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Bauhaus Body and Movement: Exploring the Triadic Ballet Open Access

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Oskar Schlemmer’s dance production Triadic Ballet is, within the context of Bauhaus design history, relatively unknown. Despite Triadic Ballet being odd, over-the-top, or seemingly self-indulgent, it is actually a perfect case study of the core principles and exploratory goals of the Bauhaus school. Looking closely at Triadic Ballet and Oskar Schlemmer’s dance classroom can move us past the mainstream concept of “Bauhaus aesthetics” - primary colors, simple shapes, diagonals, and san-serif lowercase type. It can reveal a deeper level of the Bauhaus’ history - a look into student life and its informal, experimental, and free-flowing creativity. Bauhaus fundamentals can be found in Triadic Ballet as much as in any examples of graphic design, product design, and fine art created at the school. Emphasis on human studies is especially important in Oskar Schlemmer’s dance productions, as they are in the well-known products and legacies of the Bauhaus. Bauhaus Body and Movement will explore the theater workshop at the Bauhaus school, specifically as it existed under the leadership of Oskar Schlemmer from around 1922-1925. This exploration will demonstrate the early human studies that continue to influence the way we view forms, figures, and movement in today’s design world. It will show the relationship between the Bauhaus’ experimental theater workshop and especially Triadic Ballet - a relatively unknown topic - to what we view as core Bauhaus design principles. Implementing both demonstrations and opportunities for interaction, the visitor will experience the experimental and informal culture of the original Bauhaus Theater as they discover how human-centered design principles found in the dance performances can be experienced in their own bodies’ movement. After exploring a unique, vibrant design movement that was ahead of its time, visitors will leave with a basic understanding of Bauhaus principles and culture in the context of a memorable case study.

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