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New German Dance Studies

Susan Manning

Publication Year: 2012

New German Dance Studies offers fresh histories and theoretical inquiries that resonate across fields of the humanities. Sixteen essays range from eighteenth-century theater dance to popular contemporary dances in global circulation. In an exquisite trans-Atlantic dialogue that demonstrates the complexity and multilayered history of German dance, American and European scholars and artists elaborate on definitive performers and choreography, focusing on three major thematic areas: Weimar culture and its afterlife, the German Democratic Republic, and recent conceptual trends in theater dance._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Maaike Bleeker, Franz Anton Cramer, Kate Elswit, Susanne Franco, Susan Funkenstein, Jens Richard Giersdorf, Yvonne Hardt, Sabine Huschka, Claudia Jeschke, Marion Kant, Gabriele Klein, Karen Mozingo, Tresa Randall, Gerald Siegmund, and Christina Thurner.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page

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Editors’ Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

We first must thank all our authors, who responded excitedly to our initial queries four years ago and who have responded to all our subsequent queries with equal enthusiasm. No edited volume can encompass all the first-rate scholarship in a field, and we are well aware of how many other authors might...

Contributor’s Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: New Dance Studies/New German Cultural Studies

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pp. 1-16

New German Dance Studies offers fresh histories and theoretical inquiries that will resonate not only for scholars working in the field of dance, but also for scholars working on literature, film, visual culture, theater, and performance. The volume brings together essays by scholars working inside and outside...

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1. Affect, Discourse, and Dance before 1900

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pp. 17-30

“The most secret movements of the soul,” writes Friedrich Schiller in 1780, “are revealed on the exterior of the body”; each emotion has its own specific means of expression or, more precisely, “its peculiar dialect, by which one knows it.” Accordingly, the “language” of the emotions is—in the opinion of...

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2. Lola Montez and Spanish Dance in the 19th Century

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pp. 31-44

The concept of alterity has often been applied in studies on the discourse about women in nineteenth-century dance. These studies focus predominantly on male fantasies of otherness, and their projection onto the female body through strategies of containment and control. Yet as the example of the self-declared...

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3. Picturing Palucca at the Bauhaus

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pp. 45-62

Gret Palucca quickly ascended to dance stardom in the 1920s. Born in 1902, Palucca received her dance training at Mary Wigman’s pioneering Dresden studio in the early 1920s and was among the first generation of Wigman students, including Vera Skoronel and Hanya Holm, to go on to innovate in the...

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4. Rudolf Laban’s Dance Film Projects

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pp. 63-78

Rudolf Laban was one of the leaders of Ausdruckstanz, and he has been studied as a thoughtful writer and theoretician, a talented choreographer, an inspired teacher, and a tireless organizer of schools, associations, and festivals. Less known are his mostly unrealized film projects, conceptualized for different...

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5. Hanya Holm and an American Tanzgemeinschaft

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pp. 79-98

Hanya Holm arrived in the United States in September 1931 to open the New York Wigman School, created under the patronage of impresario Sol Hurok. On the heels of Mary Wigman’s first, highly acclaimed U.S. tour from 1930 to 1931, interest in the Wigman method was high among American dancers, and a...

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6. Lotte Goslar’s Clowns

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pp. 99-112

Lotte Goslar’s autobiography, What’s So Funny? Sketches from My Life, begins with a series of self-portraits of Goslar as clown. The sketches are simply drawn, ink outlines, which mirror the spare quality of her solos. In the first, Goslar stands in a loose-fitting gown, with bulbous shoes protruding from under the...

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7. Back Again? Valeska Gert’s Exiles

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pp. 113-129

Valeska Gert (1892–1978) claimed she once asked Bertolt Brecht to define epic theater, to which he replied: “What you do.” While this apocryphal anecdote is often taken as shorthand for Gert’s artistic oeuvre, it risks flattening the multiple kinds of otherness that delineated her career. As Svetlana Boym points...

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8. Was bleibt? The Politics of East German Dance

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pp. 130-146

Was bleibt? What remains of the culture and the arts of a country that has disappeared from the maps? I take the title of the novella by Christa Wolf, one of the most famous East German novelists, to ask this question. Written in 1979, but rewritten for publication ten years later, after the fall of the Berlin...

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9. Warfare over Realism: Tanztheater in East Germany, 1966–1989

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pp. 147-164

Two young men occupy the screen. One, with luxurious blond hair, is in civilian clothing, and the other, with dark hair, wears the uniform of the Volkspolizei (People’s Police). They are both apparently expecting to meet the same attractive young woman. Once she appears, the two men begin a friendly tussle...

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10. Moving against Disappearance: East German Bodies in Contemporary Choreography

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pp. 165-181

Twenty years ago, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, many socialist countries— including East Germany—that had been prominent players on the world stage began to quickly, and in many cases, literally, vanish from the world map. In the years after the fall of the Wall, some former socialist countries such as...

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11. Pina Bausch, Mary Wigman, and the Aesthetic of “Being Moved”

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pp. 182-199

Throughout the history of dance performance, the body has been seen as a site of experiences that are being transposed into movement. The Ausdruckstanz of the Weimar Republic, for example, appealed under the influence of Mary Wigman to an experiential space of physical movement and the aim of this...

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12. Negotiating Choreography, Letter, and Law in William Forsythe

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pp. 200-216

Strange and unusual hammering and thumping sounds fill the air as one enters the performance space. What captures our attention is not what we see, but what we hear. Clang, clang clang: these insistent noises speak of a relentless activity whose nature, however, escapes us. They beckon us to come forward...

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13. Engagements with the Past in Contemporary Dance

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pp. 217-231

Dance is usually considered the most ephemeral form of art in Western society. This transitory character of dance dominates both historical and contemporary discourse. Nonetheless, historical investigations trace not only the history of dance, but also demonstrate how dance embodies historic and cultural...

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14. Lecture Performance as Contemporary Dance

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pp. 232-246

“This must be one of these projects where science meets the arts,” observes Bill Aitchison in Ivana Müller’s How Heavy Are My Thoughts (2004). This performance reports on Müller’s attempts to find an answer to the question: “If my thoughts are heavier than usual, is my head heavier than usual too?” We...

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15. Toward a Theory of Cultural Translation in Dance

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pp. 247-258

Looking at the history of dance in the modern West, and especially in Europe, where aesthetic modernism began around 1900, there are two characteristics of dance. Whether it is so-called popular dance or a more artistic form, from a sociological perspective, the history of dance is the history of globalization...


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pp. 259-263


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pp. 265-283

E-ISBN-13: 9780252093869
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252036767

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2012