Tilly Losch in Her Dance of the Hands - Norman Bel Geddes

Rental Format(s): Digital File

Maker: Norman Bel Geddes
Original format: 16mm silent film 1.37:1
Production: Nutshell Pictures Corp.
New music Rodney Sauer
Courtesy: Norman Bel Geddes Collection, Theatre Arts Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Edith Lutyens Bel Geddes Executrix.

Visionary stage designer, theater architect, and industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes shot hundreds of 16mm movies for research and pleasure. His amateur productions ranged from travelogues and science films to studies of humans in motion. Here Bel Geddes films Tilly Losch at the height of her Broadway career. Intentionally or not through pre-planning, many of the camera angles and sequencing via editing foreshadow the later explorations of ciné-dance by Maya Deren. The dance space depicted here although meant to mimic that of Losch's stage performance is intimately confined to the views captured by the camera. -Bruce Posner

Tilly Losch (1907-1975) was an established dancer, choreographer, and actress who studied at the Vienna Imperial Opera ballet school. Max Reinhardt brought her to the U.S., where she enthralled audiences with her celebrated hand dance in musicals, ballets, and avant-garde performances. She made brief but memorable dance appearances in several Hollywood films.

Norman Bel Geddes (1983-1958) was a visionary stage designer, theater architect, and industrial designer. A pioneer in stage design and lighting, he was involved in more than one hundred plays, motion pictures, and other theatrical performances. As an industrial designer, he was identified with the popular streamline style of the 1930s. -Bruce Posner

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