The German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Tanztheater ("dance theatre") grew out of German expressionist dance
Expressionist dance
Expressionist dance is a European dance form that is part of the German Expressionist movement. Although considered a part of the modern dance movement, it is separate from modern dance per se. Other names for it that have fallen out of use include Moderner Tanz, Absoluter Tanz, Freier Tanz,...

 in Weimar Germany and 1920s Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. The term first appears around 1927 to identify a particular style of dance emerging from within the new forms of 'expressionist dance' developing in Central Europe since 1917. Its main exponents include Rudolf Laban
Rudolf Laban
Rudolf von Laban aka Rudolf Laban was a dance artist and theorist whose work laid the foundations for Laban Movement Analysis and other more specific developments in dance notation...

, Kurt Jooss
Kurt Jooss
Kurt Jooss was a famous ballet dancer and choreographer mixing classical ballet with theatre; he is also widely regarded as the founder of dance theatre or tanztheater...

, and Mary Wigman
Mary Wigman
Mary Wigman was a German dancer, choreographer, and dance instructor.A pioneer of expressionist dance, her work was hailed for bringing the deepest of existential experiences to the stage...

. The term reappears in critical reviews in the 1980s to identify the work of primarily German choreographers who were students of Jooss (such as Pina Bausch
Pina Bausch
Philippina "Pina" Bausch was a German performer of modern dance, choreographer, dance teacher and ballet director...

 and Reinhild Hoffman) and Wigman (Susanne Linke
Susanne Linke
Susanne Linke is a German dancer and freelance choreographer important in the development of Tanztheater in Germany and contemporary dance internationally.-Career:...

). The development of the form and its concepts was influenced by Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

 and Max Reinhardt
Max Reinhardt
----Max Reinhardt was an Austrian theater and film director and actor.-Biography:...

, and the cultural ferment of the Weimar Republic.

Tanztheater is more than a mere ‘blend’ of dance and dramatic elements. Both Birringer (1986) and Schlicher (1987) argue that the particular artistic and historical context of post-war Germany informed the genesis of Tanztheater.

Further reading

  • Birringer, Johannes 1991. Theatre, Theory, Postmodernism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Hoghe, Raimund 1980. The Theatre of Pina Bausch. Drama Review. 24(1), 63-74.
  • Markard, Anna 1985. Jooss. Cologne: Ballet Bühnen Verlag.
  • Preston-Dunlop Valerie & Sánchez-Colberg, Ana 2002. Dance and the Performative. London: Verve.
  • Ana Sanchez-Colberg
    Ana Sanchez-Colberg
    Ana Sánchez-Colberg is a London-based Puerto Rican choreographer and dancer. She is a choreographer of dance-theatre. She has been awarded a Fellowship by the Swedish Research Council.- Career and Activities :...

    (1992) Traditions and Contradictions: A Choreological Documentation of Tanztheater from its Roots in Ausdruckstanz to Present. London: Laban Centre.
  • Sánchez-Colberg, Ana 1992. You can see it like this or like that. In Jordan, S and Allen, D.(eds) Parallel Lines. London: Arts Council.
  • Sánchez-Colberg, Ana 1993. You put your left foot in…then you shake it all about… Excursions and Incursions into Feminism and Bausch’s Tanztheater. In Thomas, Helen (ed.). Dance, Culture and Gender London: Routledge, 151-163.
  • Sánchez-Colberg, Ana 1996. Altered States And Subliminal Places: Charting The Road Towards A Physical Theatre.
  • Schlicher, Susanne 1987. Tanztheater Traditionen und Freiheiten. Hamburg: Reinbeck Verlag.
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