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February 25, 2017

The Triadic Ballet: Weirdly Wonderful Costumes by Oskar Schlemmer From the 1920s

Oskar Schlemmer was a German artist born in 1888 and later became an important figure in the Bauhaus movement. He was a painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer; his dance works were incredibly inventive and original with his token kooky sculptural costumes that altered the human physique entirely into the most fascinating of geometric shapes. He is most well-known for his piece The Triadic Ballet (or Das Triadische Ballett) which premiered in 1922. Divided into the three sections and with only three performers, the structure of The Triadic Ballet is as beautifully outlined as its outlandish costumes. The body and its movement become abstracted in a simple and incredibly complex manner.

In this piece one feels the choreography is almost certainly secondary to the actual creations that the dancers are wearing. They are more than costumes, they are bizarre sculptural extensions of the body that both add and subtract certain qualities to the body.

Oskar Schlemmer’s designs somehow manage to emphasize the natural body that lurks beneath, whilst at the same time they delineate and divert completely from the familiar and organic human body, creating a completely new and alien movement, shape and line.



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