting the urge to blog about it, for lack of time. But reading Brett Terpstra’s blog post, “How’s it going?”, about the grief he is experiencing from losing his dog, Emma[2], led me to reply to his post with the following.
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