Mary’s Ark, Blue Eyes and the Inability to Dissolve

In Mary's Ark, Blue Eyes, and the Inability to Dissolve, Hellmut Gottschild recalls and reflects on his time as a young assistant to noted dancer Mary Wigman. He meditates on his relationships to Wigman herself, her work, and her legacy.

Gottschild tries to speak about real and remembered history through a series of danced and spoken vignettes. He starts with the image of Wigman’s studio as her “ark,” a relic afloat in the strange, new world of divided post-war Berlin, where people desperately wish for a return to a better past. The piece touches on Mary’s legacy as a pioneer of expressionist dance and Gottschild’s own journey as a dancer. It also addresses Wigman’s complicity with much of Nazi ideology, on youth and old age, racism, anti-Semitism, and militarism.


Additional Info

  • Duration: 1:13:56
  • Language: English, German
  • Date: 2000
  • Location: Conwell Dance Theatre, Philadelphia
  • Cast: Movement performance: Hellmut Gottschild; Interlocutor: Brenda Dixon Gottschild
  • Credits: Choreography: Hellmut Gottschild; Videography: Video D Studios, NY; This theater-dance work was originally commissioned by the Olympia Werkstatt, Berlin, Germany in 1991 and was revised and expanded for performances in 2000. The filmed version was supported by a grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.