Dancetime Publications, 2012
DVD; run time: 58 minutes
“It was wonderful to abandon oneself to the craving for evil,” Mary Wigman said of creating her dark and masked landmark work, Hexentanz, in the early 1900s. In the new dance history DVD German Lineage in Modern Dance, viewers learn of Wigman’s fascination with the irrational and the supernatural and see how those emotional themes transform into clawed fingers and ritualistic gestures onstage.
Wigman is one of five choreographers featured in this film that introduces the concept of German expressionism (developed before World War I) as it was transformed by American artists through the 20th century. Also included is work by Dore Hoyer, Hanya Holm, Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis.
Devoting about 10 minutes to each of the five choreographers, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa dance professor Dr. Betsy Fisher narrates an overview of the dancers’ lives, describes their personalities and movement styles and performs excerpts from their most famous works. This format allows students to see the choreographers’ relationships and lineage in dance history.
Fisher’s solos offer viewers a pure sample of each choreographer’s work as it was originally intended. At just under an hour long, this film is perfect for a classroom study. It can be shown during a single class period while still fitting in a complete lesson in dance history and analysis.