The origins of the expressive dance that spread throughout the world from the 1920s onwards are to be found both at Monte Verità near Ascona, founded in 1900, and in the Dada movement of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Rudolf Laban opened his “School of Movement” at Monte Verità in 1913; his pupils included Mary Wigman, Katja Wulff and Suzanne Perrotet, who went on to become famous dancers. There were also close ties to the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, in the form of Jean Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings. Wulff, Taeuber-Arp, Perrotet and Wigman appeared both in Ascona in summer and in Zurich during the winter. The aim of the “Monte DADA” documentary project headed by dance scholar Mona De Weerdt and historian Andreas Schwab is to reappraise these links. It is divided into three phases, with symposia and events in Ascona (2014), Cologne (2015) and Zurich (2016), and is to be followed with a publication.
Harald Kreutzberg (b. 1902 in Reichenberg, now in the Czech Republic, d. 1968 in Muri near Bern) was one of the outstanding figures in mime-based solo dance of the 20th century. He studied at Mary Wigman’s school of dance in Dresden in the early 1920s. His “dance monologues” became world-famous in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1955 he came to Bern and taught at the Kreutzberg dance school. Choreographer Chris Leuenberger and author and director Marcel Schwald combine dance and documentary approaches to illuminate Harald Kreutzberg’s influence on the dance scene in Bern in the 1950s and 1960s. The duo are in contact with four former Kreutzberg alumnae (Hilde Niederer, Liselotte Haas, Helga Gomolka and Anita Bürki). On stage, video interviews are interwoven with an exploration of Kreutzberg’s works including the “Berner Totentanz” (Bern “danse macabre”) of 1962/63. Hilde Niederer will appear alongside Chris Leuenberger from Bern and choreographer Jenny Beyer from Hamburg for a performance that mixes narrative and dance.
Recreation of Rudolf Laban’s dance works
“Der Trommelstock tanzt” and “Istars Höllenfahrt”
The dance works “Der Trommelstock tanzt” (“The Drumstick Dances”) and “Istars Höllenfahrt” (“Ishtar’s Descent into Hell”) were created by Rudolf Laban at Monte Verità in 1913. The two works are to be recreated in Ascona in association with Trinity Laban London and performed at the “Laban Event 2015”, accompanied by seminars and workshops. Following on from the Laban Event 2013, which was held last October at Monte Verità, it will provide a further opportunity to reflect on the importance for modern dance of Laban’s work in Ticino. Those involved in the project are: Valerie Preston-Dunlop, herself a pupil of, and acknowledged specialist on, Laban, a pioneer of “choreological studies” and the author of numerous books on the subject; Alison Curtis-Jones, lecturer at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, who most recently staged a reinterpretation of Laban’s iconic work “Die Nacht” (“The Night”) with students at the Laban Event 2013; and Ticino-based dance artist Nunzia Tirelli, who studied choreology in London and subsequently initiated and staged the first Laban Event 2013 at Monte Verità, with an international cast.
Noemi Lapzeson is one of the pioneers of contemporary dance in Switzerland. Her work as both a teacher and the creator of new choreographies made a major contribution to the revival of Swiss dance. Born in Argentina in 1940 and trained at the Juillard School in New York, she spent twelve years as a member of Martha Graham’s company. She subsequently worked at the London Contemporary Dance Theatre and its affiliated school before moving in 1980 to Geneva, where in 1986 she founded the ADC (Association de Danse Contemporaine), followed, in 1989, by her own company, Vertical Danse. The film-maker Nicolas Wagnières, who has recorded all of Noemi Lapzeson’s choreographies for some years now, will create a film in which he sets out to explore Lapzeson’s choreographic language from an educational perspective. The aim of the work, which features Noemi Lapzeson, her dance companion of many years Marcela San Pedro and former pupils, is to compile a kind of “alphabet” of her choreographic movements as archive and study material on contemporary dance.