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Tribute to Kurt Jooss (1901-79)
16 December 2021 6:00 pm
Kurt Jooss trained as a dancer with Rudolf Laban in the early 1920s and then worked as choreographer for the avant-garde Neue Tanzbühne. After studying ballet in Vienna and Paris, Jooss returned to Germany and established a school and a company there, also becoming ballet master at the Essen Opera House.
In 1932 he created his best-known work, the powerfully prophetic dance-drama The Green Table, which won first prize in an international choreographic competition in Paris. His company became known as Ballets Jooss and made a world tour during 1933 and 1934.
Because Adolf Hitler had come to power (the Nazis had ordered Jooss to dismiss all the Jews associated with his company and he refused), Jooss did not return to Germany but with Sigurd Leeder – at the invitation of Leonard and Dorothy Elmhirst – made his headquarters at Dartington Hall in Devon.
He returned to Essen in 1949, as a British citizen, and reopened his school there. Widely credited with being the founder of Tanztheater, Jooss greatly expanded the technical and thematic possibilities of theatrical dance and exerted a profound influence on other dancer-choreographers such as Pina Bausch.
Taking part in this special event, which marks the 120th anniversary of Jooss’ birth, are dance historians Marion Kant, Laure Guilbert and Patricia Stockmann, Julia Seiber Boyd, daughter of Lilla Bauer, an important member of the Ballets Jooss, and Lucie Conrad, Kurt Jooss’s granddaughter.
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