2 3 Throwback Thursday and Mary Wigman | Ballet Webb

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Throwback Thursday and Mary Wigman

Throwback Thursday and Mary Wigman

Born Marie Weigmann in Germany on November 13, 1886, Mary Wigman didn’t begin formal dance training until she was 24. She studied with Emile Jacques-Dalcroze and Rudolf Laban. She soon choreographed her first solo, Witch Dance. This piece exhibits elements that would define her unique – some would say bizarre – style. Her obituary in the New York Times states: “The German critics who re viewed Mary Wigman's first dance compositions in 1919 called them “ridiculous,” “idi otic,” “a mad frenzy” and “an imbecilic dislocation of the joints.” They called her pro grams “unbearably fatiguing.”

But Wigman persevered. She believed dance could be performed without music and didn’t have to be pretty. It could, in fact, be ugly. According to https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/may/22/mary-wigman-german-modern-dance-pioneer:
“Wigman aimed for state of ritualised trance as she danced”.

Her students were many, including Yvonne Georgi, Margarethe Wallmann and Hanya Holm. Wigman was a major force in the development of modern dance and her influence can be seen in the works of such notables as Martha Graham and others.

During the 1930s Wigman and her company toured the United States, and in 1931 she established the Wigman School in New York City. In 1936 it became the Hanya Holm School. Wigman’s choreographic works include The Seven Dances of  Life (1918), Totenmal (1930), Orpheus and Eurydice (1947), and many others.

In her early eighties, Wigman broke her thigh and never really recovered. She died three years later on September 18, 1973. She was 86.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Factoid #140:
“Mary Wigman was a modern dancer pioneer whose first dance was the Witch Dance.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Art is communication spoken by man for humanity in a language raised above the everyday happening.”
-         Mary Wigman

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