National Library of Australia
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 collection is available for reference
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Gertrud Bodenwieser, National Library of Australia, [class, series and/or file number]'.
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 available in the Manuscript Reading Room.
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.
Please note: This finding aid may comprise or contain descriptive information provided by donors, researchers and/or volunteers.
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.
Contains: timeline of GB and her husband FR, 1938-1942; a history of the Bodenwieser archive; GB's classes and studios 1939-1954; GB's classes and teaching - a transcribed conversation between Barbara Cuckson and E. Vallance; Bodenwieser teachers at St Mary's 1954-1973; letter from Eileen Kramer about Bodenwieser documentary film; letter from Shona Dunlop for the 2004 GB reunion; commemorating Emmy Steinninger-Taussig at the 1992 GB reunion; letter from Anita Ardell about the Bodenwieser studio; list of costumes donated to the National Museum of Australia; GB and the Cuckson connection; dates from Marie Cuckson's diary 1959-1994; list of costume designers for GB in Vienna; list of GB's choreographies for children 1940-1959; a record of choreographies taught at the Bodenwieser St Mary's school, along with recreations spanning 1954-1973, and recreations at the Rozelle School of Visual Arts 1971-2016; record of Bodenwieser dancer and student reunions, commemorative exhibitions and special classes; newspaper cutting and advertisement, 1955.
List and photographs of GB's children's choreographies at St Marys and Rozelle School of Visual Arts; photographs of GB reunions and "archives" exhibitions.
List and photographs of GB's adult choreographies and reconstructions at St Mary's and Rozelle School of Visual Arts; photographs from the documentary film "Living Art of the Dance".
Photographs of Emmy Steinninger-Taussig (formerly Towsey) teaching Bodenwieser style classes and improvisation.
Includes sketches by Elizabeth Armstrong-Halls, Lisa Roberts, Marion Ives and an unknown artist.
Three original photographs of GB, and three photographs of her memorial plaque.
23 photographs of the Bodenwieser group; and 6 photographs of the inside of the Bodenwieser studio, 210 Pitt Street, 1957.
Jochen Roller conducted research into Errand into the Maze and reconstructed the choreography for performance.
Includes National Museum of Australia magazine with article relating to GB's costumes (2015), and copies of images from the "Eternity" catalogue (2001).
Includes a continuity sheet from a 1957 Channel 7 documentary about students performing; photographs from a rehearsal of "Slavonic", 2014; Theatre Royal Gala performance programme; issue of "Bulletin" magazine with announcement of donation of Bodenwieser archives to the National Library, 1998; samples of Bodenwieser St Mary's programmes up until 1973.
Sketches by Eileen Kramer.
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.
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.
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 colour transparency of a costume design for O world can be found in Series 2, and a pictorial representation of scenes from O world is included in Series 9.
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.
This series includes original and photocopied 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. Colour transparencies of six of the programs are included in Series 2.
This small series includes posters for various exhibitions relating to or featuring Bodenwieser, including Tanz - 20. Jahrhundert in Wien in Vienna, 1979-1980. There is also a selection of posters and publicity notes for both Tanzgruppe Bodenwieser and the Bodenwieser Ballet.
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.
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.
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.
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 1979-1980, '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.
Including '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, 1981-1982; and a lecture demonstration on Gertrud Bodenwieser by Johanna Exiner, biennial conference of the Australian Association for Dance Education, 1986
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.
This small series of includes a selection of writings by 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.
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 from 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.
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.