Oskar Schlemmer's greatest work completely changed how people perceived the ballet.
Google celebrated what would have been Schlemmer's 130th birthday with a Google Doodle showcasing, in GIF form, the geometrical wonders of the Triadisches Ballett or Triadic Ballet -- Schlemmer's masterpiece.
Schlemmer joined Walter Gropius's famed German art school, Bauhaus, in 1920. In September of 1923, the Triadic Ballet debuted. The performance is a convention-destroying modernization of ballet, utilizing three dancers, three acts, 12 movements and 18 costumes. It's been described as a "ballet of geometry" in the past and Schlemmer described it as "a party of form and colour".
You can watch a recreation of that famous performance on YouTube. It is both frightening, with bulbous appendages and sharp-edged limbs bouncing around the screen. It's very bright. There's a lot of yellow. It's kind of like a candy-coated horror film.
It's not at all how I imagined the ballet -- but it is totally fascinating.
Though his most famous work, Schlemmer was also a successful artist and sculptor, continuing to draw on themes relating to the human body and its relationship with the space around it.
He died in 1943.
If you're based in the US, you likely missed the cute tribute to Schlemmer. Americans got a Google Doodle on Sept. 3 to more got to witness the Doodle's performance., instead. Those in Australia, China, Argentina and
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