Leisure Letters

→ Peruse the Letters Archives

Mary Wigman: Witch Dance

(Added 28 May 2009)

“The revised Witch Dance made explicit what had been implicit in the identically titled solo presented twelve years earlier on her debut program. As in the earlier solo, the choreographer does not impersonate the character of a witch but rather embodies the quality of “witchness.” However, her self-transformation is intensified and made more complete through her use of a facial mask, designed by Viktor Magito. As a review described the effect: ‘She emloys a small face mask, which doesn’t hide all of her cheek, nor does it cover her hair. The eye openings of the mask allow her eyes to be seen… (Her) partially covered body…lives no longer, but withdraws so far from life that each movement extinguishes all thought of human existence.’
… Wearing a mask, the female dancer objectifies herself rather than allowing herself to be objectified by the (male) spectator. Wearing a mask, she turns the gaze back on the spectator.”

-from Ecstasy and the Demon: The Dances of Mary Wigman, by Susan Manning , University of Minnesota Press, pg. 127

Less Recent:
More Recent: