Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table
Expressionism can be described as a movement in the fine arts that emphasized the expression of inner experience rather than realistic portrayal, looking to obtain not objective reality, but the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in the artist. Several characteristics of expressionism are distortion, exaggeration, primitivism, and fantasy. “The Green Table,” a ballet by Kurt Jooss, 1932, is an ideal example of expressionism because it depicts the choreographer’s personal interpretation of war through the use of movement, music by Fritz Cohen and lighting by Hermann Mankard. The Green Table is a piece of performance created mostly by Kurt Jooss, the piece lasts thirty minutes in which different episodes of war. The first scene shows the diplomats called The Gentlemen in Black, the second scene The Farewells which show the divide between the loved ones and the soldiers that go off to the war. The third scene is The Battle in which the battle begins and the character Death is taking each of the soldiers one by one, Death is a big part in this scene as it creates a mental image for the audience showing the dreadful times where innocent males were dying due to a diplomatic argument that was created because of the gentlemen in black. The next scenes follow which are: The partisan, the refugees, the brothel and men in black once again to show the never-ending hypocritical nonsense of the government. The choreography for “The Green Table” cannot exactly be categorized as one thing or another. Jooss seems to employ two different types of dance: one being the traditional ballet, and the other being the modern technique. The use of traditional ballet can be seen in the dance of the soldiers with their light and graceful movements, particularly the one carrying the white flag. However, the heavier movements of dancers such as Death and the Partisan Woman illustrate modern dance technique similar...
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