This book considers dancer, teacher, and choreographer Mary Wigman, a leading innovator in Expressionist dance whose radical explorations of movement and dance theory are credited with expanding the scope of dance as a theatrical art. Now reissued, this book combines:
- a full account of Wigman’s life and work
- an analysis of her key ideas
- detailed discussion of her aesthetic theories, including the use of space as an "invisible partner" and the transcendent nature of performance
- a commentary on her key works, including Hexentanz and The Seven Dances of Life
- an extensive collection of practical exercises designed to provide an understanding of Wigman’s choreographic principles and her uniquely immersive approach to dance.
As a ﬁrst step towards critical understanding, and as an initial exploration before going on to further, primary research, Routledge Performance Practitioners are unbeatable value for today’s student.
Table of Contents
MARY WIGMAN: A LIFE IN DANCE
Prologue: why Mary Wigman? Introduction
The beginning of a life in dance Dalcroze and the garden city of Hellerau Return to ritual on the mountain of truth Dancing Dada
The crisis year
The gilded and tarnished twenties The First Dancers’ Congress
The Second Dancers’ Congress The Third Dancers’ Congress Coming to the United States Der Weg (The Path)
Returning to the new Germany Dancing in Dresden, 1933–1942 Leaving Dresden
MARY WIGMAN’S WRITINGS ON THE DANCE: A PHILOSOPHY EMBODIED
The Language of Dance Philosophical context Why a new dance?
Spannung and Entspannung Space
Time, music, rhythm
The Mary Wigman Book
What did Wigman mean by ecstasy and form? Apollonian and Dionysian
Ideas on composition and the choreographic theme
Who has inherited the emotive dance lineage of Mary Wigman?
MARY WIGMAN AS CHOREOGRAPHER: CHOOSING THE FOCUS
Solo as signature: Hexentanz The mask as doorway Hexentanz: a description Group dance
The Seven Dances of Life (1921) Choric dance
Totenmal (1930) Final solo concert
Class at the Mary Wigman School Discovering the eloquent body
Wigman movement qualities in practice What makes the dance?
Dance as language
Speaking beyond the individual body
Composition: improvisation and developing a theme
One ﬁnal theme
Mary Anne Santos Newhall is Professor Emerita of Dance at the University of New Mexico, where she also served as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Fine Arts. She is also Research Director for the American Dance Legacy Initiative at Brown University.