Bodenwieser, Gertrud (1890–1959) By Card, Amanda
Gertrud Bodenwieser was an Austrian-born dancer, teacher, and choreographer who made major contributions on two continents to the development of what she called New Dance, and what others have called modern dance, or Ausdruckstanz. Since the 1940s she has enjoyed the status of a dance pioneer in Australia. More recently, her legacy has been recognized in her native Austria, allowing her a place amongst Vienna’s interwar modernist avant-garde. In both countries Bodenwieser is remembered as an inspired experimenter who stirred a prodigious loyalty among her students. Her early experimentation solidified into a formal technique, which she imparted through her teaching in Vienna in the 1920s and 1930s and in Sydney in the 1940s and 1950s. Her pedagogic principles supported her choreographic practice, as did her belief in the interconnectedness of all the art forms. In her works of pure abstraction or her dance dramas, music was a constant inspiration and improvisation a key process in the realization of her kinetic and thematic ideas.