– Rudolf Laban in Letters to Dancers, Choreographers, and Dance Pedagogues
My books Das choreographische Theater (2004) und Die Schrift des Tänzers (2005) published in Germany as well as the biography The Dancer of the Crystal (2008) published in the USA dealt with the work of Rudolf Laban from a historical and biographical perspective. My current endeavor entitled “Dear Friends!”– Rudolf Laban in Letters to Dancers, Choreographers, and Dance Pedagogues encompasses the highlight of my previous research. This edition allows the artist to speak for himself.
Through an abundance of authentic documents and new facts, these letters convey under which circumstances Laban’s work developed and emerged. They give an insight into the political utopia and social visions especially during the time before and after World War I. They further supply a rich sense of the atmosphere of that time and space and leave the reader with a lively impression of Laban’s creative mind.
The letters also present an insight into the choreographer’s basic ethical and moral views; they are witness to his striving towards sincerity, truth, and social ideals. In a letter dated 1918, shortly before Laban begins his detailed work Die Welt des Tänzers (The World of the Dancer) he states: “The task is to convince the workers that they have no rights and they are speechless because they have detached themselves from humanity, going to the urban cities, serving monetary gains…How I have talked tirelessly about pedagogy, art, true socialism! I have unveiled all meanness, condemned it! But how could I make use of the press when I condemn the press! How could I employ the corrupt printing press, its superficial morality etc. , while I not only detest it, but I condemn it! I am now on my way to publish something well though-out - for now, however, merely facts about art in the most honest, sincere manner.”
This letter edition’s wealth of impulses of Laban’s personality will provide a new understanding of his character and round out the already existing picture of this „dance revolutionist.“