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On a sun-filled morning in October 1965, Mary opened her dance studio door ... This was the first time I saw Mary Wigman. At first sight I was shocked in feeling that I knew her face -- as from some distant, undisclosed, haunting memory. A lion. A mountain. A turquoise-blue lake. A red flower. All were part of her mystery". (Read Paper)
"I Remember: Mary", Judy Jarvis, October, 1973

Mary WigmanMary Wigman is counted among the great radicals of early twentieth-century dance with Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey. These women were artistic revolutionaries, moving away from the stringent conventions and prettiness of the ballet to found new truths, re-discover organic principles and carve out a way for dance as an art of its time.

In 1965 when Judy first encountered Mary Wigman, this internationally respected figure of German culture was seventy-eight. Daughter of a wealthy Hanover industrialist, Wigman was drawn to the arts but did not truly discover dance until 1913, at the age of 27. She became the embodiment of the German Expressionist dance, a form which she evolved through first working with Dalcroze Eurhythmics, later as assistant to Rudolf von Laban as he explored his system of movement dynamics and then through her own experimentation. Cloistering herself with her strong bony body and her lucid, radical intelligence, she gradually evolved an aesthetic and way of dancing which were wholly new. As a soloist and then the director of her own troupe, Wigman appeared on the stages of Europe and abroad. She made three triumphant tours of North America in the 1930s under the auspicies of Impresario Sol Hurok. On February 20, 1931 she danced at Massey Hall in Toronto.

In the Sign of DarknessMary Wigman danced before a large audience who came expectant, and went home argumentative ... Such superb conscious egotism has never been danced here. NO dancer has ever been so frankly, completely modern ... To the dull thudding of a scale of superb Kurdish tomtoms, the twang of unmysterious tinpannish gongs, the chortle of tin whistles and the casual cadences of a piano, she made her physical ego express her ideas of the dance.
Augustus Bridle, Toronto Star, February 1931

While carving out her concert career, Wigman also committed to maintaining a school. She opened her first school in 1920 in Dresden. To her came the likes of Hanya Holm, Gret Palucca, Margarethe Wallman, Harold Kreutzberg and most of the exponents of the expressionist style. These artists in turn spread this style throughout central Europe and through Holm, to the U.S. During and just after World War II, Wigman taught in Leipzig and then from 1950 to 1967 she operated the school in West Berlin which would become the focal point of modern dance in Europe. (Next Page)

2005, Dance Collection Danse
Jarvis Exhibition Curator:
Pamela Grundy
Biography Text:
Carol Anderson
Web Design: Believe It Design Works

Witch Dance Thumbnail
Witch Dance

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Programme Cover

 

EARLY YEARS

 

THE YEARS IN GERMANY

 

THE TEACHER

 

DANCE ARTIST

 

FINAL YEARS

 

THE WIGMAN SCHOOL

 

WIGMAN AS MENTOR

 

THE SECOND YEAR

 

THE RELATIONSHIP CONTINUES

 

JUDY AS MENTOR

 

THE TRAVELLING TEACHER

 

1967 - 1971

 

1971 - 1977

 

1977 - 1983

 

REPERTOIRE

 

PRESS

 

WRITINGS

 

SOLOS

 

DUETS

 

TRIOS

 

GROUP WORKS

 

PHOTOS

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

MEMORABILIA

 

TELL YOUR STORY

 

REMEMBRANCES

 

MOVIES

 

AUDIO

 

DCD HOMEPAGE

 

ENCORE! ENCORE!

 

PAGES IN HISTORY

 

CREATIVE TEAM