For Truly Spun Never, Geyer expands her recent interest in Modernism through an investigation of the origins of modern dance in Europe from the 1910s to the 1930s. Given the rise of National Socialism in Germany, the birthplace of Ausdruckstanz (Expressive Dance), Truly Spun Never unpacks the difficult relationships between culture and ideology, between expression and ethics, between a body and politics. Ausdruckstanz, became in Nazi Germany “German dance” and the predominant dance form even when other modern forms of art had been categorized: degenerate. From 1933 to 1936 Rudolf von Laban, notable as one of the pioneers of modern dance in Europe, controlled dance throughout Germany as part of Joseph Goebble’s ministry of propaganda. Even when financed by the propaganda ministry and after removing all “non-Arian” dancers from stage and dance schools, Laban as well as other leading choreographers and dancers of the time insisted that dance should lay beyond the grasp of politics.
Geyer’s Truly Spun Never portrays the interactions between a critic and six dancers training different forms of spins. The critic oscillates between a reflection on dance as a form, its potentials and shortcomings, and contemplative readings of poems by Paul Celan, who functions as a contemporary witness to 1930s Europe. Geyer’s script is based on her signature methodology of working with found materials and original writings of the time period, in this case writings of the key players such as Mary Wigman, Rudolf von Laban, Fritz Böhm, Joseph Goebbles and Frederica Derra de Moroda. Through these multilayered interactions of movement and language, Truly Spun Never maps the terrain in which cultural expression gets infiltrated by ideological violence. The work suggests the need for an immanent response to the historical figures of modern dance but also to their legacy and their contemporary audiences.
performers: Jess Barbagallo, Natalie Cloarec, devynn emor, Lily Gold, Patricia Hoffbauer, Marbles Jumbo Radio, Omagbitse Omagbemi
Script: Andrea Geyer
Script Supervision: Catherine Bernath
Director of Photography: Martina Radwan
Assistant to DP: Laura Nespola
2nd Assistant: Ryo Sato
Steady Cam: Jamie Northrup
Sound: John Stadwell
Media Manager: Stephanie Park
Editing: Andrea Geyer
SoundMaster: Rachel Wardell
Production Manager: Lauren Denitzio
Assistant Production & Sound Assistance: Francesca Fiore
Still Photography: Oscar Gracida
Costume: Jocelyn Davis
Styling: Naomi Raddatz
Performance Support: Umber Majeed
Location: BeElectric Studios, Brooklyn
This work was comissioned by the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in collaboration with the Derra de Moroda Dance Archive. It was produced with the generous support of Parque Galeria, Mexico, The New School Research Grant and The Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Fund.
Special Thanks: Jane Anderson, Sharon Hayes, Josiah McEhleny, Taisha Paggett, Fred Moten, the team of the Derra de Moroda Dance Archive and the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg and the team of Parque Galeria.
Dawn Ades, Art and Power: Europe under the Dictators 1930-45. The XXIII Council of Europe Exhibition
Fritz Böhme, “Ist das Ballett deutsch?” in Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Berlin, 25.April, 1933
Paul Celan, Selected Poems and Pose (Norton: New York, 2001)
Rudolf Delius, on Wigman’s Witch Dance, Die Propyläen, 1914
Joseph Goebbels´ letter to Rudolf Kölling, 1936
Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia: Brooklyn, 2013)
Andrew Hewitt, Social Choreography: Ideology as Performance in Dance and Everyday Movement (Post-Contemporary Interventions) . Duke University Press.
Marion Kant and Lilian Karina, Hitler’s Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third Reich (Berghan: New York, 2003)
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Jonathan Karp,ed, The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (University of Pennsylvenia Press: Philadelphia 2007)
Joseph von Laban´s letter to Walter von Keudell, Reichminister,1936
The Laban Sourcebook (Routledge: New York, 2011)
Josef Lewitan, from Der Tanz: Internationale Zeitschrift fur tanzerische Kultur. Berlin (1927-1944)
Fred Moten, andrea geyer / margaret Kerry
Peggy Phelan Unmarked: The Politics of Performance
Der Tanz: Internationale Zeitschrift fur tanzerische Kultur. Berlin (1927-1944)
Mary Wigman, The Mary Wigman Book (Olympic Marketing Corp: Minnetonka, 1975)
Mary Wigman, Witch Dance, 1914
Mary Wigman, Das Land ohne Tanz, Die Tanzgemeinschaft. Vol. I, Nr. 3 (1929)