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Hitler's Dancers

German Modern Dance and the Third Reich

Lilian Karina† and Marion Kant
Translated from the German by Jonathan Steinberg

400 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-300-8 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (June 2003)

ISBN  978-1-57181-688-7 $34.95/£24.00 Pb Published (February 2004)

eISBN 978-1-78238-958-3 eBook


Hb Pb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“This book points the way for the next steps of further research ... [It] will be a seminal work in facilitating the analysis of understanding the roles of dance and body under fascism.”   · H-Net Reviews

“... a bristling book ... Rarely have we been invited to read polemical history charged with both emotional intensity and – thankfully – voluminous documentation ... Reading along with rapt attention, I can’t decide which is more surprising: the blistering clarity and conviction of Kant’s claims and their documantation, or the fuzzy preoccupation with self that Hitler’s dancers seemed to embody during this period.”   ·  Dance Critics Association Newsletter

“This is a welcome publication ... [It] provides a valuable insight into the period for English-speaking readers ... The authors provide much new information and pose some serious questions ... essential read.”   ·  Dance Theatre Journal

From the reviews of the German edition:

"This book will change a lot in dance history. And it will indeed be a painful awakening for the idol worshippers who forgive artists all sins and place them above all moral responsibility."  · Judisk Kroenika

"This books is indispensable because of its many important documents."   · Ballettanz

"Highly recommended ... The most important publication on dance in the Third Reich."   · Tanzwissenschaft

"An important contribution to the discussion [on Nazism and dance] - obligatory reading on the history of dance - that makes parts of this book as gripping as a thriller."   · Der Tanz der Dinge

The Nazis burned books and banned much modern art. However, few people know the fascinating story of German modern dance, which was the great exception. Modern expressive dance found favor with the regime and especially with the infamous Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda. How modern artists collaborated with Nazism reveals an important aspect of modernism, uncovers the bizarre bureaucracy which controlled culture and tells the histories of great figures who became enthusiastic Nazis and lied about it later. The book offers three perspectives: the dancer Lilian Karina writes her very vivid personal story of dancing in interwar Germany; the dance historian Marion Kant gives a systematic account of the interaction of modern dance and the totalitarian state, and a documentary appendix provides a glimpse into the twisted reality created by Nazi racism, pedantic bureaucrats and artistic ambition.

Lilian Karina, born in Russia, studied ballet with Eduardova and Gsovsky in Berlin in the 1920s and danced with Sascha Leontieff, Aurél von Milloss and many others. She fled from Germany to Hungary and later Sweden, where she opened a ballet studio and lived in Stockholm.

Marion Kant was raised in East Berlin and began dancing at the Comic Opera at the age of 14. She took her PhD at Humboldt University in musicology and dance history and has taught at the Free University of Berlin, Kings College London, Cambridge University, the University of Surrey and now at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jonathan Steinberg is Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History, University of Pennsylvania.

Subject: Performance Studies WWII History Gender Studies
Area: Germany



Contents

Translator's Foreword
Jonathan Steinberg

Preface
Marion Kant

PART I RECOLLECTIONS
Lilian Karina

Introduction
How this work came about
Have artists an interest in political and social circumstances?
The Faces of my Past

Chapter 1. A Historical Overview of the Labanist Period
Pre Labanism: The Rise of the Culture of the Body (1900-1920)
The Era of Labanism at its Peak: the Development of "New Dance," Modern and Stage Dance (1920s-1937)
Opposition to Labanism – Realistic Dance Theater

Chapter 2. Art and Culture under National Socialism
The New Legislation
The Doctrines of Race and Inheritance
The Invention of the Jewish Race: from Wagner to Rosenberg

Chapter 3. Sectarianism and Dance
The Historical Path of Racial Hygiene
Sects, Cults and Secret Societies
The New Magicians of Dance: Steiner, Klamt, Duncan, Laban
The Search for a Dance "True to Type" ["arteigen"]

Chapter 4. The Fates of Emigrants
Evgenia Eduardova and Josef Lewitan
Victor Gsovsky
Kurt Jooss
Sascha Leontieff
Aurél von Milloss
Lia Schubert

Chapter 5. The Situation in Scandinavia
The Association of Swedish Dance Pedagogues
Gertrude Engelhardt
Elsa Lindenberg
Edgar Frank
Lilian Karina

Chapter 6. Laban's Downfall and Post-Labansim
Post-Labanism

PART II: "DANCE IS A RACE QUESTION." THE DANCE POLITICS OF THE REICH MINISTRY OF POPULAR ENLIGHTENMENT AND PROPAGANDA
Marion Kant

Introduction
The State of Dance Research
Dance in Germany in 1930

Chapter 7. The Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda
The Foundation of the Reich Chamber of Culture
Rivalries about Culture and Art
The Propaganda Ministry and the Reich Theater Chamber

Chapter 8. The Nazi Redirection of Dance
The Plan for a Nazi Dance Policy

Chapter 9. Ministerial Dance Politicos – Rudolf von Laban and Otto von Keudell
The Dance Festivals of 1934 and 1935

Chapter 10. The German Dance Theater and The German Master Workshops
Regulations for the Conduct of the Dance Examinations
The Olympic Games
The Temporary Finale

Chapter 11. The Next Stage
The Laban Case
The Wigman Case

Chapter 12. After Laban's Fall
From German Dance to German Ballet
A Ban on Dance
Total Dance
Post Script

PART III: THE NAZI ATTEMPT TO SUPPRESS JAZZ AND SWING: A CASE STUDY
Marion Kant

PART IV: DANCE UNDER THE NAZIS: DOCUMENTARY APPENDIX
Selected and Edited by Marion Kant

Appendix: The Administrative Structure of the Reich Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda and the Reich Culture Chambers

Chronology
References
Abbreviations and Glossary
Sources
Archives and Collections
Bibliography
Index
Name entries
Subject entries

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