Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet


Oskar Schlem­mer born Sep­tem­ber 4th, 1888 in Stuttgart, Ger­nany. He was a painter, sculp­tor, designer and chore­o­g­ra­pher. He was also a pro­fes­sor at the Bauhaus School.

Tri­adis­ches Bal­lett (Tri­adic Bal­let) is a bal­let devel­oped by  Schlem­mer. It pre­miered in Stuttgart, on 30 Sep­tem­ber 1922, with music com­posed by Paul Hin­demith, after for­ma­tive per­for­mances dat­ing back to 1916, with the per­form­ers Elsa Hotzel and Albert Berger. The bal­let became the most widely per­formed avant-garde artis­tic dance and while Schlem­mer was at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1929, the bal­let toured, help­ing to spread the ethos of the Bauhaus.


The Tri­adic Bal­let rep­re­sents a place of ten­sions fol­lowed by res­o­lu­tions, where Schlem­mer suc­cess­fully con­ducts a rene­go­ti­a­tion of deeply-rooted ten­den­cies: abstraction-expression; mechanised-human bod­ies; heterogeneity-homogeneity of an art work con­sti­tuted by a dia­logue of dif­fer­ent mediums.

The very idea of dance as a per­form­ing art lies at the heart of these the­o­ret­i­cal issues. Schlem­mer will help us to define first abstract dance as a new lan­guage, rely­ing on sym­bols; sec­ond, per­for­mance as new genre, inte­grat­ing in a com­mon vision and pur­pose het­ero­ge­neous forms of artis­tic expres­sion; and the mod­ern use of rhyth­mi­cal move­ment as a new medium.


This video dance piece of the “Tridiac Bal­let” is recon­struc­tion by Mar­garete Hast­ings in 1970. This was pos­si­ble with of sup­port of Lud­wig Grote and Xanti Schaw­in­sky (Schele­mer stu­dents from Bauhaus School) and also with Tut Schlem­mer, the widow of Schlemmer.