She spent her first 12 years of schooling at a Catholic convent. In those years she learned respect for knowledge and creative ability, a belief in perfectionism and discipline. At the age of 10 she studied piano, and after graduation from the convent she attended the famous music-oriented Dalcroze Institute. Seeing a dance recital of Mary Wigman in became decisive for her life.
At the age of 28, she saw the German expressionist Mary Wigman perform, and decided to continue her dance career at the Wigman School in Dresden where she soon became a member of the company. Mary Wigman and Hanya Holm shared a special bond through movement. Egyptian Dance was said to be the first time Wigman realized the artistic impression Holm was capable of.
She had the creative will and ability to shape a choreographic vision into reality. The initial letters of certification and agreement from Wigman to Holm about the migration over to America to direct the school were found in her house after her death in These letters were published in Dance, Business, and Politics: Letters from Mary Wigman to Hanya Holm.
Due to the rise of fascism and a need to distance the school from German ties, it became known as the Hanya Holm Studio — Her technique stressed the importance of pulse, planes, floor patterns, aerial design, direction, and spatial dimensions.
She worked on movement that projected into space. I want to see the raw if struggling to express itself. A work must have blood. This was an opportunity for modern dancers to come together to take class and present new works. Inshe choreographed for Broadway: Ballet Ballads and Kiss Me, Kate which led to twelve other musicals.
She also directed a s television musical adaptation of Pinocchio. Holm choreographed extensively in the fields of concert dance and musical theatre. She would tell her students, "You have a perfect right to branch out, if you have the stuff in you, if you discover your own richness, if you have something to say.
She brought weltanschauung to her dance teaching.
Holm was strict; she expected greatness from her students which would come from a willingness to work hard. It was her thought that if you worked hard and truly wanted it, you would achieve the desired outcome. These classes were where the students could expand and experiment on the skills that were presented in class, making the movement innate in their bodies.
Ina documentary of her life Hanya: Her husband was a German sculptor who, when Hitler came to power, sided with the Reich, effectively ending his marriage to Holm. Holm has been honored by the National Dance Associationinwith the Heritage Award for her contributions to dance education.
Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame in Oct 26, · Alwin Nikolais was a student of the greats of modern dance, Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Louis Horst, and others at Bennington College in the s.
After WWII his. · Hanya Holm (born Johanna Eckert; March 3, ) moved from Germany to America. · Known as one of the “Big Four” founders of American modern dance · Dancer, choreographer, and a dance educator · Her son was Broadway lighting designer Klaus Holm · Her husband was a German sculptor who, when Hitler came to power, sided .
Hanya Holm and an American Tanzgemeinschaft Dance as Life Reform At the time of Holm’s arrival in New York in , Mary Wigman was at the height of her international renown and influence. Wigman was a towering her disciples A career as a dancer was not considered socially respectable.
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Nov 04, · Hanya Holm, a major choreographer of modern dance and Broadway musicals, died yesterday at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan. She was 99 years old and lived in Manhattan. She died of pneumonia. Hanya Holm was a catalyst in America's early modern dance scene, first ushering in her teacher Mary Wigman's German expressionistic dance and later bringing modern dance concepts to Broadway choreography.
Holm is known as one of the "Big Four" of modern dance.