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When Men DanceChoreographing Masculinities Across Borders$
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Jennifer Fisher and Anthony Shay

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195386691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195386691.001.0001

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Ausdruckstanz, Workers’ Culture, and Masculinity in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s

Ausdruckstanz, Workers’ Culture, and Masculinity in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s

(p.258) 8 Ausdruckstanz, Workers’ Culture, and Masculinity in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s
When Men Dance

Yvonne Hardt

Oxford University Press

Yvonne Hardt links the era of early German modern dance called Ausdruckstanz (expressive dance) and the workers’ culture movement in the Germany of the 1920s and 1930s. Both were influenced by the life reform movement (Lebensreformbewegung), which envisioned that a different society could be achieved by a new body culture (Körperkultur). Whereas Ausdruckstanz has most frequently been discussed in terms of how it could empower women, it also, theoretically, offered men the chance to “rediscover” themselves in ways that could emancipate them from traditional gender roles. At the same time, early modern dance could also reflect ideals of the Socialist and Communist ideology, which reinscribed some old male‐female divisions by emphasizing the physical strength of the male worker. Thematic aspects in the work of the following prominent Weimar dance figures are considered: Rudolf Laban, Martin Gleisner, and Jean (Hans) Weidt. Implicit in Hardt's analysis is the difficulty of embodying political ideals in dance in a way that acknowledges the multiple strands of complex gender identities.

Keywords:   Weimar Germany, German modern dance, workers’ culture movement, Ausdruckstanz, Lebensreformbewegung, Körperkultur, Laban, Gleisner, Weidt

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