Week 4 was a week without taught classes. During this week, students and I researched separately. What I focused on was translating some extracts from Schlemmer’s scores and scripts as reproduced in German in Dirk Scheper Oskar Schlemmer: Das Triadische Ballett und die Bauhausbühne (1988), Berlin: Akademie der Künst . My German is hovering not far above GCSE level, despite recent classes, so any corrections are very welcome.
I also looked at more visual scores, with some translation of the occasional notation.
In week 5, the students tried out these texts/scores, including the more visual ones (Stave Dance, Hoop Dance, Space Dance).
What I found most interesting about this was that these performances seemed to hint at quite frequent reference to popular forms – circus, cabaret and variety. This would make complete sense in this context, but it wasn’t immediately obvious from reading/looking at the scores and scripts. Most interestingly, perhaps, the ‘Black-white-trio’ appeared as a deconstruction of the Black-and-white minstrel show, without ever making an explicit reference to it.
While the ‘Stave Dance’ was difficult to emulate, in fact the effect was quite striking.
There was also time spent this week in talking about and working on presentation material.
1) Slowly, a little gap and rapidly! Shut! 1-5…9
2) Slowly, a big gap and rapidly! Shut! 1-10…14
3) In three big tugs open and slowly shut. 1! 2!3!…!-?
4) Little gap slowly
Curtain and figure
a) Left leg thrust forward sharply, rapidly back!
b) Right arm is thrust forward horizontally, describes a cross and rapidly back!
c) Head forward! Both hands hold the curtains together.
d) Both hands grasp the curtain and lift it up. Rapidly let it fall!
e) Both hands grasp the curtain and carry it forwards, leg pushes backwards to the platform’s edge.
d) Figure rolls up in the left curtain (3) and rapidly back again in blackout.
d 1) Right hand grasps the bottom of the right curtain and generates wave movements
f) Throw the edge of the right curtain over the shoulder. Pathetic gesture!
g) Bow. Left hand against the shoulder, stands upright. Right hand sweeps at arms length to the end of the curtain, hold together, left leg back, wheels with the tip of the curtain, grins and rapidly lets it fall.
Stick falls out through the curtain and is slowly drawn in
(The alphabetical sequence corresponds to the original text).
(Extract based on descriptions written by Schlemmer for the 1927 programme of the demonstration of stage elements, reproduced in Scheper 1988, p.142.
Figure on Stage
a) Curtain finally gone, figure steps slowly backwards to the stage middle. At the same time the space is slowly lit.
b) The figure moves on the central axis forwards and back and forwards again to the middle.
c) On the side axis right, middle left, middle.
d) Diagonally forward to the pillar on the right front, turns, pillar on the left, behind, middle.
e) Cross, middle.
f) The four diagonal ropes are lifted.
(Extract based on descriptions written by Schlemmer for the 1927 programme of the demonstration of stage elements, reproduced in German in Scheper 1988, p.143).
1. Hat appears on the upper block, wanders around.
2. Jumps under and over the lower block.
3. Suddenly and slowly, Hand appears
4. Grasps after the Hat – Hat runs away and
5. …does a dance on the edge (trembling softly, gently rises up until on its brim, climbs up and down slightly, does a somersault. –
The hand is lurking below and watches Hat from the side, lurks, ready to spring, begins to tremble, drums with the fingers, wanders about, grips the front of the box, jumps off from it here and there, turns on a fingertip (middle finger) and does other things to pass the time until
6. …the hat descends to it, the hand feigning disinterest again, then it pounces, but
7. …once more the hat escapes its grasp, whereupon it
8. …begins to ‘wallow’ in despair.
Hat lies above again. – Hand still, with outstretched index finger lifted, pulls the hat on (both rise higher) the Head that emerges, both hands grasp at the Hat that floats over the Head. The Hat sweeps higher (steps back), till suddenly the Hands reach for it and slowly, like a crown, put it on (all on the left side, top).
9. Turns to profile and in 7 steps, with swinging hands, jumps down, hands relax.
10. The upper quarter of the torso appears, with arms outstretched.
11. The head does as in 9, up to 3 more times, stops and jumps to the ground.
12. With a jerk, the whole torso appears.
(Choreographic notes by Werner Siedhoff (1928/29))
(Reproduced in German in Scheper 1988, p.175).