Weimar Dance, Nudity and Movement

WSN member Annie Stieglitz has found this excellent online publication on modern dance in the Weimar Republic: Karl Toepfer: Empire of Ecstasy. Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910-1935.

Empire of Ecstasy offers a novel interpretation of the explosion of German body culture between the two wars–nudism and nude dancing, gymnastics and dance training, dance photography and criticism, and diverse genres of performance from solo dancing to mass movement choirs. Karl Toepfer presents this dynamic subject as a vital and historically unique construction of “modern identity.”
The modern body, radiating freedom and power, appeared to Weimar artists and intelligentsia to be the source of a transgressive energy, as well as the sign and manifestation of powerful, mysterious “inner” conditions. Toepfer shows how this view of the modern body sought to extend the aesthetic experience beyond the boundaries imposed by rationalized life and to transcend these limits in search of ecstasy. With the help of much unpublished or long-forgotten archival material (including many little-known photographs), he investigates the process of constructing an “empire” of appropriative impulses toward ecstasy.’


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