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The Makers of Modern Dance in Germany

Rudolf Laban, Mary Wigman, Kurt Jooss

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The Makers of Modern Dance in Germany


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Rudolf Laban, Mary Wigman, Kurt Jooss

Part I begins with Rudolf Laban (1879-1958), credited with being one of the most important innovators and guiding forces of modern dance. It continues with two of his most gifted and influential students, Mary Wigman, who became the foremost choreographer and exponent of German expressionist dance, and Kurt Jooss, who was Laban's assistant and lead dancer.. Jooss later established his own company Ballets Jooss, with great success until forced to leave Germany for political reasons in 1933. Part I concludes with preparations for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Part II begins with the 1936 Olympics and the cancellation by Josef Goebbels of Laban's massive opening choreographic piece The Spring Wind and the New Joy and Laban's consequent downfall and escape from Germany. World War II finds Laban and Jooss in England while Wigman remains in Germany only to experience of the destruction of her school in air raid. The post war period focuses on Jooss's return to Germany and the Folkwang School; and Wigman's eventual move to West Germany and return to choreography. Jooss who has outlived the others has the last word.

Narrated by Isa Partsch-Bergsohn. Fascinating, never-before-seen archival films and stills of the founders of modern dance are described by Isa Bergsohn, a student of both Wigman and Jooss. Her interviews on film include Kurt Jooss, his daughter Anna Markard and the distinguished dance historians Marion North, Valerie Preston-Dunlop, Ann Hutchinson Guest and Hedwig Müller.

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