The video is part of the larger body of work titled Time Dead Time Alive. My Great Aunt Elfriede Mahler was taught by a dancer and choreographer named Edith Segal that created a dance company in the 1930s called the red dancers. It was the first communist dance company in America and had the goal of creating a new form of dance that could speak to the oppression of the working class by being presented in factories and encouraging people to join in the performance. Aesthetically it followed the Marxist conception of art as literal reality combining this with modernist ideas, which demanded the viewer’s participation in the creation of meaning.
The New Dance Group performs the collective choreography Van der Lubbe’s Head, 1934. Muriel Manings and William Korff Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (021.00.00). Alfredo Valente, photographer.
Members of the New Dance Group in Improvisation, 1932. New Dance Group Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (017.00.00)