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The Impact of WWII and Nazi Occupation on Modern Dance in Ge

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Alex Paul

on 11 November 2013

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Transcript of The Impact of WWII and Nazi Occupation on Modern Dance in Ge

The Impact of WWII and Nazi Occupation on Modern Dance in Germany
Goals of the Third Reich...
Under Hitler, the Nazi state aimed:
As a result, Modern dance choreographers were forced to either leave Germany or transform their ideals and themes to fit those of the Third Reich
to maintain control over cultural and social activities
to promote German Nationalism

to grow the Aryan population to form the perfect race,
and to eliminate all inferior races

to coordinate all individuals and institutions to align with the ideals of the Nazi government
Mary Wigman's Witch Dance II
Famed German modern choreographer and ballet master of the State Opera, Laban left Germany for England during Nazi occupation
Wigman, a prominent modern choreographer, displeased the Nazi’s with her Death Dance, so she and some of her students, like Palucca were branded as degenerated artists
Wigman’s expressionistic style contradicted the Third Reich’s ideology, thus she was slowly dropped as an important German artist

The Deutsche Tanzfestspiele
Held in Berlin from 9-16 December
First dance festival held by the Ministry for the People’s Enlightenment and Propaganda
Aimed to establish control over cultural activities and public events to promote the national ideology of the ideal Volk community
Reconstructed the idea of Ausdruckstanz (“free dance,” “new dance,” “German dance,” and “expressionist dance”) to embody the values of National Socialist rhetoric.
There were
Three sections of the Festival
Choreographed by Dorothee Günther and Mary Wigman.

Works utilized National Socialist themes.

Relationships between dancers conformed to the Nazi ideology of women existing in separate and subservient sphere to men.
2. Solo Performances
Performed by Harald Kreutzberg and Gret Palucca
charismatic male performer characterized with superhuman communicative powers,
famed for is expressionism and role as the jester in Dance of the Court Jester.
famed for her “maiden-like charm” and “light, gliding movement,” which complimented the National Socialist’s idea of femininity
Introduced public to promising youth of the “new German” dance movement promoting Aryanized generations of the future
The Overall goal of Tanzfestspiele was to prove
“the originality and worth of German artistic dance,”
as well as its cultural significance
All forms of German communication and transportation were damaged leaving people isolated.

After the war, the German government focused on restoring a bearable quality of life for their troops,
thus artists themselves were the main source of spiritual, cultural, and artistic revival.
Berlin served as the artistic hub in Germany
WWII: Impact and Aftermath
what happened to modern dancers and choreographers?
Gret Palucca and Harald Kreutzberg returned to the concert stage
Palucca reclaimed her dance school in Dresden that had been closed by the Nazi’s after she was banned as an artist.
Dore Hoyer became the first existentialist in Modern Dance
Studied under Wigman and Kreutzberg during a time when all Romanticism had left their choreography.
She performed Wigman's last statement of "absolute dance" with the solo "The Great Song"

Hoyer represents the fate of postwar solo dancers
rather than having a sense of Romanticism in her choreography, she confronted the harsh realities of life that were prevalent following WWII
These realistic themes would characterize much of modern dance following the war.
Therefore, entertainment became less about creativity and artistry, and more about promoting German Nationalism. It took the form of propaganda, which was an important aspect to Hitler's dictatorship.
German modern dance, which used to be associated with European modernist movement became isolated changing it from an international to a national movement.
During the War:
The development of modern dance as free dance in Germany stopped during WWII and Nazi occupation.
Modern dance as entertainment became a form of propaganda.
Following the war:
it was the resiliency of the modern choreographers that helped to rebuild the German culture that was lost during Hitler's reign.
However, the themes in modern dance changed as the population was exposed to the harsh reality of life during and following the WWII and the Holocaust.
Works Cited

Buch, David Joseph, and Hana Worthen. "Ideology in Movement and a Movement in Ideology: The Deutsche Tanzfestspiele 1934 (9-16 December, Berlin)." Theatre Journal 59.2 (2007): 215-39. Project MUSE. The John Hopkins University Press, May 2007.
Web. 5 Nov. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/tj/summary/v059/59.2buch.html>.

"Forum for Modern Language Studies." Mary Wigman and German Modern Dance: A Modernist Witch? N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://fmls.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/4/427.full?sid=18e312ce-b3f1-4a57-aaf3-088f5c4b0b0b>

"HISTORY IN IMAGES." : Prelude To Armageddon: The Decade 1930s. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <http://historyimages.blogspot.com/2012/06/prelude-to-armageddon-decade-1930s.html>.

"Lotte Johanna Jacobi." Art Auction Results, Artworks Value, Painting Estimates. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <http://www.arcadja.com/auctions/en/jacobi_lotte_johanna/artist/14399/>.

"Mary Wigman's Witch Dance." YouTube. YouTube, 17 Nov. 2006. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <

"Palucca Tanzt "Serenata"" YouTube. YouTube, 01 Mar. 2009. Web. 09 Nov. 2013. <

Partsch-Bergsohn, Isa. Modern Dance in Germany and The United States. Chur, Switzerland: Harwood Academic, 1994. Google EBooks. Google.com, 1994. Web. 3 Nov. 2013.

"Third Reich: An Overview." Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013. <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005141>.
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