Watching Weimar Dance asks what audiences saw on stages from cabaret and revue to concert dance and experimental theatre in the turbulent moment of the Weimar Republic. Spectator reports that performers died or became half-machine archive not only the physicality of past performance, but also the ways audiences used the temporary world of the theatre to negotiate pressing social issues, from female visibility within commodity culture to human functioning in an era of increasing technologization. Archives of watching a range of performance artists, including Oskar Schlemmer, Valeska Gert, Kurt Jooss, Mary Wigman, Bertolt Brecht, Anita Berber, and the Tiller Girl troupes also revise and complicate our understanding of Ausdruckstanz as the representative dance of this moment in Germany. They further reveal how such practices came to be imbued with different significance in the postwar era as well as in transnational context. By bringing insights from theatre, dance, and performance studies to German cultural studies, and vice versa, Watching Weimar Dance develops a culturally-situated model of spectatorship that not only offers a new narrative but also demonstrates new methods for dance scholarship to shape cultural history.
About the Author
Kate Elswit is Reader in Theatre and Performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. She is winner of the Oscar G. Brockett Book Prize for Dance Research, the Gertrude Lippincott Award, the Biennial Sally Banes Publication Prize, and honorable mention for the Callaway Prize, and her work has been funded by sources including a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University and the Lilian Karina Research Grant in Dance and Politics. She also works as a choregrapher, dramaturg, and curator.
Table of Contents
1. Impossible Spectacles: Death, Dance, and Direct Expression
2. Imagining the Dancing Machine
3. Three Stories about Private Parts
4. The Politics of Watching: Staging Sacrifice Across the Atlantic
5. Watching After Weimar