Mary Wigman

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Mary Wigman: Witch Dance
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Through her simplification and breaking down of theatrical and aesthetic dance, Mary Wigman stands as one of the most inspirational figures of 20th century dance. Her unique use of theatrical elements such as masks, sound, costume and movement created an evolution of dance that was never seen before. Her use of the character, The Witch, changed the world’s views on dance forever, and inspired a revolution of artistic quality all around Europe. In this essay I will discuss whether or not The Witch in Wigmans work stands as an interpretation of her role in society, and her aspirations for future dance forms. Mary Wigman’s Witch Dance epitomized the breaking away from conventional concepts and traditions. Through her modernistic choreography she captured the true essence of dance. There was no conformity or theatricality to it. Instead, she used elements that would speak directly to the audience (Muller, 1986, pp. 173-184). The archaic image of the witch expressed the elements of Wigman’s own identity. She expresses her modernistic identity in her breaking away of the social and cultural boundaries that besieged her time error. She also physically identifies herself as a witch, absorbing the viewer with the magical essence of her imagination. Through her movements she was able to personify this strong presence of the witch (Gunhild, 1992, pp. 35-49). She stressed the common association of the image of a witch with that of fear and apprehension of losing control over both body and mind. This fear was created to be extended to the audiences watching the piece (Chritiane & Finnan, 2006, pp. 76-84).

One of Wigman’s most praised techniques in dance was her use of breathing. She believed that a dancers expression could be built to a climax simply through the pace and tone of their breathing. Through inhalation and exhalation the dancers were able to create both tension and tranquility. In addition to this her dance...
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