Das Triadisches Ballett (1970)

I always felt that ballet was the art of pushing the human body to move naturally in unnatural ways. Das Triadisches does the opposite, these dancers are stiff and inorganic. They glide around like little wind-up toys. Putting you under hypnosis in a minimalist waltz. Developed by Bauhaus mastermind Oskar Schlemmer, who has painting, sculpting, choreography and all areas of design to his credit. He was hired as the Master of Form at the Bauhaus Theater Workshop in 1922. He choreographed many ballets in his duration, Das Triadisches being the most famous.

Translating to "the Triadic Ballet", it unfolds in three parts which can be distinguished by colors and high evocative costumes. Almost unreal geometric figures that's mobility feels rooted in some kind of dark magic. In 1970 is was made into a 29 minute color film directed by Marianne Hasting, Franz Schombs and Georg Verden with a contemporary score by Erich Ferstl.

Part one features a sunshine yellow background with robot-like figures and a faceless ballerina. Emoting a clinical and space-age vibe.


Part two features a very bubblegum inspired pink background and more humanoids...

The male figure looks like a buff Ultraman.

She is too cool for words.

My favorite dance, still part of the second act...

She's like a confectionary work of folk art. Gumdrop skirt and headdress. The music in the sequence is absolutly perfect. I imagine little children in the Bavarian Forest would play with these toys on Christmas day, or something terribly charming like that.

Part three, all in black, possible the most dramatic, expressive and frightening of the three....

This amazing get-up reminds me of a snail, or something aquatic. Maybe she's Venus? There's something mysterious and goddess-like about her.

Then there's these terrifying warrior figures - or at least that's what they seem like to me. Somewhere in between a luchador, a Roman mercenary and a Japanese masked hero - these guys are 100 % no-bullshit. Don't mess with them.

Then we have possibly the most dangerous looking costume. I say this because no one will convince me that her tutu and head piece is not made out of razor wire. In my perception, this black cloaked world is like a very dangerous game of chess and she is the queen. She WILL fuck you up, like a wasp, she was programmed by aliens to destroy us all. God help us.

There is no escape, you are going to die.

The segment ends with this animated figure, which I haven't decided if he represents failure. The inevitable captivity of the player, or if he represents the player himself. You've failed so now you're apart of the world, stuck in a motionless statue.

Of course nothing I've said is true. It's just how watching this makes me feel, which I love. It's one of my favorite things I've seen all year. It experiments with time and movement. I'm convinced that I've fallen into this world of giant dancing toys, like some kind of Bauhausian Wonderland. Filled with both enchanting beings and ghastly villains.

Oskar Schlemmer seemed to have influenced a lot of things I love. Notably my favorite of David Bowie's 70's looks...

On the left, Schlemmer's costume from the early 20's, on the right Bowie wearing a strikingly similar costume by Kansai Yamamoto.

Bowie's Bauhaus inspired boxy tuxedo (Nomi on the right)

Klaus Nomi's iconic simplified German Expressionist version, which I prefer.

And there's something about the ballet that feels like a live action Piotr Kamler film, particularly my favorite of his shorts, One Ephemeral Mission.

And lastly I'm convinced that it influenced Barry Levinson's Toys, particularly Joan Cusack's character...

I promise to review this movie some day. I have plenty to say about it and I want to take no less than 200 screen grabs.

These all have flutters of beauty that are rooted in the Bauhaus movement and at the center is Oskar Schlemmer and his contributions. I couldn't recommend this short film more. So if you please, pour yourself a beverage and take a half hour break from your day to enjoy this quizzical objet d'art.

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