Faculty Mentor

Lodi McLellan

Subject Area

History, Theater Arts


This investigation of esteemed dance artist Rudolf von Laban’s early career examines his involvement with the Nazi regime while working as the director of the German Dance Theater (Deutchen Tanzbuhne). During this time, he actively ensured the upholding of Aryan and National Socialist ideals in dance performance and training, and used his own ensemble-based choreography to promote the creation of community under the swastika. Many dance scholars, focused on the numerous contributions Laban made to the development of modern dance, tend to consider his actions between 1930-1937 to have been coerced or executed out of fear for his life. However, based on official Nazi documentation and accounts and timelines of Laban’s actions and personally written beliefs, the author suggests that Laban’s alignment with the Third Reich was intentional and not the result of coercion or manipulation.


Dance, Rudolf von Laban, German Dance Theater