BIO & LIFE STORY
Oskar Schlemmer, (born September 4, 1888, Stuttgart, Germany—died April 13, 1943, Baden-Baden, Germany), German painter, sculptor, choreographer, and designer known for his abstract yet precise paintings of the human form as well as for his avant-garde ballet productions.
Schlemmer was exposed to design theory at a young age as an apprentice in amarquetry workshop. He took classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) in Stuttgart, and a scholarship allowed him to further his studies at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Art (1906–10). He spent a year in Berlin painting and familiarizing himself with new trends in art by artists associated with theDer Sturm Gallery. He then returned to Stuttgart in 1912 and became a master student of abstract artist Adolf Hölzel.
Schlemmer was wounded in action while serving in World War I and returned to Stuttgart in 1916. In 1919 he helped spearhead a movement to modernize the curriculum at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Art—which also involved a staunch effort to have Paul Klee appointed to the faculty there—and, more generally, to bring modern art exhibitions to Stuttgart. He was integral to organizing early exhibitions, which featured his own work as well as that of Klee, Willi Baumeister, and others.
In 1920 Schlemmer married Helena (“Tut”) Tutein, and that same year Walter Gropius invited him to theBauhaus school in Weimar to teach. There he made significant contributions to numerous departments (sculpture, mural painting, metal work, and life drawing) but truly left his mark in the stage workshop. For that workshop he created his best-known work, Das triadisches Ballett (1922; “The Triadic Ballet”)—a ballet that he choreographed and for which he designed costumes. He named it “Triadic” to reflect the three acts, three dancers, and three colours (one for each act). The costumes he designed—based on cylinder, sphere, cone, and spiral shapes—were revolutionary. That ballet premiered in Stuttgart in 1922 and was then presented throughout the 1920s in cities such as Weimar, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, and Paris. Schlemmer served as head of the stage workshop at the Bauhaus from 1923 to 1929. His experience with dance influenced his paintings, which began to incorporate more depth and volume, as seen in The Dancer (1923). Schlemmer developed the Bauhaus theatre in Dessau—where the school had relocated in 1925—and was involved in the design process of many theatrical productions.
Throughout the 1920s Schlemmer was commissioned to paint several murals in both private residences, such as the home of architect Adolf Meyer (1924), and public spaces, such as the former Bauhaus in Weimar (1923), which the Nazis destroyed in 1930, and the Folkwang Museum in Essen (1928–30), which the Nazis vandalized, dismantled, and removed in 1933. Schlemmer left the Bauhaus in 1929.
From the Bauhaus, Schlemmer moved to Breslau, where he continued to work in theatre and teach (State Art Academy). He also continued to paint, and in 1932 he created his well-known work Bauhaus Stairway. Without warning the Nazi regime dismissed him from his teaching position in 1933. Schlemmer moved to Switzerland for a brief time with his wife and children and painted portraits and landscapes.
The last decade of Schlemmer’s life was marred by the Nazi dictatorship and defamation of his life’s work. In 1937 five of his works were included in the Nazi-organized “
Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich. He continued to exhibit his work when possible and participated in major exhibitions in London and New York City in 1938. Schlemmer was reunited with Baumeister and other artists in 1940 when he moved to Wuppertal, Germany, where he earned a living by working at a lacquer factory. He died of a heart attack three years later. Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet was revived on a number of occasions in the late 20th century and was performed with the original, restored costumes. Those costumes, however, were the only original elements remaining. The music and choreography associated with Schlemmer’s production were lost. A volume of his diaries and letters edited by his wife was published in 1972; an English translation by Krishna Winston was issued in 1990.
The legendary one-time étoile ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet turned avant-garde dance master Sylvie Guillem has worked with some of the greatest choreographers of the modern age, and this week she appears in a unique collaboration with three of the most eminent: Mats Ek, William Forsythe and Jiří Kylián. 6000 Miles Away is already being hailed as a masterpiece by insiders and it promises to be a transcendental masterclass in the language of dance from the 45-year-old dancer famed in her youth for a rebellious streak that earned her the industry nickname Mademoiselle Non. In person the CBE-holding dancer is as formidable in character as her lean, toned muscular body, although her eyes and quick smile belie a profound depth of humility and humanity – after all, this is a woman who has shunned celebrity her entire life, despite being widely considered one of the greatest artists of her generation. In this rare interview with John-Paul Pryor the revered boundary-defying dancer and choreographer discusses her drive, her discipline and her penchant for saying non.
What would you say drives you to continually push yourself in your art form?
I think it comes from my personality. I’m still a kid trying to be astonished by things. I have kind of this curiosity to learn, and I’m always learning something new. It’s always about putting myself in danger – putting myself in an uncomfortable situation for a while – and that’s very rewarding because it’s always a step forward. I am used to a routine and discipline as well, of course, because that’s the base of what I do, but if I was not able to go out of that or to use it as a springboard then I would be bored. My problem with dance is that it can follow a recipe that is very efficient but it is only a recipe. In that instance, it will be good but it won’t be excellent – it won’t be exceptional, it won’t be extraordinary.
What made you leave classical dance and move towards the avant-garde?
I have had quite a long career and for a while I was kind of dependent on the image I had, and the specialty I had, so I was responding more to demand. Once I had done everything I had to do in classical, I decided that I could spend more time on going towards people, and I wanted to do that more than doing something that I was trained to do. That’s what drives me – to go towards people and to spend time with them, giving them the opportunity to really understand that I am open to a lot of things, and that I really want to discover what they have to teach me.
You’ve worked for some incredible choreographers, – what’s the push-and-pull like creatively between the choreographer and the personal expression of the dancer?
It depends. Some choreographers like a lot of involvement and improvisation – a lot of proposition. Then you need to really put yourself in danger to show an opinion; show a will to try things that might not be accepted. Others have a very particular idea, and in that case you step more towards their idea of things. With Billy (William Forsythe) it’s a lot of exchange – a lot of participation, a lot of involvement physically and mentally because it’s quite complicated choreography. When you work with Matts it’s more about his way of saying things and doing things, and you are translating that into physical shape… into a shimmer. They are different but what they have in common is that it’s their own thing. That’s what I’m looking for – people who have their own way of saying things. You can meet a lot of choreographers with this or that award, but when you look at what they do, it doesn’t talk to you, doesn’t say anything, doesn’t go anywhere – it has no vision, no special language.
Without that vision is it impossible to transcend into something truly profound?
Well, the work has to be personal, otherwise there is no involvement – you are not there, you are just reproducing something that is not yours, and you are not yourself when you are doing it, so, what is the point? It might be very nice to look at but there is no going towards someone, and no one will receive it. There is no exchange with the audience if it’s not personal, if you don’t have your identity in it. Honesty is really a pure thing and on stage who you are as a person comes across so much. Whether you are doing classical or modern dance, it’s about your choices – your choices of how to do things, how you find your information, how far you go into the work, how far you push the discipline, how much you fight against limits.
Why do you think society so readily applies the term rebel to people who do their own thing?
It’s a very easy sticker to put on someone. In the field I was involved in when I was young the discipline is so hard and there is a kind of a code, and everything has its role inside the box, but to be able to follow that and to be happy within those constraints – those rules – you need to be driven by your dream. I was never driven by a dream. I was never driven by being a ballerina and that gave me a wider opportunity of choices. The Paris Opera Ballet became an open door for me – it was not an arrival point, it was the departure point. The rules that were ruling that system were not for me – what was important to me was that I was experimenting. I had a strong instinct, and was kind of animal in my reaction when someone was telling me: ‘You have to do that!’ If for me it was not relevant or had no purpose I was like, ‘No. I’m sorry. If you want me to do that only then take someone else because I won’t be happy.’ It was already the start of me making a choice. That’s when I started to have problems because a dancer is usually a quite disciplined person and when you ask her to do something she does it. But I realised very early that I did not have a lot of time and I didn’t want to lose time doing things that didn’t matter to me. That’s why I started to say no to things, and for the classically minded people it’s not the way to do things – so, to them you are a rebel.
How to cultivate a healthy mind?
A healthy individual whose mind is healthy and sane is capable of looking at himself without judgment, criticism, and without listening to others. When the essence of your mind is pure and healthy, it is fully connected to the source and you are fully connected to your self.
This brings the mind and the individual in a place of health, compassion and spirituality. Compassion is the fruit of perfect health and a peaceful inner life. Logic has no compassion but compassion can use logic. Logic has no wisdom but wisdom could use compassion. We need logic and we need intellect. We also need love and compassion. According to Ayurveda, we must use our intellect and our knowledge with love. Ayurveda is the science of love, intuition and intellect. To have a healthy mindful essence, a person must maintain a balance between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. Why be present on the earth if you simply want to be spirit. Connecting with your mind, body and spirit is the base of Ayurveda and the base of enjoying our lives as human beings.
There are tools to achieve a feeling of balance and inner peace no matter what is happening in your life. Practicing self-love will bring you into a state of love and bliss, which is your true nature. The molecules of bliss will start flowing into your body and into your life. Love is profound because it has its roots in the universe and its fruit in the heart of every human being. When your heart, love and the intellect merge. You allow your true self to bloom like a flower.
Learn who you are. Learn not to imitate other’s, imitation is a lie and it is going against your true nature. Let go of expectations and self-judgment! When we begin allowing our true nature to come out and shine bright like a diamond with all our faults and all of our qualities, we become whole! To know happiness, is to know sadness, to know sadness allows us to experience happiness. In other words, our duality is a gift, we would not have our qualities if we did not have our faults. Always remember that everyone in this world is not perfect, even a Saint.
This to me is true beauty, beauty is simply a perception. We need to unlearn what we have learned to grow in life. Our race to perfection creates great discomfort because it goes agains all the rules and laws of nature and the universe. We must unlearn what we perceive as perfection, this will create space in our minds and in our hearts to be the perfect-self that we are with all of our beautiful imperfections. Learn to take all the good with all the bad. This is living in humbleness and truth.
Live you life! When death comes you will be happy to not have lived YOUR LIFE for others. As long as the intentions are good and you are not hurting anyone! Strive and never be afraid of change, never be afraid of fear. We our the heroes in our own lives and a hero is not someone who does not feel fear but surpasses fear by facing it.
Self-love is the key to a healthy mind. Observe your mind and when negative thinking comes up, allow a space and fill this space with compassion towards yourself. Your are not the mind, your are not your thoughts and you are not this body. Take the thoughts from the mind and filter them threw your heart. The heart is the root of all unconditional love. Ask the pain or the anger, the emotion your are feeling and transform it into love and knowledge. Life is a flow of energy and if the flow is present between your mind and your heart, unconditional love will poor out and a deep feeling of inner balance will become your inner world.
LOVE LOVE LOVE
Author: Mélika Emira Baccouche
I’ve just returned from a stay in a beautiful slice of jungle paradise, nestled somewhere in the South American rainforest.
Over the course of seven days, I drank the ancient brew named ayahuasca five times, was whipped with a prickly jungle leaf called Ortiga twice, vomited more than I have in my entire life, and was completely reborn.
I was led to plant medicine when I became fed up with being incredibly bored by the life that I was living and sick of my repetitive, isolated culture. I was deeply disappointed with my prospects of adulthood and I couldn’t bear the thought of living in a world devoid of magic.
I began to surround myself with nature—a place where I had always been able to find serenity and connection.
Much to my surprise, the Earth began to speak to me, comforting my depression with mountain air and rolling thunder. She gave me gifts of plants that could teach and people who could help me to understand them. I was a lost child, and she took me by the hand and led me home.
I heard about ayahuasca through whispered rumors among my group of “tripping buddies.” I was told stories of her healing powers, but I did not ever expect to drink the medicine. I was terrified by what I had heard about the intense visions and the prospect of the grueling, infamous purge.
Yet, less than two weeks ago, by a chain of mysterious and magical events, I found myself sitting before three shamans in a circular hut at 5 a.m., my shaking hands holding a small bowl filled with a thick brown liquid that smelled like really gross wine.
I gulped the brew, thanked the shamans and returned to my mat. Although I didn’t know what to expect, I was certain the plant would be gentle with my delicate self.
Within an hour, I was face down in the dirt, completely puking my guts out. I have never felt more sick in my entire life. The jungle was swirling around me as my mind lit up with beautiful images and brutally honest lessons.
I was completely lost in a psychedelic world, and the voice of ayahuasca made it very clear that I was cleansing my body and mind from years of self-doubt, hatred and ignorance, but was absolutely certain I was about to die.
Yet, even as I experienced this miserable state, I felt like a baby in the arms of her mother. There was no punishment, only consequence for the decisions I had made and the paths I had taken.
For hours I lay outside on beautiful, grassy knoll. Trees bent over me, laden with flowers, and I began to stop resisting the purging that continued to come. I had asked to connect with nature, and I saw that I was being connected to all of her aspects: The disgusting, painful, harsh, beautiful and complete reality of my own mortality.
Everyone else left for lunch, except one shaman who coaxed me back inside and sat patiently while I lay on my mat, slipping in and out of lucidity.
After 20 minutes, like magic, I felt perfectly fine. I sat up, and she came over to help me stand. My arm around her shoulder, we walked to the kitchen where I ate enough of the delicious, homemade food to feed a small army.
Still seeing geometric patterns and slightly tripping out, I was told that we would be having another ceremony in seven hours.
Surprisingly, I couldn’t wait to have my ass kicked again.
That night, I did not expect that I could possibly need to purge more, but 20 minutes after I drank from the cup, I was outside kneeling on the ground.
Yet this experience was entirely different. I was transported to the stars, while still aware of my body. As I purged, I felt new spaces opening up in my being. They were filled with the purest love I had ever felt. I began to see that as I gave up my attachment to old beliefs, patterns and stories about myself, I made room for the connections that I had been asking to find. The only way I can describe that night is to say that I made love with the entire universe for eight hours. I was transformed into a jeweled star goddess, crowned with grace and divinity.
I remember saying, “My third-eye is wide open and I’m never closing it” as I saw crystalline geometry and danced without moving a muscle. I laughed and sighed as one lesson after another fell into place. Mother Ayahuasca turned my cheeks to velvet and my eyes to galaxies. I lay in the hut, just feeling my skin and seeing all the ways I had not been loving my beautiful body. I felt one with the cosmos and saw the exquisite beauty in the duality of our world. My mind kept singing, “I forget so I can remember.” And the remembrance of this Love was beautiful.
The next three ceremonies unveiled to me different aspects of myself that I had been ignoring, suppressing and denying. I realized that I had been going to everything—books, articles, videos, fellow humans and even drugs, but never to myself for guidance.
I was shown that in my fear, I had created a safe shell around myself and filled it with a dreamworld, convincing myself that it was reality. I had been given everything that I had ever asked for, but my shell had not allowed me to receive these gifts. I did not want to feel pain and so I wouldn’t let myself grow.
But that day, beneath the warm sun, I began to hatch into something more complete.
It is easy to love light and beautiful things, I realized, but I had been focusing so much on this light and beauty that I had allowed my dark side to fester in the shadows. There were ugly pieces of me that I was denying while professing to accept myself. This made me believe that I had to be beautiful to be loved and resulted in me spending hours in front of mirrors, criticizing and trying to hide my imperfections.
At one point during my fourth ceremony, right after a bout of purging, a friend walked by and asked how I was doing. With vomit and dirt covering my face, I smiled and said, “Amazing. I am learning how to be ugly” He smiled and said, “At last.”
During the final ceremony, it began to rain. I cried with the downpour and let it wash away all of the lies I had been telling myself. Here I am: naked, confessing that I have lied, stolen, cheated, inflicted pain and shattered beautiful things.
And I love myself anyway.
I am being taught how to hold a space of balance for myself. Allowing all of my facets to be loved is a constant choice for now, but I am committed to surrendering to this love over and over again. “I am finished fighting this endless battle against myself,” I scrawled in my journal. I meant it.
On the plane home I wrote:
“I think the most precious thing I have been given is the ability to love and be loved more deeply. It was like being carried home to the nest, held under my mother’s wing, against her heart, then set free to fly away again and become lost in the world. We have forgotten how to be unconditionally loved and it is the wound we are all trying to hide. Thank you, mother, for breathing me into life and then drawing me back to death. I get lost so you can find me, forget so you’ll remind me: I’m a child of the dark and light.”
I’ll be returning to that magical paradise again, but first I have some things to do at home. I am going to spread this love as far and wide as I can reach. I am going to stop wasting my precious life through laziness and start blazing my own path through this jungle of existence. I will rise with gratitude, fall with grace, and above all, keep falling in love with this glorious, wild ride.
“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” Audrey Hepburn
The choreographer Pina Bausch was an intensely serious exponent of the neo-expressionist form of German dance known as Tanztheater. She was known for works showing men and women engaged in endless, often violent, power struggles. She died June 30, 2009, at 68 in Wuppertal, Germany.
The 1984 United States debut of the Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal at the Brooklyn Academy of Music electrified audiences and spurred American dancers to audition for her. Her troupe returned to BAM in December 2008 with “Bamboo Blues,” a dreamscape that switched between episodes of sensual impulsiveness, catwalklike audience-awareness, scenes of harrowing need or anxiety and aspects of melancholia.
Referring to “Bamboo Blues,” the Times dance critic Alistair Macaulay wrote, “Perhaps the most interesting dichotomy lies between its presentation of the intensely social self (in which her characters’ artful awareness of an audience often makes them become bizarre or grotesque) and its images of the less affected but often more driven inner person.”
Ms. Bausch said of her own attitude toward dance-watching: ”I want to feel something, as a person. I don’t want to be bored.” Feeling, in fact, was paramount in Ms. Bausch’s work, and nowhere did she experiment with emotions more typically than in her penchant for repeating scenes and gestures. Over the years, her stagings included dancers splashing through pools of water and flip-flopping on mounds of dirt.
Ms. Bausch was the spiritual daughter of two mentors, Kurt Jooss, the German Expressionist choreographer, and Antony Tudor, the English-born choreographer whose dance-dramas at American Ballet Theater remain the models for psychological ballet.
Born in 1940 in Solingen, Germany, she studied in Essen at the famous Folkwang School, whose dance department spawned the Jooss Ballet. That company burst upon the international scene in 1932 with Jooss’s most famous work, ”The Green Table.” An anti-Nazi, Jooss left Germany in 1933, but he returned after World War II to head the Folkwang dance department again. Miss Bausch graduated from the school in 1959 and at the age of 18, became a special student at Juilliard in New York.
Mr. Tudor, who was her teacher there, recruited her for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. She also appeared with the American modern-dance troupe of Paul Sanasardo and Donya Feuer, and in the New American Ballet, which was actually made up of modern dancers like Donald McKayle and Paul Taylor. In 1962, Miss Bausch returned to West Germany to join Jooss’s new Essen Folkwang Ballet.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnUesmL-1CQ watch this amazing dance, feel this amazing dance!
Love you Pina Bausch, thank-you for opening the doors to a new dimension
Melika Emira Baccouche