chapter  2
Mary Wigman’s Writings on the Dance
A philosophy embodied
WithMary Anne Santos Newhall
Pages 36

Mary Wigman was a poetic writer. The drama that was inherent in her performance is reflected in her writing. And she wrote a considerable amount, revisiting and re-emphasizing what she felt was crucial to understanding the new dance. Mary Wigman begins The Language of Dance by saying that her friends want her to write a biography. In the introduction to The Language of Dance, she proposes the concepts of time, strength and space as the elemental vocabulary from which dance is developed as a language. The importance of harmony, between the individual and the group, shaman and community, mystic and acolyte, all seemed to be the oldest stomping grounds of dance ritual. Space, time and strength or effort, those fundamental building blocks that Wigman had outlined in The Language of Dance, were also continuously addressed in her work. The emotional dances originate from another source. Wigman describes them as "those based on subconscious stimuli and spiritual agitation.