2022, The Method of Émile Jaques-Dalcroze and its consequences for Modern Dance Development

In the third phase of industrialization, decisive innovations took place in the field of Performing Arts. From around 1900, this also affected dance. Grete Wiesenthal, Elizabeth and Isadora Duncan and Clotilde von Derp vehemently opposed the norms of classical ballet – 15 years later there were Mary Wigman, Suzanne Perrottet, Marie Rambert, Claire Bauroff, Celly de Rheidt or Valeska Gert (for example) who developed a new style of dance.

In research into the emergence of new dance art, the role of Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, Nina Gorter, Otto Blensdorf, Marie Adama van Scheltema or Dorothee Günther is considered independent of the efforts of modern dancers. Because there were dancers without rhythmic training and rhythmists who did not dance expressively. However, in the sources from that time, there are indications that prove a connection between Dalcroze’s intentions of rhythmic gymnastics and that of the expressive dance. It can be assumed that his method paved the way for the expression dance.

In this paper, these connections are to be shown using from Dalcroze’s own writings, reports on the ‘Bildungsanstalt für Musik und Rhythmus in Hellerau’ and the statements by Adolphe Appia or Paul Claudel about the performance of the modern ballet “Orpheus”.


Uta Dorothea Sauer studied Musicology, History, Social Sciences and Psychology at the Technical University of Dresden. During her studies she was a student assistant at the European Center for the Arts in Dresden, Hellerau. After graduating, she worked at the Institute for Art and Social Sciences at the TU Dresden (until 2017). During this time she did her doctorate on “Dance and Representation of the Wettins and their Allies in the Protestant Area 1600-1725”, published by musiconn in 2018. After completing her doctorate, she shifted her professional interests more towards Modern Cultural History and wrote for The Saxon Biography, focused on modern dancers, at the Institute for Saxon History and Anthropology. From 2019-21 she was a research fellow of the project ‘German Heritage in Letters’ at the German Historical Institute, Washington DC in cooperation with the Department of International History at Trier University. In 2021, she worked as a guest scientist at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. She is currently employed for transcribing ​​19th century scripts at KERN Global Language Services and as a lecturer in Modern History at the TUDIAS Studienkolleg at the TU Dresden.