Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet

In 1922 Oskar Schlemmer, famed Bauhaus artist and choreographer, premiered the Triadic Ballet, an avant-garde dance performance that toured Europe in the 1920s. Inspired by his own experience in the First World War, Schlemmer constructed the performance around the idea that the human body could be a new artistic medium. These costumes, designed by Schlemmer, had the effect of restricting the body, and thus helping to determine the ballet’s choreography. By limiting the participants’ freedom of movement due to the weight of the materials they are made from, their forms, and the masks worn, Schlemmer’s dancers are architectural structures forced to move as comic actors; dancing both playfully and clumsily across the stage.