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Uthoff, Ernst (1904–1993) By Norton, Sydney Jane

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM1659-1
Published: 01/10/2017
Retrieved: 13 June 2024, from


Ernst Uthoff was a German-born dancer, choreographer, and company director who received his dance training from two pioneers of Tanztheater (dance-theater): Kurt Jooss and Sigurd Leeder. He was one of the original members of the Folkwang-Tanzbühne (Folkwang Dance Stage), a company that Jooss and Leeder co-founded in 1927, and Uthoff created and performed several important roles for Jooss. As a performer he is best known for his roles of the Standard Bearer in The Green Table (1932) and the Libertine in Big City (1932). In 1934 Uthoff fled Nazi Germany together with his wife, the Hungarian dancer Lola Botka, Jooss, and other company members. The troupe settled at Dartington Hall in England, where its dancers opened a Jooss–Leeder school and performed under the name Ballets Jooss. Ballets Jooss toured South America in 1941, during which time the Chilean government invited Uthoff, Botka, and solo dancer Rudolf Pescht to remain in Chile to establish a school of contemporary dance. The three settled in Santiago that same year, co-founding the Escuela de Danzas (School of Dance). Soon after, Uthoff, Botka, and Pescht established the Ballet Nacional Chileno (National Ballet of Chile), a state-financed company based at the University of Chile in Santiago. Ballet Nacional Chileno was one of Chile’s first nationally sponsored professional dance companies, and it is still flourishing today.

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Norton, Sydney Jane. Uthoff, Ernst (1904–1993). Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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