The first weekend of June, the ADAM – Brussels Design Museum is pleased to welcome the Theater der Klänge (Düsseldorf) for two unique performances of the Bauhaus ballets. On the occasion of the major exhibition The Bauhaus #itsalldesign of the Vitra Design Museum, a new interpretation of the Bauhaus stage led by Oskar Schlemmer, will bring to life the Triadic and the Mechanical Ballets.
The Triadic Ballet (1922) is Oskar Schlemmer’s most famous stagework, the one most often associated with Bauhaus-Theatre. At its beginning in the 1920’s, little was known of this ballet which has 3 acts, 3 participants (2 males and 1 female), 12 dances and 18 costumes. Stylised movements and the abstraction of the human body led to the creation of what he called a ‘figurine’.
The reconstructions and new creations of the 60’s and 70’s are those most associated with this ballet today. Instead of attempting an exact costume reconstruction, the Theater der Klänge adapts Schlemmer’s initial pure designs, creating original additions to his ballet-costumes and stage-characters. Instead of automated and dehumanized figurines moving to mechanized music, TRIAS presents an explosion which expresses the joy of bodily and musical action in music and dance theatre. Instead of celebrating the great art of Bauhaus, TRIAS emphasizes Schlemmer’s clown and carnival approach to the stage.
TRIAS dares to create a new interpretation using the 21st Century’s possibilities of dance and music. TRIAS wants nothing less than a revival of its modern classic heritage, and its spirit of the wild, free and roaring 20’s.
The Mechanical Ballet is the title of a stage piece created by the former student Kurt Schmidt at the Bauhaus in Weimar in the 20‘s. Together with The mechanical eccentricity, written by the former Bauhaus master Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, it composed the mechanical Bauhaus stage. They were both based on the same concept: the mechanisation of the stage event as a theatrical subject.
The Mechanical Ballet premiered on 17th August 1923, on the occasion of “Bauhaus Week“ at the State Theatre Jena. His work concerns the layering of two dimensional “spaces” with the means of moving abstract images. Vaguely reminiscent of humans, life-size, colourful, geometric dance figures are controlled from the back by hidden dancers, so that there is always one of the abstract images relating to a particular tableau running through the choreography.
Theater der Klänge (Theatre of Sounds) was founded in Düsseldorf in 1987. The company is an independent ensemble, whose objective is experimenting with different styles of theatre work. They attempt to involve music, dance and acting, as well as aesthetic creations using different forms of costumes, scenery, lighting and media, further to put together different ways of expression.
Its first production in 1987, toiled with two Bauhaus pieces: The Mechanic Ballet (Kurt Schmidt/ Georg Teltscher) from 1923, and The Mechanic Ecentricity (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy), designed in 1921/22. In 1993, Theater der Klänge created a modern approach to the Bauhaus Stage with a piece called: Figure and Sound in Space, using theories and principles of form from Bauhaus stage director, Oskar Schlemmer, and developed them further. This production later became the starting point for a series of inter-media stage creations. Up until this point, TRIAS concludes this Bauhaus sequence with a new interpretation of the Triadic Ballet by Oskar Schlemmer.
The performance at the ADAM is supported by the Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen.
The Triadic Ballet, though mirthfully coquettish, avoids slipping into the grotesque, and touches upon the conventional, without condescending to it. It’s aim is to illustrate the immaterialisation of the body, without becoming esoteric, and to show how the beginnings of this original German ballet could be. Oskar Schlemmer, in 1922