In the shadow of the Reich: modern dance in Hitler's Germany.Liebe Hanya: Mary Wigman's letters to Hanya Holm Hanya Holm (3 March 1893, Worms, Germany – 3 November 1992, New York City) was the professional name of Johanna Eckert, dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Holm was one of the pioneers of modern dance. Compiled and edited by Claudia Gitelman. Introduction by Hedwig Muller. Translated by Marianne Forster and Catherine T. Klingler. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press The University of Wisconsin Press (or UW Press), founded in 1936, is a university press that is part of the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States. It published under its own name and the imprint The Popular Press. . 200 pages, paper, illus. $29.95.
Liebe Hanya ("Dear Hanya") chronicles the relationship between the radical German dance pioneer Mary Wigman Mary Wigman (1886-1973), born Karoline Sophie Marie Wiegmann, was a German dancer, choreographer, and instructor of dance. Credited for innovation of expressionist dance, and pioneer of modern dance in Germany. (1886-1973) and her disciple Hanya Holm (1893-1992) over a fifty-year period. The two women wine mentor and protegee pro·té·gée
A woman or girl whose welfare, training, or career is promoted by an influential person.
[French, feminine of protégé, protégé; see protégé.]
Noun 1. , colleagues, and, at one time, romantic rivals. They were essential to each other's existence artistically, emotionally, and financially. Holm, once a teaching assistant at Wigman's school in Dresden, became the harbinger of German expressionism expressionism, term used to describe works of art and literature in which the representation of reality is distorted to communicate an inner vision. The expressionist transforms nature rather than imitates it. in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of by directing the Wigman outpost there.
In this book one gleans how popular Wigman's intense and dramatic new form of dance was, with overflowing classes and performance dates all over Europe. At the height of her career, in 1936, she staged the Pageant of Youth for the Nazi-sponsored Berlin Olympics. That same year Holm responded to American antipathy toward Germany by deleting Wigman's name from the New York school New York school
Painters who participated in the development of contemporary art, particularly Abstract Expressionism, in or around New York City in the 1940s and '50s. .
During the 1930s the Nazis demanded that choreographers dismiss their Jewish dancers. While some, like Kurt Jooss, refused and left the country, Wigman complied and stayed. But we learn from Claudia Gitelman's excellent footnotes that Wigman helped two Jewish students escape. She was later harassed by the Nazis, who learned that some of the contributors to her school were Jewish. Her career languished, and the development of Ausdruckstanz (Expressionist dance) in Europe was halted.
In her letters to Holm, not one word is uttered about the destruction of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis. When, after World War II, Wigman bemoans the "fate of a people," she means the German people in their post-war poverty and destitution des·ti·tu·tion
1. Extreme want of resources or the means of subsistence; complete poverty.
2. A deprivation or lack; a deficiency.
Noun 1. . And you wonder how she could be so insensitive when, in 1951, having trouble getting a visa to enter the U.S., she complains to Pola Nirenska (the addenda contain letters to Nirenska and Louise Kloepper), a Jewish dancer who fled Germany, "it is truly a heavy load to be a German."
As Holm's star rose--she became a major modern dance choreographer and teacher as well as the choreographer of blockbuster musicals My Fair Lady' and Kiss Me, Kate--Wigman's fell. Over the years the older woman's tone shifted from demanding (wanting hard facts on the school's finances) to grateful (appreciative of any morsel mor·sel
1. A small piece of food.
2. A tasty delicacy; a tidbit.
3. A small amount; a piece: a morsel of gossip.
4. of news of the American dance scene). Throughout these five decades (1920 to 1971), she closed each letter with a profusion of affectionate wishes.
Through this collection we learn many things about Wigman: that she criticized Martha Graham for the "rigid aristocracy" of her classes, that she had trouble with ballet dancers ("they don't improvise"), that her servant called her "my lion," and that she treasured creativity above all else.
It is often said that modern dance is a uniquely American art form. But in its early days, it received, at the very least, a shot of adrenaline from German expressionism. Liebe Hanya, with the informative contributions of Gitelman and Hedwig Muller, puts a personal stamp on this chapter of history.--WENDY PERRON Per´ron
n. 1. (Arch.) An out-of-door flight of steps, as in a garden, leading to a terrace or to an upper story; - usually applied to mediævel or later structures of some architectural pretensions.
The Makers of Modern Dance in Germany: Rudolf Laban, Mary Wigman, Kurt Jooss By Isa Partsch-Bergsohn and Harold Bergsohn. Hightstown, NJ: Princeton Book Co. 2003. Book, 128 pages, paper, illus. $19.95. 2 videos, 60 minutes each. $39.95 each.
Dancegoers just beginning to think about the past will appreciate this book, and those already hooked on history will appreciate the accompanying videos. The book covers twentieth century modern dance in Central Europe concisely, describes its leading personalities, and sums up their stance in society. Without oversimplifying, the authors cut through the entanglements Is of Germanic dance theory in order to extract the core ideas. However, there's no denying that the Bergsohns--Isa Partsch-Bergsohn was trained in Germany at that time--are partisan. They claim that Rudolf van Laban (1879-1958) was the key initiator of modern dance in Europe, and that the two other originators, Mary Wigman and Kurt Jooss, worked as his disciples. It would be more accurate to say that Laban's role was that of catalyst, providing a unifying vision for dancers who preceded him as well as his contemporaries.
The cataclysmic cat·a·clysm
1. A violent upheaval that causes great destruction or brings about a fundamental change.
2. A violent and sudden change in the earth's crust.
3. A devastating flood. rise of the Nazi regime interrupted the free development of modern dance in continental Europe. The Bergsohns discuss the changing relations of Laban, Wigman, and Jooss to the Nazi party, and give a brief glimpse into their post-war careers and legacies.
The videos go over much the same ground, but in more detail and from several perspectives. Why, though, is there so little movement? A few exercises make it onto the screen, but there's just a bit of Jooss' masterpiece, The Green Table, and nothing of Wigman's. For the general dancegoer dance·go·er
One who attends dance performances.
dancegoing adj. there may be too much of talking heads, yet learning about these dance-makers and their personal as well as political struggles is valuable.--GEORGE JACKSON
Hitler's Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third Reich By Lilian Karina and Marion Kant, translated by Jonathan Steinberg. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. 2003. 400 pages, clothbound cloth·bound
Having a cover of thick paper boards covered with cloth. Used of a book. , illus. $75.00.
It's disheartening dis·heart·en
tr.v. dis·heart·ened, dis·heart·en·ing, dis·heart·ens
To shake or destroy the courage or resolution of; dispirit. See Synonyms at discourage. when someone seizes our idols flora the pedestals we've place them on and dashes them to the floor. Hitler's Dancers, co-authored by Lilian Karina and Marion Kant, does just that. When the book first came out in Europe it instigated a wave of over seventy reviews, the majority of them scorning it as the vengeful ranting of narrow-minded outsiders. Dancers and critics fought against the authors' findings in an effort to restore the tarnished reputations of dance idols such as Mary Wigman and Rudolf yon Laban.
The book includes Lillian Karina's memoir of her experiences as a dancer during the rise of fascism, a critique of the politicization of German modern dance under the Nazi regime, and a case study of the Nazis' suppression of jazz and swing. Perhaps the most valuable section is a collection of documents that, peppered with "Heil Hitler," give evidence of the extent to which Laban and Wigman complied with Nazi directives (for example, to dismiss their Jewish dancers), in the early 1930s.
In a culture that emphasized the superiority, of its people's physique and artistry, the blossoming of dance as an art form was all too easily exploited for Nazi purposes. Although the book's original title, Dancing Under the Swastika (Tanz unterm Hakenkreuz), more accurately represents its contents, it makes an invaluable contribution to the reexamination re·ex·am·ine also re-ex·am·ine
tr.v. re·ex·am·ined, re·ex·am·in·ing, re·ex·am·ines
1. To examine again or anew; review.
2. Law To question (a witness) again after cross-examination. of dance in Hitler's Germany.--MEGAN WACHA WACHA Wisconsin Automated Clearing House Association (Germantown, WI)