MS 9263
Papers of Gertrud Bodenwieser (1890 - 1959)



Scope and Content Note

  • Papers
  • 1919-97
  • 3.62 m (10 boxes + 4 folio boxes) + 13 map cabinet folio packages
  • Available for reference

Following Gertrud Bodenwieser’s death in 1959, papers documenting her extensive career as a dancer, choreographer and teacher were left in the custody of Marie Cuckson. Together with Emmy Towsey, Cuckson arranged and added to the collection, through donations of memoirs, costume designs and other material from Bodenwieser’s friends and associates. In August 1998 the collection was donated to the Library by Cuckson and her daughter Barbara Cuckson. Part of this collection was also sent to the National Film and Sound Archive.

The collection held by the Library includes correspondence, photographs, costume designs, programs, press cuttings, publicity material and posters, music scores, writings by Bodenwieser, personal documents, dissertations and publications. The collection documents Bodenwieser’s career in modern dance both in Europe and Australia, and the tours and performances of her dance companies Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser and the Bodenwieser Ballet. The collection also documents numerous exhibitions and writings relating to or featuring Bodenwieser, which reflect the continuing appreciation of her talent and influence.

There are few letters to or from Bodenwieser. The correspondence primarily relates to administration of the Gertrud Bodenwieser Archives, including arrangements for exhibitions of material from the collection, and donation of material to various dance archives, libraries and museums. Among the correspondents are Shona Dunlop MacTavish, Eileen Cramer, Margaret Chapple, Hede Juer, Johanna Exiner, Hilde Holger, Robyn Rawson, Giora Manor, Lysbeth Cohen, Karl Bittman, Dr Agnes Bleir Brody, Meg Abbie Denton, Claire Robilant, Paul Bentley, Edward Pask, Ann Butt, Genevieve Oswald, Bengt Häger, Carlos Hecht and Sir Eugene Goossens.

The original arrangement of the collection by Marie Cuckson and Emmy Towsey has been preserved by the Library. Cuckson and Towsey produced a detailed catalogue of the Gertrud Bodenwieser Archives, a copy of which is included with this finding aid.

A portrait of Bodenwieser by Clif Peir is held in the National Library’s Pictorial Collection, as are two photographs by Max Dupain showing ballet poses from the Blue Danube Waltz and Waterlilies. Sound recordings made as part of the Keep Dancing! oral history project are held in the Library’s Oral History collection. Costumes and film and sound recordings from the Gertrud Bodenwieser Archives were sent to the National Film and Sound Archive, and are housed as part of the Keep Dancing! Collection. The costumes may soon be transferred to the National Museum of Australia.


Biographical Note

Gertrud Bodenwieser, dancer, teacher and choreographer, was born in Vienna on 3 February 1890, the younger daughter of Theodor and Maria Bondi. She was trained in classical ballet by Carl Godlewski, but soon came to develop her own modern expressionist mode of dancing based on the New Dance method. By 1917 she had adopted the surname ‘Bodenwieser’. She married theatre director Friedrich Jacques Rosenthal on 27 June 1920.

Bodenwieser’s first performance was at the Wiener Konzerthaus, Vienna, on 5 May 1919. Between 1920 and 1938 she taught at the Akademie für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (the Vienna State Academy for Music and Drama); she was appointed Professor in 1926. In 1931 she won a Grand Prix in Florence, Italy, for her ballet Dämon maschine (later Demon machine). In 1923 Bodenwieser and her newly formed dance company, Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser, appeared in a production of Ferdinand Raimund’s Der Verschwender. From 1925 to 1939 Bodenwieser and Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser toured extensively in Europe, also visiting New York and Japan.

Following the Nazi invasion of Austria in 1938, Bodenwieser and her husband fled to France. While Bodenwieser went on to join some of her dancers in Colombia, Rosenthal stayed in France, where he was later arrested and interned in the concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland. It is believed that he died in 1942. Bodenwieser arrived in Australia in 1939 and established the Bodenwieser Ballet in Sydney. From 1940 to 1954 the Ballet toured Australian cities and towns, as well as visiting New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia and India.

During her career, Bodenwieser choreographed approximately 300 dance works, including dance dramas and comedies, group dances and solo dances, as well as dances for operettas and plays. Over 100 of these were composed in Australia, where Bodenwieser played a significant role in the development of modern dance. Her studio in Sydney helped to produce some of Australia’s best choreographers and dancers, including Keith Bain, Margaret Chapple and Shona Dunlop MacTavish. Bodenwieser also worked with the New South Wales Art Council and the Mobile Theatre Unit. She died in Sydney on 10 November 1959.

(For a full list of works choreographed by Bodenwieser, refer to Shona Dunlop MacTavish’s biography, An ecstasy of purpose (1987), as well as lists collated by Marie Cuckson and Emmy Towsey in Series 11)


Series List

1.

Correspondence, 1970-97

2.

Photographs and slides, 1938-1979

3.

Costume designs

4.

Music scores

5.

Programs, 1922-60

6.

Posters and publicity material, 1926-79

7.

Press cuttings, 1919-38

8.

Tours, 1951-53

9.

Dances, 1949-86

10.

Exhibitions, demonstrations and lectures, 1933-90

11.

Publications and writings regarding Gertrud Bodenwieser, 1919-97

12.

Writings of Gertrud Bodenwieser, 1926-58

13.

Personal documents and mementoes, c1920-86

14.

Miscellaneous papers, 1941-96


Series Description

Series 1 Correspondence, 1970-97

Marie Cuckson and Emmy Towsey corresponded with various dance centres, museums and archives, as well as researchers, former dancers and others associated with or interested in Bodenwieser. They donated copies of material from the Gertrud Bodenwieser Archives to various museums including the Lincoln Center (New York), the Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (Vienna), Dansmuseet (Stockholm) and the Australian Ballet Dance Archives (Melbourne).

Cuckson and Towsey also collected memoirs, photographs and other material relating to Bodenwieser from various people associated with her life and work, including Shona Dunlop MacTavish, Hede Juer, Eileen Cramer and Margaret Chapple.

Other correspondents include Marcel Lorber, Johanna Exiner, Hilde Holger, Joel Crotty, Colin Peasley, Robyn Rawson, Giora Manor, Lysbeth Cohen, Clem Gorman, Lyn Collingwood, Karl Bittman, Dr Agnes Bleir Brody of the Hilverding Society, Meg Abbie Denton of the South Australian College for Advanced Education, Claire Robilant of the London School of Contemporary Dance, Paul Bentley of the Sydney Opera House Trust, Genevieve Oswald of the Lincoln Center, Bengt Häger of Dansmuseet, Edward Pask of the Australian Ballet Dance Archives and Ann Butt of the Australian Association for Dance Education.

Folder

1

Correspondence with the Lincoln Center (New York), Dansmuseet (Stockholm) and Australian Ballet Dance Archives (Melbourne), 1972-80

2

Correspondence, 1971-97

3

Correspondence, 1975-86

4

Correspondence, 1983-93

5

Correspondence, miscellaneous, 1970-85

6

Acknowledgements of material donated to museums or loaned for exhibitions, 1977-80

7

Journal of correspondence, 1976-80

8

Letters and writings of Eileen Cramer, 1980-85

9

Letters from Nell Johnson, 1961


Series 2 Photographs and slides, 1938-1979

This series of photographs and portraits includes work by professional photographers, such as Australian photographer Max Dupain. The catalogue prepared by Marie Cuckson and Emmy Towsey provides a comprehensive listing of the photographs from 1938 to 1960, which are numbered and mounted on cardboard sheets. There are also fourteen colour transparencies of items from the collection, including transparencies of seven photographs, six programs and one costume design. In addition there are several slides of a rehearsal of children of factory works at St Marys, NSW.

Selected online copies from this series are available.

Folder/Piece

1-29

Photographs, pre-1938 (Folio)

30-81

Photographs, 1938-60 (Folio)

82-86

Supplementary photographs, 1938-60 (Folio)

87-92

Miscellaneous photographs, 1939-79 (Folio)

93

Transparencies

94

Information about photographs

95

Photographs and slides, 1955-60


Series 3 Costume designs

This series includes drawings of a selection of costume designs from various dance dramas, group dances and ballets including O world, The life of the insects, The one and the many, The imaginary invalid, The test of strength, This is my country’s sacred soil, The swinging bell and The two lovers. The pencil, paint, crayon and ink drawings were done by various friends and associates of Bodenwieser, including Eileen Cramer, Evelyn Ippen, Lizzi Pisk and Cedric Flower. Notes on the costume designs for The life of the insects are included in Series 1. A pictorial representation of scenes from O world is included in Series 9.

Piece
(all folio items)

1

Costume designs recollected by Eileen Cramer

2

Costume designs by Cedric Flower, Evelyn Ippen and Lizzi Pisk

3

Costume designs for The life of the insects by Eileen Cramer

4

Costume designs for O world by Eileen Cramer

5-7

Costume designs, miscellaneous


Series 4 Music scores

Throughout her career Bodenwieser worked with many notable composers, including Marcel Lorber and Werner Baer. This series includes handwritten music scores for a number of Bodenwieser’s dances, many of which were written in and inspired by Australia. Prior to her death, Bodenwieser had been working on a new choreography based on Claude Debussy’s Des Pas sur la Neige.

Piece
(all folio items)

1

No 10, The one and the many by Werner Baer
The weaker and the stronger by Werner Baer
The test of strength by Werner Baer
Waltzing Matilda by Werner Baer
Barlumi by Malipiers

2

No. 14, The imaginary invalid by Marcel Lorber

3

Cain and Abel by Marcel Lorber

4

Cradle song of Mother Earth (also titled Berceuse) by Marcel Lorber

5

Terror by Marcel Lorber

6

Joan of Arc by Marcel Lorber

7

The life of the insects by Werner Baer

8

Central Australian suite by C. C. Gheysens

9

O world (one scene) by Kurt Herweg (photocopy)
Demon machine by Lisa Maria Meyer
Israeli dance by Werner Baer
Des Pas sur la Neige by Claude Debussy (handwritten copy)
Sphinx by Marcel Lorber


Series 5 Programs, 1922-60

This series includes original and photocopies of programs for performances by Bodenwieser and her dancers, from the first appearance of Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser in Ferdinand Raimund’s Der Verschwender in Vienna, 1923, to the Bodenwieser Ballet’s memorial recital ‘A tribute to Gertrud Bodenwieser’ in Sydney, 1960.

From 1922 to 1938 Bodenwieser and her Vienna-based dance company Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser performed and toured across Europe. When World War II began, Bodenwieser immigrated to Australia and formed the Bodenwieser Ballet. Bodenwieser and the Ballet performed often, including numerous tours throughout regional Australia and overseas. A detailed listing of the programs may be found in the catalogue prepared by Marie Cuckson and Emmy Towsey.

Folder/Piece

1

Collection of programs as selected for display at exhibitions, 1926-60

2-3

Programs, 1922-38

4-5

Programs, 1939-60

6

Miscellaneous programs, 1928-37 (2 items from this folder are in Folio Box 3)

7

Programs of some student recitals, 1927-31


Series 6 Posters and publicity material, 1926-79

This small series includes posters for various exhibitions relating to or featuring Bodenwieser, including Tanz – 20. Jahrhundert in Wien in Vienna, 1979-80. There is also a selection of posters and publicity notes for both Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser and the Bodenwieser Ballet.

Folder/Piece

1

Posters, 1960

2-3

Posters, 1926-79 (Folio)

4

Posters, 1979-80 (Folio)

5

Publicity notices, 1930-60

6

Publicity notices with quotations from world-wide press reviews, 1926-50

7

Publicity notices for tours, 1950-54


Series 7 Press cuttings, 1919-93

This comprehensive series includes approximately 1500 cuttings and photocopies of cuttings. These document many of the tours and performances by Bodenwieser and the Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser and Bodenwieser Ballet dance companies.

Folder/Piece

1

Press cuttings, 1919-38 (Folio)

2

Press cuttings, 1939-42 (Folio)

3

Press cuttings, 1944-46 (Folio)

4

Press cuttings, 1947 (Folio)

5

Press cuttings, 1948 (Folio)

6

Press cuttings, 1949 (Folio)

7-8

Press cuttings, 1950 (Folio)

9

Press cuttings, 1951 (Folio)

10

Press cuttings, 1952-70 (Folio)

11

Supplementary press cuttings, 1947-60 (Folio)

12

Press cuttings received after 1980, 1941-93


Series 8 Tours, 1951-53

Bodenwieser toured extensively throughout Europe and Australia, firstly with Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser and then with the Bodenwieser Ballet. During a period of 30 years, Bodenwieser dancers visited over 200 of the world’s cities and towns, including tours to Japan, New Zealand, South America, South Africa and India. Publicity material for tours is included in Series 6, and photographs from a number of tours are included in Series 2.

Folder/Piece

1

Mementoes of tours, 1951-53

2

List of cities and towns at which the Bodenwieser Company performed

3

Map of tours (two copies) (Folio)


Series 9 Dances, 1949-86

This small series includes notes on dances by Bodenwieser and others involved with the Bodenwieser Ballet. There are also papers relating to the labonotation of Bodenwieser’s ballet Demon Machine. Labonotation is a method of recording dance movements through symbolic notation. The labonotation of Demon Machine was sponsored by the South Australia College of Advanced Education, and published in the Dance Notation Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, 1986. Costume designs, musical scores and photographs of dance scenes are included in Series 2, 3 and 4.

Folder/Piece

1

Scenarios and notes on some dance dramas and group dances, 1949-59

2

O World, a pictorial account by Eileen Cramer (Folio)

3

Labonotation of Demon Machine, 1986


Series 10 Exhibitions, demonstrations and lectures, 1933-90

This series documents numerous exhibitions, lectures and dance demonstrations relating to or featuring Bodenwieser. These activities reflect the continuing interest in and appreciation of Bodenwieser and her work. Cuckson and Towsey helped to promote Bodenwieser through donations or loan of material for exhibitions and lectures. As well, they organised and presented a number of lectures and lecture demonstrations based on Bodenwieser’s choreography. This series includes correspondence, photographs, exhibition programs and catalogues, lectures, dance newsletters and journals. Other material relating to various exhibitions is included in Series 2 and 11.

The earliest exhibition to include Bodenwieser was ‘Der tanz’, in Künstlerbund Hagen, Vienna, 1933. A major exhibition in Vienna in 1979-80, ‘Tanz – 20. Jahrhundert in Wien’ (Dance in the Twentieth Century in Vienna) included a display on Bodenwieser and her work. In 1982 the Hilverding Society (Vienna) donated material from this exhibition to the Theatre Collection of the National Library of Vienna, and provided the Gertrud Bodenwieser Archives with copies of material relating to Bodenwieser’s career in Europe. The catalogue prepared by Cuckson and Towsey includes details of many of these events.

Folder/Piece

1

Memorial recital, New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, 1960

2

Exhibition, ‘Tanz – 20. Jahrhundert in Wien’, Vienna, 1933-80

3

Exhibition in the Sydney Opera House, 1979-80

4

Exhibitions in Vienna and Sydney, 1979-81 (Folio)

5-6

Bodenwieser Centenary Exhibition, 1990

7

Lecture demonstrations regarding Gertrud Bodenwieser for teachers and prospective teachers, 1981-82

8-10

‘Dance in education’ course material for the Bachelor of Education, Institute of Early Childhood Development, 1980

11

‘The history of sacred and biblically-inspired dance in Australia’, a lecture by Mary Jones at the Israel Festival’s International Symposium on the Bible in dance, 1979
Workshop ‘Phases and stages – Modern Dance in Australia and America, from 1923-1983’, at the Champagne Fairs, South Australian College of Advanced Education, 1983
Notes on an exhibition on Viennese dance by the Austrian Institute, London, 1981-82
Lecture demonstration on Gertrud Bodenwieser by Johanna Exiner, biennial conference of the Australian Association for Dance Education, 1986

12

‘Expressive dance in Austria up to 1938’, a lecture by Dr Andrea Amort, 1986

13

Material relating to the Hilverding Society, 1966-83


Series 11 Publications and writings regarding Gertrud Bodenwieser, 1919-97

Marie Cuckson and Emmy Towsey assembled a collection of brief personal accounts by associates of Bodenwieser, who recounted their experiences with Bodenwieser and her companies Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser and the Bodenwieser Ballet. This series includes typescripts or transcripts of memoirs by Hede Juer, Hilde Holger, Illa Banner, Lisl Petter, Helmtraud Pribitzer, Emmy Towsey, Johanna Exiner, Shona Dunlop MacTavish, Hans Forst, Jack Horner, Coralie Hinkley, Basil Pattison, Gisa Taglicht, Barbara Cuckson, Marie Cuckson, Anita Ardell, Lesma von Sturmer, Jean Raymond, Eileen Cramer and Colin Peasley. Cuckson and Towsey also prepared numerous summaries and lists, including a list of Bodenwieser’s choreographies and other biographical information.

There are also dissertations, books, magazines and journals by or about Bodenwieser, and containing accounts or her work and influence. These writings reflect Bodenwieser’s role in the development of modern dance both in Europe and Australia. Other writings regarding Bodenwieser are included in Series 9 and 11.

The catalogue prepared by Cuckson and Towsey includes a detailed list of publications.

Folder/Piece

1

Summaries and lists prepared by Marie Cuckson and Emmy Towsey, 1978-86

2

Memoirs, 1946-97

3

Typescript of dissertation by Gabrielle Renner, ‘Gertrud Bodenwieser: her importance as a choreographer and exponent of the New Dance’, 1981

4

Typescript of dissertation by Robyn Rawson, ‘Gertrud Bodenwieser: German Expressionism and the development of Modern Dance in Australia’, 1986

5

Translations of articles in the European press, 1919-38

6

Translations, various, 1928-79

7

Extracts from books, articles and magazines referring to Gertrud Bodenwieser, 1932-96

8

Extracts from books articles and magazines referring to Gertrud Bodenwieser, 1946-84

9-10

Magazines and journals referring to Gertrud Bodenwieser, 1945-92

11-13

Magazines and journals referring to Gertrud Bodenwieser, 1945-92 (Folio)

14

Karl Bittman. Strauss to Matilda: Viennese in Australia 1938-1988 (1988)

15

Barbara Cuckson. Dance principles (1969)

16

Shona Dunlop MacTavish. An ecstasy of purpose (1987)

17

Shona Dunlop MacTavish. Gertrud Bodenwieser: tänzerin, choreographin, pädagogin (1992)

18

Shona Dunlop MacTavish. Leap of faith: my dance through life (1997)

19

Trader Faulkner. Peter Finch: a biography (1979)

20

Jean Garling. Australian notes on the ballet (1950)

21

Arnold Haskell and P.J.S. Richardson. Who’s who in dancing (1932)

22

Rudolf Lämmel. Der moderne tanz (1928)

23

Marlene J. Norst and Johanna McBride. Austrians and Australia (1988)

24

Ted Shawn. Dance we must (1946)

25

Paul Stefan. Tanz in dieser zeit (1926)

26

The Dance Vol. 1 (vol. 5 no. 5 March 1926 - vol. 9, no. 4 February 1928)

27

The Dance Vol. 2 (vol. 9 no. 5 March 1928 - vol. 13, no. 4 February 1930)

28-29

Tanz – 20. Jahrhundert in Wien (1979) (2 copies)


Series 12 Writings of Gertrud Bodenwieser, 1926-58

This small series of includes a selection of writings by Gertrud Bodenwieser, such as notes for lectures, notes on the history of the dance, introductory remarks to a performance by the Bodenwieser Ballet, and a typescript draft of an article ‘The modern dance’. A number of these are translations from the original German.

Folder

1

Writings, 1926-58


Series 13 Personal documents and mementoes, c1920-86

This series of personal documents and mementoes includes photographs of Bodenwieser, contracts and certificates, notes for rehearsals and articles and documents referring to Bodenwieser’s husband Friedrich Rosenthal.

The series also includes letters of Gertrud Bodenwieser to Emmy Towsey, Hermann Bahr, Werner Baer and Dorothy Helmrich, as well as letters from Sir Eugene Goossens, Carlos Hecht and the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Cuckson and Towsey’s catalogue of the collection includes a detailed listing of these items.

Folder/Piece

1

Personal and professional documents, 1921-77

2

Personal mementoes, c1920-79

3

Friedrich Rosenthal, 1948-86 (1 item from this folder is in Folio Box 3)


Series 14 Miscellaneous papers, 1941-96

This small series of miscellaneous items comprises a copy of Miquette Hirmer-Markl’s portrait of Bodenwieser, a scrapbook of publicity notices, programs and press cuttings collated by Regal Tours manager John Clugston, and notes for examinations set by Bodenwieser for teachers and students.

Folder

1

Photographic copy of a portrait of Gertrud Bodenwieser by Miquette Hirmer-Markl

2

Scrapbook of John Clugston, 1942-96 (bulk 1948)

3

Examination notes, Grades I-IV, 1941-59


Box List

(Please note: Series 2-11, 13 include items in folio boxes and/or the map cabinets)

Box Series Folder/Piece

1

1

1-5

2

1

6-9

2

94-95

5

1-2

3

5

3-7

6

1, 5

4

6

6-7

7

12

8

1-2

9

1,3

10

1-2

5

10

3, 5-11

6

10

11-13

11

1-4

7

11

5-9

8

11

14-22

9

11

23-28

10

11

29-30

12

1

13

1-3

14

1-3

Folio 1

2

1-86

Folio 2

2

87-93

3

1-7

Folio 3

4

1-9

Folio 4

5

2 programs from Folder 6

6

2-3

9

2

10

4

11

11-13

13

1 newsletter from Folder 3

Folio packages in map cabinets

6

4

7

1-11

8

3

Guide prepared March 1999
Amended May 2001