906_Ausdruckstanz_B7732_42 Ausdruckstanz


The expressive dance developed in Germany from the decade of the 20th century by Rudolf von Laban and later Mary Wigman is also known abroad as German Dance or German Expressionist Dance. Originating in German Expressionism in painting and poetry, A. turned against the dance definition of classical ballet, which was perceived as too narrow. “Every human being is a dancer”, Laban proclaimed, and every movement could be a dance movement. Dance should be an expression of inner movement.

With his new concept of freedom, the A. created a hitherto unknown mass movement and tried to improve the social situation for dance at the German Dancers’ Congresses.


In addition to Laban and Wigman, the protagonists of the A. included Gret Palucca, Yvonne Georgi and Harald Kreutzberg. Dore Hoyer helped the A. to a late choreographic flowering. The work of Laban’s student Kurt Jooss at the Folkwangschule in Essen, from which some of the most important protagonists of the Dance Theatre emerged.



(Norbert Servos)

Dance encyclopaedia links



German Dance Archive Cologne

Tanzarchiv Leipzig

903_Bildende-Kunst-Lexikon_01 Bildende Kunst und Tanz



Particularly in the development of modern dance in Germany, cooperation between visual artists and choreographers has repeatedly proved extremely fruitful. For example, the collaboration of Gret Palucca and Paul Klee as well as Kurt Joos and Hein Heckroth shaped the appearance of expression dance.


Heckroth, a stage designer by profession, gave many of Jooss’s plays the contemporary expressionist look from a painterly point of view. Oskar Schlemmer developed his choreographies of abstract forms at the Bauhaus from the painter’s perspective. Mary Wigman was inspired by Emil Nolde, among others. Also in the later movement of dance theatre choreographers sought to engage with visual artists, such as Gerhard Bohner with Robert Schad, Johann Kresnik to Gottfried Helnwein or Susanne Linke to VA Wölfl.


Even in the more recent developments moving in the direction of performance art, the staging of spaces is becoming increasingly important in its own right. For example, the group Neuer Tanz with VA Wölfl is under the direction of a visual artist. But also in numerous pieces by William Forsythe the design of the stage space acquires a sculptural significance.



(Norbert Servos)


900_Tanztheater-Lexikon_B6086_01 Deutsches Tanztheater


From around the mid-sixties of the last century, choreographers in Germany began to look for new means of expression. It was above all the spirit of optimism of the student movement with its critical questioning of politics and society that also inspired choreographers to try out new ways in their art form.


1968 took over Johann Kresnik the director of the ballet in Bremen and provoked with his socially critical political revues. In 1973 Pina Bausch the director of the Tanztheater Wuppertal and attracted a lot of attention with her poetic border crossings between dance and acting. In 1978 Reinhild Hoffmann went to Bremen and established her version of a more dance-oriented, image-rich dance theatre. With the Folkwang Tanzstudiodeveloped Susanne Linkeher first works, impressive in their reduction.


The new form, which combined poetry with social awareness, enjoyed increasing success from the late 1970s onwards and has since achieved world renown. Dance theatre has initiated an emancipation of dance worldwide and inspired numerous choreographers to develop their own.



(Norbert Servos)

Dance encyclopaedia links



Bausch, Pina

Bohner, Gerhard

Dietrich, Urs

Goldin, Daniel

Hoffmann, Reinhild

Horn, Henrietta

Kresnik, Johann

Linke, Susanne

Pauls, Irina

Schlömer, Joachim


Bremer Tanztheater

Folkwang Tanzstudio, Essen

Stage works / video clips:

Pictures of an exhibition | G. Bohner, 1981

Blauzeit | H. Horn, 2006

Callas | R. Hoffmann, 1983

The Things in My Hand | G. Bohner, 1979

Family Dialogue | J. Kresnik, 1979

Föhn | R. Hoffmann, 1985

Freigang | H. Horn, 2007

Im Bade wannen | S. Linke, 1980

Persona | U. Dietrich, 2003

Solo mit Sofa | R. Hoffmann, 1977

Ulrike Meinhof | J. Kresnik, 1990

Wendewut | J. Kresnik, 1993

Chor. Avantgarde | U. Dietrich

Chor. Avantgarde | D. Goldin

Chor. Avantgarde | H. Horn

Chor. Avantgarde | J. Schlömer


897_Tanz-und-neue-Medien-Lexikon_01 Tanz und Medien


The development of dance in Germany has always been critically followed by both the regional and the national press. Critics such as Eva-Elisabeth Fischer (Süddeutsche Zeitung), Horst Kögler (Stuttgarter Zeitung), Rolf Michaelis (Die Zeit), Hartmut Regitz (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, among others), Jochen Schmidt (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and Norbert Servos (Ballett International, among others) have been particularly important.



Just the international success of the Dance Theatre stimulated dance journalism in Germany in the 1980s and ensured numerous new publications also on the book market, many of which were published by Florian Noetzel Verlag in Wilhelmshaven. Recently, the Klaus Kieser Verlag in Munich has made a name for itself with its carefully edited dance books. For a while, the Second German Television (ZDF) accompanied the development of dance in its series “Das Internationale Tanztheater”. In the meantime, the “Tele-Tanzjournal” informs about the development. The dance film series of the European culture channel Arte, with which numerous German television stations cooperate, gained special significance.


The important dance magazines include “Tanz Journal” from Munich under the editorial direction of Katja Schneider, a fusion of “Tanzdrama” and “Ballett-Journal”, and “Ballettanz” from Berlin under the editorial direction of Hartmut Regitz and Arnd Wesemann, a fusion of “Ballett International” and “Tanz aktuell”. However, due to economic problems, a large number of daily newspapers have considerably reduced their dance coverage in recent years.


(Norbert Servos)

Dance encyclopaedia links



Forsythe, William