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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mary Wigman

Brainy Quote has one quote from Mary Wigman:

"Strong and convincing art has never arisen from theories."

Wigman (1883-1973)had an enormous impact on the development of modern dance. She was the teacher of my teacher, Liljan Espenak, in Berlin between world wars.

The quote gives an idea of the direction of her impact: dancing from the heart, improvising, finding forms. This goes beyond the rigorous athletic training of a dancer, who must develop physical strength and balance, stamina and endurance, and a willingness to take on new gestures and dynamics, new vocabulary. It has more to do with choreography, with discovery of character and psychodynamics, as well as finding expressive movement specific to the dancer's body type.

Wigman contributed to the intellectual ferment of the period, interacting with anthropologists, psychiatrists and artists. They all attempted to understand human nature, human development, societal formation, religious impulse.

Espenak was a dancer and choreographer who became an Adlerian psychotherapist. She adapted her training to help people express themselves and heal themselves, by the truths emerging from their dance, not from theory.

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