Dance Term of the Day: “Expressionist Dance”

German expressionist dance, also known as Ausdruckstanz is a European dance form related to the expressionist art movement, which began as a reaction to other popular art movements like naturalism and impressionism. Rather than creating impressions of physical reality, expressionism stressed the emotional experience and the “feeling of being alive.”

Expressionist techniques encompassed the use of theatre, film and the visual arts. Notable dancers include…

Mary Wigman, much older

…Mary Wigman, who employed different types of Eastern and African music in her performances, with an emphasis on percussion. Expressionism called for great emotion, and Wigman used and in her dances dramatic gestures and expression to as an integral part of her performance. Check it out in her crazy witch dance, entitled “Hextanz” at about 0:22:

As you probably would have guessed, Wigman’s performances weren’t well received by critics and audiences of her time. However, her techniques are still a great influence on all genres of the dance community today.


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