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The Green Table
Green table (The)
Chorégraphie Kurt Jooss
The Green Table was created in 1932 for the "Concours international de chorégraphie" in Paris, in which Jooss had been invited to participate. The originality of the piece won him the first prize and marked an important step in his career.
Choreographed in 1932, between two great conflicts, The Green Table is a sort of generic war, a set of circumstances that produce the same result no matter where or when they are played out. So Death bears the combined iconographic attributes.
In 1932, looking out through the thickening hedges of Nazism, Jooss takes a less visionary path. The Green Table is concerned neither with the individual's struggles and redemption, nor with working out a nobler fate for mankind. Jooss dramatizes the way destructive impulses are released, and shows us the consequences. His moral position is unimpeachable, and he drives home his lesson in a series of stark images. Each scene works a variation on the same theme, like the 41 woodcuts in Hans Holbein's The Dance of Death (5). The idea is that Death becomes everyone's partner, effectively seducing them into his dance on the same terms by which they lived their lives. No decisive action, change, or resolution is suggested, and in framing the Dance of Death with the stalemated parentheses of a diplomatic conference, Jooss seems to say none can be expected. The expressionists found the Dance of Death.
Through archetypal characters Jooss revisualizes human life as a function of a larger cosmology, an enduring and spiritual sphere where perhaps even war and death can be seen in a more comprehensible scale. Undiluted essences of natural behavior, these characters are stripped of temporality and individual preference. Today, even as we feel detached from their obvious artificiality, we recognize ourselves in them, in some epic form. People will still be able to understand them in a hundred years.
He left Essen in Germany, where since 1927 he had directed the Volkwangschule's dance department and experimental dance group and, since 1930, the ballet company of the Opera as well. He founded the Ballet Jooss, a private company which toured Europe and performed his dances, including The Green Table.
Chorégraphie : Kurt Jooss
Interprétation : Folkwangballet
Musique : Fritz Alexander Cohen
Réalisation : Peter Wright, filmé en 1967
Production : BBC Worldwive limited
Updating: May 2014
A natural leader and independent thinker, Jooss (1901–1979) helped develop what is now known as German Tanztheater, an expressive dance style that combined movement, text and drama. For Jooss, movement and words were inextricably linked; their connection was key to making performances as powerful an experience as life itself. Unlike expressionist choreographers of his time whose dances spoke to emotional themes, he sought to reveal the fallibility of the human condition. He created dances about urban alienation, social injustice and post-war trauma.
Born near Stuttgart, Germany, Jooss grew up studying piano, voice and drama but was drawn to dance from an early age. In 1919, he met Rudolf Laban, who was creating mass movement choirs danced by both professionals and amateurs, including Jooss. Although he had little dance training, he became Laban's student and choreographic assistant. That same year, Jooss presented his first evening of dance, "Two Male Dancers", with fellow student Sigurd Leeder, who became his longtime collaborator. Soon after, Jooss started his own company and created stage works for trained dancers. In 1927, he began his tenure as the first head of the dance department of the Folkwang School in Essen, Germany, which he co-founded that year. After WWII ended, Jooss returned to Germany and resumed his position as dance director of the Folkwang School, and he remained there until 1968.
Source : Dance teacher