Avista Film / Stella Tinbergen:

Clotilde von Derp (1892–1974) and Alexander Sacharoff (1886–1963) were the world’s most famous dance couple in the first half of the 20th century. Starting in Munich, they embarked on an international career and were rapturously received by audiences around the world. The couple’s life and work not only reflected dance history but also art and cultural history from the early 20th century.

The poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke described them as “Poeten des Tanzes” (“poets of dance”). They represented a link between painting and dance, the like of which had never been seen before. Their innovative, captivating dance style featured dance poses from fine art, from antiquity and the Renaissance, role-playing and costumes they designed themselves. In this way, the Sacharoffs made a crucial contribution to the renewal of art.

In her documentary film Poeten des Tanzes – Die Sacharoffs (Poets of Dance – The Sacharoffs) the director Stella Tinbergen set off on the trail of these exceptional artists and searched for traces of them in German dance history. In addition to interviews with contemporary witnesses,  photos, costumes, notations and film recordings, the basis of Tinbergen’s comprehensive research work also included previously unpublished material, e.g. the Sacharoffs’ diaries.

An edit of the film with entitled Forschungsprojekt Sacharoff (Sacharoff Research Project) was created for TANZFONDS (see above). The main focus of the edit was on the reconstructions of individual Sacharoff dances by Prof. Dr. Claudia Jeschke and which form the core of the film.

Discussion with Claudia Jeschke

Dance expert Claudia Jeschke in discussion with Stella Tinberger and Rainer Krenstetter

For Stella Tinbergen’s film, the dance expert and historian Claudia Jeschke attempted to reconstruct a few of Sacharoff’s dances with the dancers Josep Caballero Garcia and Rainer Krenstetter, as well as students on the Dance degree course at the Frankfurt University for Music and Performing Arts. Jeske discussed the challenges and surprise moments of this work, the significance of the Sacharoffs for art and dance history and the question “What is virtuoso?” in an interview with Tinbergen und Krenstetter at the Mainzer Kammerspiele theatre in August 2013.


A theatre studies and German language and literature student in Munich, Prof. Dr. Jeschke graduated in 1979 and worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Theatre Studies at the University of Munich from 1980 to 1990. In 1994, she became a professor at the Institute of Theatre Studies in Leipzig and honorary director of the Leipzig Dance Archive. In 2000, she became a professor of dance studies at the University of Music in Cologne and then in 2004 at Salzburg University where she ran the Derra de Moroda Dance Archives. She has been a guest professor at various European, American and Asian universities. She also works as a dramaturge, choreographer and exhibition designer, as well as a co-author of TV programmes and DVDs about dance.


A graduate of the Graz Art School and the Film Academy in Vienna, Tinbergen has been producing her own film projects since 1991, including the scenic documentary film Marianne von Werefkin, Ich lebe nur durch das Auge, which was commended for being “valuable”, as well as the documentary film Der Fall Mischa E., which won the Robert Geisendörfer Prize, and Siegfried – Geister, die ich rief, which won the journalist prize “Schizophrenia and Stigma – Mit psychisch Kranken leben” in 2006.
Tinbergen’s films are regularly shown at film festivals, in cinemas and on TV (arte/3Sat).


After completing his classical training at the Royal Ballet School in London and the Vienna State Opera ballet school, Krenstetter went on to dance in the ballet companies of the Vienna State Opera, the Berlin State Opera (Unter den Linden) and the Staatsballett Berlin where he became a principal dancer in 2013. He is currently a principal dancer at Miami City Ballet.


Germany 2014 / 89 min / German, Italian / German ST
Director – Stella Tinbergen
Producer – Alena and Herbert Rimbach
Camera – Alexander Sass and Marc Nordbruch
Editing – Marc Nordbruch
Reconstructions – Prof. Dr. Claudia Jeschke
Music – Maurice Ravel, Enrique Granados,
Girolami Frescobaldi, Robert Schumann, Frédéric
Chopin, Max Reger, Giacomo Puccini and others
Distribution – Movienet Film, Munich

Performance Dates
  • 16 November 2014 |  31st Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival
  • 12 – 18 March 2015 | Casino, Aschaffenburg
  • 12 – 18 March 2015 | Universum Arthouse-Kinos, Heilbronn
  • 12 – 18 March 2015 | Filmladen, Kassel
  • 12 – 18 March 2015 | Savoy, Munich
  • 12 – 18 March 2015 | Sternen Palast, Biberach
  • 12 – 18 March 2015 | Neues Cinema, Ingolstadt
  • 12 – 18 March 2015 | Meisengeige, Nuremberg
  • 12 – 18 March 2015 | Löwen, Rudersberg



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