The project documentation offers an insight into the rehearsals for Tracing Isadora. Curator Jan-Phillip Possmann talks about the supporting exhibition on body images in the Wilhelmine period, and dance expert Janine Schulze uses historical source material to reconstructs Duncan’s performance in Mannheim.

Nationaltheater Mannheim:
Tracing Isadora

The ballet company of the Nationaltheater Mannheim (National Theatre Mannheim) dedicated itself to the pioneer of modern dance Isadora Duncan. The dance evening Tracing Isadora was supplemented with a fringe programme featuring lecture performances, open rehearsals, an exhibition and a historical film programme.

The project was carried out with numerous partners including the Academy of Dance, the University of Music and Performing Arts, the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums, the City Archive, the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the City Library and the Atlantis cinema.

Comprehensive in scope, the project took as its starting point Isadora Duncan’s performance in Mannheim in 1907 – to mark the 300-year anniversary of the city – and reflected on the self-perception of this modern industrial city that saw itself represented in Duncan’s dance. With the onset of darkness at the Attisches Fest on 12 July 1907, Duncan and her students danced a programme of solos and group dances. Up to 15,000 enthusiastic spectators are said to have seen the performance, which took place on a specially built podium in the water basin in Friedrichplatz.

Almost 100 years later, the choreographer Dominique Dumais used her new creation Tracing Isadora to investigate Duncan’s credo: rather than copying movements or merely creating them on the basis of aesthetic or virtuoso aspects, positioning the body and its physiological-emotional potential at the centre of movement research.

Interview with Janine Schulze

In the interview, expert Janine Schulze talks about Duncan’s importance in the development of dance in the 20th century, her dance aesthetic and philosophy, the emancipation of women as artists, and body politics in the age of industrialisation.

Dr. Janine Schulze is dance researcher and expert on Isadora Duncan.

Dr. Janine Schulze, born in Bielefeld in 1969. Studies and doctorate at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies Gießen. 1995 to 1997, doctoral candidate on the post-graduate programme Geschlechterdifferenz und Literatur (Gender Difference and Literature) at Ludwig Maximillian University Munich. 1997, doctorate at Gießen University (with Prof. Dr. Gabriele Brandstetter).

1998 to 2000, post-doctorate candidate on the Theater als Paradigma der Moderne (Theatre as a Paradigm of Modernity) programme at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Publications include Dancing Bodies Dancing Gender – Tanz im 20. Jahrhundert aus der Perspektive der Gender-Theorie (1999); Moving Thoughts – Tanzen ist Denken (2003 edited with Susanne Traub); Are 100 Objects Enough to Represent the Dance. Zur Archivierbarkeit von Tanz (2010). Research priorities: dance and gender studies, dance and archive, and dance and film.

Since 1998, lecturer in dance science and dance history at numerous universities, including FU Berlin, Leipzig University, Mainz University, Palucca Schule Dresden and Bern University. 1994 to 1999, own choreographic works (mostly in partnership with Jochen Roller). April 2000 to December 2011, director and research associate at Tanzarchiv Leipzig. Since 2012, research associate at the Institute for Theatre Studies and the History, Aesthetics and Oriental Studies research office in Leipzig.



Programme for Tracing Isadora



Concept and staging – Dominique Dumais
Choreography – Dominique Dumais

Developed with Michelle Cheung, Zoulfia Choniiazowa, Malthe Clemens, Maria Eugenia Fernández, Miguel González Muelas, Julia Headley, Davidson Jaconello, Dávid Kristóf, Hitomi Kuhara, Tyrel Larson, Brian McNeal, Carolinne de Oliveira, Julie Pécard, Luis Eduardo Sayago and Agata Zajac

Musical director – Joseph Trafton
Stage, costume and video – Tatyana van Walsum
Lighting – Bonnie Beecher
Piano in Act 1 – Rainer Böhm

Music by the orchestra of the Nationaltheater Mannheim.


Film recording

Recording of the performance from May 10, 2014 at Nationaltheater Mannheim.

Performance Dates
  • 28 February 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim – premiere
  • 7 March 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 9 March 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 21 March 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 08 April 2014 | Institut für Stadtgeschichte – lecture by Ulrich Nieß
  • 11 April 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 17 April 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 09 May 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim – lecture by Rudolf zur Lippe
  • 10 May 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 11 May 2014 | Atlantis cinema – Karel Reisz film biography
  • 14 May 2014 | Atlantis cinema –  silent dance film by Henri Etiévant and Mario Nalpas
  • 17 May 2014 | Atlantis cinema – short dance films
  • 30 May 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 08 June 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 15 June 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 28 June 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim
  • 29 June 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim –  lecture by Katja Schneider
  • 09 July 2014 | Nationaltheater Mannheim



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