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R hythm ic space and rhythm ic movement: The A dolphe A ppia/Jaques-D alcroze


Abdel-Latif, Mahmoud Hammam, Ph.D.

The Ohio State University, 1988

Copyright © 1988 b y Abdel-Latif, M ahm oud Ham m am . A ll rights reserved.

300 N. Zeeb Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48106



Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for

the Degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate

School of the Ohio State University


Mahmoud Hammam Abdel-Latif, B.F.A., M.F.A., M.A.

* * * * *

Ohio State University


Dissertation Committee: Approved by

George P. Crepeau

Firman H. Brown, Jr.

Russell T. Hastings Department of Theatre
Copyright by

Mahmoud Hammam Abdel-Latif


To My Wife and Sons


I express my deep gratitude to my advisor, Dr. George Crepeau, for

his guidance, support, and insight throughout the research. It is no

exaggeration to say that he made possible the completion of this study.

I also extend thanks to the other members of my advisory committee, Dr.

Firman H. Brown for his support, assistantships, and encouragement for

many years, and Professor Russell T. Hastings for his help, valuable

suggestions, and inspiring comments on my work. Gratitude is

respectfully expressed to Dr. Alan Woods for his years of advisory,

help, and support which are part of this research project. I also

express my sincere thanks to Dr. John Greisberger and his staff of OSU

ISS, especially, Mrs. Cres Ricca, for grants and wonderful support.

Most gratifying was the support I received from almost everyone and

every office.

Thanks are also due to Mr. Vincent Giroud, his colleagues and

assistants of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale

University, School of Drama, who made available the related materials

and manuscripts which I was welcome to review in person. Thanks to my

friends, Dr. Sherif F. Ayoub, his brother Essam, and Mrs. Helene Dupas

for their help with the French translation, and Mr. Richard Nantelle for

his help with the German one.

To my wife, Ragaa, I offer sincere thanks for her sacrifice and

unshakable faith in me, and for her willingness to endure with me the

vicissitudes of my endeavors. My sons, Mohammad, Taha, and Kareem, I

thank all for their understanding of my frequent absences.


February 25, 1942 ............. . Born— Cairo, Egypt

1967 ...........

1967-Present . . .
the College of Fine Arts, Helwan
University, Cairo

1976 ...........

1980-82 .........
The University of Kansas

1981 (Summer) . .
Theatre Co.

1982 ...........
The University of Kansas

1984-85 .......
Ohio State University

1986-87 .........
Ohio State University

1986 ...........
Columbus Living Theatre

1987 ...........
Columbus Living Theatre


Major Field: Theatre

Studies in the following subjects:


LITERATURE (Prof. Donald Glancy)
CRITICISM (Dr. George Crepeau)
CONTEMPORARY DRAMA (Drs. George Crepeau, Charles Ritter, Alan Woods)

ACKNOWLEDCSvIENTS............................... . , iv

V I T A ............................................................. vi

LIST OF FIGURES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix
INTRODUCTION .................................................. 1



RHYTHMIC M O V E M E N T ..................................... 17


AND RHYTHMIC SPACE . . . . . ............................ 32



V. CONCLUSION............................................... 137

BIBLIOGRAPHY.................................................. 146

vi ii


(Figure 1.1) Jaques-Dalcroze at the Piano (Hellerau) ........... 18

(Figure 1.2) A Plastic Exercise in Rhythmic Movement ....... . . 21

(Figure 1.3) A Plastic Exercise ................................ 21

(Figure 1.4) A Plastic S t u d y .................................... 23

(Figure 1.5) A Plastic Exercise . . .............................. 25

(Figure 1.6) A Plastic Exercise ................................ 29

(Figure 1.7) Jaques-Dalcroze with his Young Pupils (Geneva) . . . . 30

(Figure 1.8) Institute Jaques-Dalcroze (Geneva) ................. 31

(Figure 1.9) Institute Jaques-Dalcroze (Geneva) ................. 31

(Figure 2.1) Adolphe Appia in 1880 33

(Figure 2.2) Adolphe Appia in 1882 ................... . . . . . 36

(Figure 2.3) Music Composition by Appia in 1880-81 (Geneva) . . . . 39

(Figure 2.4) A Water-Color Sketch by Appia in 1887 (Dresden) ... 42

(Figure 3.1) Prometheus. Act I (The Workshop)..................... 63

(Figure 3.2) Prometheus. Act III (The Workshop Destroyed)......... 63

(Figure 3.3) The Jaques-Dalcroze Institute

— The Main Entrance (1912) .............. . 66

(Figure 3.4) The Ground Plain of the Institute..................... 66

(Figure 3.5) The Main Auditorium of the Institute During a

Demonstration (The orchestra pit is covered over). . . 68

(Figure 3.6) The Same Auditorium (with the sunken orchestra pit). . 68

(Figure 3.7) One of the Setting Possibilities..................... 70

(Figure 3.8) The Audience Area at the Other End ofthe Hall . . . . 70

(Figure 3.9) Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice (1912-13) ......... 72

(Figure 3.10} Appia’s Design (1926) 72

(Figure 3.11) Gluck’s Orpheus: Group of Mourning Women . . . . . . . 74

(Figure 3.12) Gluck’s Orpheus: Orpheus in Hades, Act II,

Scene I , A Rehearsal Phot o gr ap h ................ 74

(Figure 3.13) Paul Claudel’s "Annunciation" designedby Salzmann

(Production Photograph 1913) ....................... 77

(Figui'e 3.14) "The June Festival", July 1914

"Rhythmic Space and Rhythmic Movement" ............79

(Figure 3.15) "The June Festival", July 1 9 1 4 .................79

(Figure 3.16) "The June Festival", July 1 9 1 4 ................. 79

(Figure 3.17) "The June Festival", July 1914

"Rhythmic Space and Rhythmic. Movement".......... 81

(Figure 3.18) "The June Festival", July 1 9 1 4 .................81

(Figure 3.19) Hellerau: Rehearsal Photograph .............. 83

(Figure 3.20) Hellerau: Rehearsal Photograph .............. 83

(Figure 3.21) Alexander V. Salzmann’s Sketch .............. 85

(Figure 3.22) Alexander V. Salzmann’s Sketch .............. 85

(Figure 3.23) Hellerau: A Photograph ............................ 86

(Figure 4.1) Appia at His Drawing Board Looking

Through the Window (1910)....................... 88

(Figure 4.2) Rhythmic Space: "The Clearing" or "Forest Glade" . . . 97

(Figure 4.3) A Plastic Study by the Jaques-Dalcroze Students ... 97

(Figure 4.4) Evening Round (La Ronde du soir), 1909 ......... 101

(Figure 4.5) A Plastic Exercise, Geneva 1918 101

(Figure 4.6) A Rhythmic Space (1909 - 1910)............. 103

(Figure 4.7) A Rhythmic Space (1909 - 1910)................ 106

(Figure 4.8) A Plastic Exercise ................................ 106

(Figure 4.9) A Rhythmic Space "The Three Piiiars" (1909) 109

(Figure 4.10) A Rhythmic Space (1909) ..... ................. 112

(Figure 4.11) A Plastic Exercise .............................. 112

(Figure 4.12) A Plastic Exercise ................................ 112

(Figure 4.13) A Rhythmic Space "The Shadow of the

Cypress Tree" (1909) . •■............................. 114

(Figure 4.14) A Rhythmic Space (1909 - 1910)........... 116

(Figure 4.15) A Rhythmic Space "Echo and Narcissus"

(1909 - 1910) 118

(Figure 4.16) A Rhythmic Space "Moonlight" (1909) 121

(Figure 4.17) A Rhythmic Space (1909 - 1910) .................... 123

(Figure 4.18) A Rhythmic Space "The Staircase" (1909) 125

(Figure 4.19) A Rhythmic Space "The Lane" (1909) Rhythms in Tens . . 126

(Figure 4.20) A Rhythmic Exercise (1909) Rhythms in Threes ....... 127

(Figure 4.21) A Rhythmic Exercise (1909) Rhythms in Threes ....... 128

(Figure 4.22) A Rhythmic Exercise (1909 - 1910) 130

(Figure 4.23) A Rhythmic Space "Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice"

(1909 - 1911) . . . . , .......................... 132

(Figure 5.1) The Hellerau Production of Orpheus ................ 142

(Figure 5.2) Svoboda's Setting for Oedipus (The Final Scene). . . . 142

(Figure 5.3) Svoboda's Setting for Oedipus (Prague 1963)......... 142

(Figure 5.4) Appia, Rhythmic Space (1909) ...................... 144

(Figure 5.5) Svoboda's Setting for Rheingold (Geneva 1975)....... 144


A long and deep friendship developed between Adolphe Appia (1862-

1928) and Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) after their first meeting in

1906. Through their long-lasting relationship, the two Swiss artists,

who had many artistic talents and views in common, complemented and

helped each other to extend and refine their arts, which became a

continuous source of inspiration for following generations of theatre

and dance artists, especially designers and choreographers.

The collaboration of Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze in Hellerau and

Geneva is a subject which has not received the attention it deserves in

spite of its importance to theatrical studies. It has introduced us to

the specific and intimate relationships existing between the arts of

time (music, speech, etc.) and those of space (scenery, lighting, etc.)

through the presence of the human body and its movement existing in time

and space. Moreover, it has opened a new era of economical use of

space, time, material and, above all, the flexibility of the theatrical

system. Since this collaboration began in 1906, only a few articles

have discussed this relationship and thus related material has been

scarce and short or too general.1 No attempt has been made to examine

1 In spite of the importance of Appia/Jaques-Dalcroze's

contribution to the modem stage, there is no book on their
collaboration, only scattered articles of general or limited scope.
Also see page 12, footnote #15.

the artistic outcome of this unique collaboration in the context out of

which it emerged.

For example, Appia*s radical style of rhythmic features, which he

created in 1909-1910 for Jaques-Dalcroze, has not been examined in

relation to his basic musical education and theory nor in relation to

the organically related work of his collaborator. The problem is that

by either ignoring or neglecting the most important facts behind the two

artists, their art and artistic intention, neither Appia*s "Rhythmic

Spaces"2 can be truly understood nor the "Eurhythmies"3 of Jaques-

Dalcroze be fully appreciated.

This dissertation attempts to prove, by presenting and relating

historical and technical facts, a clear understanding of the artistic

outcome of their collaboration, which through the years has suffered

from confusion, misunderstanding, misconception, and misidentification.

This study focuses on the work of Appia and his role in this

collaboration, for it is the most important segment of his artistic

career. Therefore, it is my intent to provide an analytical framework

2 According to Appia, the "Rhythmic Spaces" constitues part of a

series of design projects initiated by Jaques-Dalcroze for his
eurhythmies, and intended to create a style suitable for establishing
the value of the human body and its rhythmic movement governed by music.
These designs, based on three dimensional geometric forms, express their
rhythmic values through organic relations and proportions as well as
through the dramatic use of light and shadows that can be made to
correspond to a particular musical rhythm (Appia, The Work of Living
Art. pp. 87,112,118).

3 The Eurhythmies, according to Jaques-Dalcroze, is "the outcome of

intimate, integral, and near perfect collaboration between rhythm and
music, thought of as movement, evolving in time and space." Quoted by
Henrietta Rosenstrauch in Essays on Rhythm. Music. Movement. p.l.

by which Appia’s art, in principle and in realization, can best be seen,

understood, and judged.

In this respect, it is essential to establish that Appia was above

all an artist-musician who entered the theatrical world through music

and who devoted himself to a reformation of the lyric stage.* When he

became acquainted with the work of Jaques-Dalcroze, Appia addressed

himself to the creation of an architectural rhythmic style of scenery to

enhance the human body and its rhythmic movement governed by music. His

goal was to achieve a mutual physical and aesthetic partnership and to

realize an intimate relationship between rhythmic movement and rhythmic

space.5 Appia’s "Rhythmic Spaces" are not meant to be purely

architectural forms of common use or customary functions, but rather

theatrical ones. His artistic intention was to create a physical and

visual rhythmic space— regular or irregular— which is neither arbitrary

nor unjustifiable but akin to music: "the varying lengths of musical

sounds are realized in visible proportions in space," but without losing

sight of the proportions of the human body— which is itself stylized by

music.® Appia’s creation in Hellerau was not only a result of

intellectual efforts based on common sense and accurate observation, but

a result of several conclusive practical experiences he had in staging

in Paris, Dresden, and Geneva.7 It was at the Institute Jaques-

* Jean Mercier, "Adolphe Appia: The Re-birth of Dramatic Art,"

Theatre Arts Monthly. XVI (1932), pp. 616-619.

5 Appia, The Work of Living Art. p. 21.

6 Ibid, pp. 21, 87.

7 Ibid, p. 88.
Dalcroze in Hellerau, a suburb of Dresden, where Appia had his first

real opportunity to materialize his already existing theory (since


The visualization of Appia’s work in Hellerau is due to the Russian

artist-technician, Alexander Von Salzraann, who played the essential role

of realizing Appia's ideal of setting and lighting with very few but

substantial technical changes. Although the works look almost like

Appia*s originals, Salzmann used his technical experience to improve the

technical quality of Appia’s ideas. While Appia’s drawings reflect an

exclusive use of stone-like structure in all planes to express weight

and stability, and while his straight lines reflect the simple and
-- iaJ2
,> common construction building techniques, as the joints of the
odd rows or layers are placed half way between the joints of the even

ones, Salzmann’s realization follows the forms but not the technique.

As a result, Appia’s original idea of the unit setting was considerably

improved by Salzmann.8 However, it was Appia’s idea of constructing

staircases out of elements of standardized forms and sizes that could be

structurally arranged vertically and horizontally. But if we credit

Appia for creating this new style of flexible and standardized elements

that could be shaped endlessly to suit staging and choreography, we

should also credit Salzmann for perfecting this style, known in French

as practicables, which is practiced today all over the world.9 In this

8 See Figures 3-9, 3-10. He placed the joints of each row of the
steps at the same distance (as shown in the production photograph of
Gluck’s Orpheus).

9 Quoted from Paul Claudel in Adolphe Appia (1862-1928) Actor-

Space-Light, Exhibition Catalogue (New York: Riverrun Press, 1982), p.
85. Also see Denis Bablet, "Adolphe Appia, of Geneva, Great Friend and
regard, especially with the enormous success of realizing Appia’s ideas

by Salzmann, there has been some misunderstanding and confusion which

has led to misidentification. The study attempts to show that the

reasons behind these circumstances are mainly Appia’s humbleness and

remote collaboration, Dalcroze’s failure in his writings to mention his

collaboration with, and debt to, Appia (except in his letters to him),

and the inaccuracy of some individual comments or articles, which gave

credits for the work to the wrong person#10

The study shows that the Hellerau theatre architecture was more

flexible than was previously thought. For example, none of the existing

studies mention that the space of the sunken orchestra pit could be

covered over for use as an extension to the hall floor or the performing

space whenever needed; the same flexibility is also found in the ceiling

and the walls.11 Moreover, the study of Figure 3.22 and 3.23 represent

an experimental use of curtains and masks hung from the ceiling with

different use of dramatic light. In this last example, we see for the

Collaborator of Emile Jaque-Dalcroze, is the Creator of Modem Staging,"

in Le Rhythme, Unionion International des Professeurs de la Rythmiauf>
Jaques-Dalcroze. Redaction et Administration: Comite Central de
IU.I.P.D., 44, Terrassiere, Geneva, April 1963, pp. 3-10. Trans.
Walther Volbach, the Appia Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University.

10 The study proves, in Chapters 3 and 4, that Appia's ideas and

drawings were the essential basics behind the technical development of
this artistic creation and its evolution which led to its practical
realization by Salzmann, whose technical improvement added something to
the work of Appia who must be credited as a designer.

11 Looking at Figures 3.5, 3.6, and 3.7, 3.8 with making some
comparison between the first two photographs will prove the flexibility
of the floor, and comparing the last two will prove the flexibility of
the ceiling, by the rear wall of the acting area, to be used for special
lighting effects. Figures 3.7, 3.8 also prove the flexibility of the
walls to be effectively used for lighting, entering, or exiting.
aj:fite&zs&u 6
first time the use of either masking facade or a main curtain or both.
The significance of the presence of either one or both lies in the

possibility of using lighting instruments behind the facade as a mask in

the first case, and in the use of curtain at times to separate the

spectators from the performers or the helping hands in the second— which

is against Appia*s ideal. This example (Figure 3.23), in addition to

Figures 3.19 and 3.20 shows that while Salzmann captured the spirit of

Appia*s style and sense of form, he maintained the original ideas of

Appia even while of making additions or changes requested^Jaques-

Dalcroze who had the last word in this collaboration.

i '
It was his idea

and request to use a curtain, which is against Appia*s will.12

Finally, although this collaboration was an experiment outside the

commercial theatre, it had a strong impact on both the educational and

commercial theatre. The efforts aimed at a reformation of the lyric

stage through the creation of a direct and living visual and spatial

experience between the performer and the spectator. The influence of

this collaboration and its artistic outcome has inspired theatre artists

around the world. Although Joseph Svoboda denies that he is influenced

by the work of Appia, his work tells otherwise (Figures 5.2, 5.3, 5.5).

12 The following are two representative quotations of Appia and

Jaques-Dalcroze*s opinion about the use of curtains in one event (La
Fate de June of 1914):
A. Appia to Houston Stuart Chamberlain: "It will be a kind of Hellerau-
Appia mixed with the necessary Genevan touch! No painted scenery! No
B. Jaques-Dalcroze to Appia: "I don’t agree with you about the music asks for a curtain. I always thought about a
curtain, my music (you just have to read it) can’t do without a
curtain..." Quoted from Edmond Stadler, "Ehtile Jaques-Dalcroze et
Adolphe Appia" in Frank Martin’s Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. Neuchalel:
Editions de la Baconniere, 1965, p. 499.
Therefore, part of this study demonstrates that the artistic outcome of

this collaboration is still living in the theatre today.

Available Materials

Primary Sources

The bulk of this study relies heavily on the wealth of extant

primary sources and materials housed in the Ohio State University

Libraries and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the Yale

University, ..School of Drama. Essential in analyzing, reconstructing,

and evaluating the Appia-Dalcroze collaboration, especially Appia’s

visual solutions for the Eurhythmies of Jaques-Dalcroze, are Appia*s own

three books and numerous articles, essays, sketches, production

photographs, and Jaques-Dalcroze’s books, articles, lectures, and

letters. Two of Appia's three books and most of his essays are

available in reliable English translations of the French or German

original texts. The three books are La Mise en Scene du Drame

Wagnerien. Die Musik und die Inszenierung. and L ’Oeuvre d ’art vivant.

The last two books were put in two volumes in the Books of the Theatre

Series, a joint undertaking of the American Educational Theatre

Association and the University of Miami Press in 1962. Music and the

Art of the Theatre was translated by Robert W. Corrigan and Mary Douglas

Dirks, and edited by Professor Barnard Hewitt of the University of

Illinois. The other book, The Work of Living Art. is put together in

one volume with a little pamphlet titled Man is the Measure of All

Things, translated by Barnard Hewitt. These two volumes, edited by

Barnard Hewitt, were read and approved by Walther R. Volbach of Texas

Christian University, who was representing both the Adolphe Appia

Foundation and the American Educational Theatre Association. In

addition all Appia’s extant essays, articles, letters, and other

materials of the Appia Foundation were made available to Professor

Volbach, who was given the authorization to publish them in English and

French.13 Among these documents are Appia’s manuscripts and unpublished

letters from Jaques-Dalcroze to him. Fortunately, Professor Volbach

undertook the English translation of all Appia’s original materials and

placed them among the Appia Collection of Beinecke Library at Yale

University. In addition, Appia’s Portfolio, which contains fifty-six

sketches of his designs, including fourteen "Rhythmic Spaces" (1909-

1910) and many other sketches and production photographs from different

sources— all represent Appia’s artistic vision and analysis of the basic

principles of staging that led to his revolutionary creation of Rhythmic

Spaces. Other documents of great importance are some of the Appia

Exhibition Catalogues such as Adolphe Appia (1862-1928); Actor-Space-

Light. published by Pro Helvetia-Arts Council of Switzerland in 1982,

and Adolphe Appia. published by Victoria and Albert Museum, October

1970-January 1971. Such sources provide very crucial and detailed

information which helps in analyzing the "Rhythmic Spaces" Appia

designed for Jaques-Dalcroze, the effect of this new treatment, both on

the performers and spectators, and the relationships between the

rhythmic movement and space. Another important source was the Appia

Touring Exhibition of November 1984 at the Theatre Research Institute of

the Ohio State University, which had most of Appia’s designs reproduced

in full size in black and white on half-tone colored paper. These

materials are rich in information about the physical structure and the

13 Appia, The Work of Living Art. p. ix. Also see Walther R,

Volbach, Adolphe Appia; Prophet of the Modem Theatre; A Profile
(Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan Univ. Press, 1968), pp. xiii-xiv.

visual and dramatic treatment which support Appia’s realized theory.

Such sources are replete with textual and technical details reflecting

Appia’s aesthetic qualities.

Unfortunately, almost all of Appia’s letters to Jaques-Dalcroze

were destroyed, but fortunately the latter’s letters to Appia are

available. They are very valuable because they reveal how heavily he

depended on Appia, and how Appia’s ideas were behind his success.

Additional essays and articles by Appia are also available in

English translations. "The Future of Production," a lecture delivered

by Appia in 1921, was published in Theatre Arts Monthly in August 1932

(pp. 649-666). Another essay by Appia, "Living Art or Still Life?"

appeared in Theatre Annual in 1934. "Art is an Attitude" was an article

used as an introduction for Twentieth-Century Stage Decoration. 1967, a

book by Walter Rene Fuerst and Samuel J. Hume. Other reliable sources

include Appia’s opinions as quoted by his collaborators, students and

very close friends such as Jaques-Dalcroze, Jean Mercier, Oskar

Waelterlin, and Jacques Copeau. Sane of the forementioned letters

between Jaques-Dalcroze and Appia are also available among other

materials in an article by Edmond Stadler in Frank Martin’s book Bnile

Jaques-Dalcroze (1965), pp. 413-459. The latter book contains essential

materials and photographs which helped in analyzing what Appia and

Jaques-Dalcroze were doing, how their work was received, the treatment

of the scenery and its effect both on the performers and the spectators,

and the resulting visual impact, especially the dramatic use of light

corresponding to music and movement, etc. Such crucial details,

gathered from these supplementary sources, have helped provide a more


complete and accurate picture of the artistic outcome and its influence

on the modern theatre than would have been possible by depending on the

works of Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze alone.

Jaques-Dalcroze wrote two books: 1) Rhythm. Music, and Education

(1921), translated from the French by Harold F. Rubinstein, and

published in 1976; and 2) Eurhythmies: Art and Education (1930),

translated from the French by Frederick Rothwell and published in 1976.

These books contain Jaques-Dalcroze’s theory and development. They

include a large number of essays, photographs and sketches, lectures at

home and abroad, etc.; they give a clear idea of his new system

"Eurhythmies" and how he developed his music education to make his

students feel and realize a musical rhythm through rhythmic bodily

movement in time and space.

Supplementing these two works are numerous books, articles, and

essays which have a large number of reviews, photographs and reports of

his productions done in Hellerau and Geneva, in collaboration with


Examples of these sources on Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze, available

at OSU libraries mostly in English and some in French, are Walther R.

Volbach’s Adolphe Appia: Prophet of the Modern Theatre: A Profile

(1968); this book is the first and only full-length study devoted to

Appia. It is a well organized and illustrated study of consisting of

seven chapters based primarily on the Appia original materials housed in

the Appia Foundation in Geneva, which were made available to Volbach.

Each chapter deals with a major period of Appia’s work except Chapter
IV, which is devoted to his personality.14 Chapter III, however, is the

most helpful part for it deals with a descriptive study of the

collaboration of the two artists in action.15 This book, which provides

the most comprehensive bibliography of materials by and on Appia, was my

best guide throughout my research. Frank Martin's book Emile Jaques-

Dalcroze, Neuchatel: Editions de la Baconniere (1965) is an invaluable

source for this study for it is a documentary study on the artistic

development of Jaques-Dalcroze; it also contains a very important

article by Dr. Edmond Stadler of the Appia Foundation at Bern, on both

Jaques-Dalcroze and Appia. This article is of special value for it

focuses on the artistic nature of their work through the forementioned

letters exchanged between the two artists at the time of their

collaboration. The whole book has been consulted with many other

materials and duly noted in each chapter of this study. Lately, the

Swiss Society of Theatre published a new study on Appia, Adolphe Appia:

Oeuvres Completes I 1880-1894 (1983), which include valuable and new

information on the man and his work. In this book, Denis Bablet has a

lengthy detailed study, which became of essential help to the purpose of

this dissertation. The book also includes one of Appia’s musical

exercises and one of his first colored sketches.

14 W. Volbach, Adolphe Appia; Prophet.. p. xiv.

15 In about thirteen written pages (pp.82-99) supported by two

sketches of Appia's "Rhythmic Spaces" and four production photographs,
Volbach describes the Appia-Jaques-Dalcroze meeting and collaboration in
Hellerau and Geneva in depth, which helped me develop my own analytical
framework in a different direction that focuses on the intimate
relations between rhythmic movement and rhythmic space.

Additional articles related to Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze, written

by Volbach, were also consulted for further investigation of the Appia-

Jaques-Dalcroze collaboration and the intimate relationships they

conceived between rhythmic movement and rhythmic space. These articles,

such as "Appia’s Productions and Contemporary Reaction," "Beginnings of

a Genius," "Profile of a Genius," "Jacques Copeau, Appia’s Finest

Disciple," "The Collaboration of Adolphe Appia and Emile Jaques-

Dalcroze," and "Time and Space on the Stage," more or less represent

Volbach’s views about the art and life of Appia and the collaboration of

the two Swiss artists. They are found in various periodicals cited in

the bibliography of this study.

Another study of Appia is Jean Mercier’s article: "Adolphe Appia:

The Rebirth of Dramatic Art."16 This study is important for two

reasons: it touches on the subject of this dissertation, and it was

written by Appia’s closest associate, who was also one of his pupils.17

Mercier provides us with invaluable information about Appia and his work

as well as his influence on the modern stage.

' Supplementary studies of value are 1) a chapter in Lee Simonson's

The Stage is Set (1932). This study demonstrates Appia’s leading

position in the development of the modem theatre. Lee Simonson admits

that Appia is the most influential figure in modem stagecraft but

regrets that Appia published his findings in German rather than English.

2) That same year, Simonson also praised Appia in a Theatre Arts Monthly

16 See Theatre Arts Monthly. XVI (1932), pp.615-630.

17 Volbach, Adolphe Appia: Prophet, pp. 131-32. Also see Mercier,


article based on the book chapter; here he states that "Appia is the

founder of modern stagecraft.1,18 Lee Simonson’s statement is well

documented and supported by photographs of works influenced by Appia,

including three views of two model settings for Dante’s The Divine

Comedy and Eugene O ’Neill's Lazarus Laughed, designed by Norman Bel

Geddes in 1927.19 3) Jessica Davis Van Wyck, another student of Appia,

wrote two essays in Theatre Arts Monthly (Dec. 1924, Jan. 1925),

incorporating eight sketches by Appia and herself in "collaboration"

with Appia." The significance of these two articles and these sketches

lies in their revelation of another dimension of Appia’s personality and

artistic ability, and of the discovery of many sketches not included in

his portfolio. The fact that the portfolio does not contain these

sketches (at least fourteen) suggests that there may be other Appia

sketches lost forever or, at the very best, hidden in other places.

Moreover, the Davis Van Wyck articles include a sketch attributed to

Appia which is not really his. This study investigates this matter in

detail in Appendix II.

Of equal importance sire studies by sou® students of Jaques-

Dalcroze. Most of this material is full of supplementing details about

is Lee Simonson, "Appia’s Contribution to the Modem Stage,"

Theatre Arts Monthly, XVI (1932), pp. 641-643.

19 In his article in Theatre Arts Monthly (August 1932), Lee

Simonson states that "Appia’s theory of the theatre has found no more
complete realization than in the work of Norman Bel Geddes whose
monumental project for a production of Dante’s classic poem is a
distinguished contribution to American theatre art."

20 Jessica Davies Van Wyck, "Working with Appia," Theatre Arts

Monthly. 8 (1924), pp. 815-18. Also see J. Wyck, "Designing Hamlet with
Appia," Theatre Arts Monthly. 9 (1925), pp.17-31.

Eurhythmies and its contribution to music education, such as Heather

Gell’s Music. Movement and the Young Child (1959), Elsa Findlay’s Rhythm

and Movement: Applications of Dalcroze Eurhythmies (1971), and Henrietta

Rosenstrauch’s Essays on Rhythm, Music. Movement (1973). These studies

are based on the principles of the Jaques-Dalcroze method, which these

writers learned while studying with him in Geneva and London and now

teach at schools of dance and theatre in different colleges and

universities as well as other institutes of music.

To a lesser extent, though no less helpful, was research by other

scholars, such as Richard C. Beacham’s two articles, "Appia, Jaques-

Dalcroze, and Hellerau, Part One: ’Music Made Visible’, and Part Two:

’Poetry in Motion’ in New Theatre Quarterly, Vol.l, No.2, May 1985, and

vol.l, No.3, August 1985. These two articles are followed by a book by

the same author, Adolphe Appia: Theatre Artist. Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press, 1987. The book includes the two articles placed after

revision in two chapters which are mostly devoted to the collaboration

of Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze in Hellerau. But it must be said that Mr.

Beacham’s book inaccurately credits Appia for designing the setting for

Claudel’s The Annunciation of 1913, which is actually Salzmann’s, as

analyzed and documented in the Conclusion of this dissertation.

In addition to the information extracted from the above mentioned

sources, Denis Bablet’s books and articles on stage design in general

and on Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze, in particular, have been consulted.

His books, Esthetique general du decor de theatre de 1870 a 1914, Paris,

Editions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1965, and The

Revolutions of State Design in the 20th Century. New York: Leon Amiel,
1977, and his articles, such as "Appia and Theatrical Space: From Revolt

to Utopia," in Adolphe Appia (1862-1928): Actor-Space-Light (Exhibition

Catalogue), New York: Riverrun Press, 1982, and others are rich in

descriptive detail and provide a thorough knowledge of Appia, his work,

and his position in the past and present. The books and dissertations

on Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze have been consulted and duly noted in each

chapter of this study.



The search for educational reform, around the turn of the

nineteenth century, was one of many significant movements which began to

challenge the old conventions in every field. Emile Jaques-Dalcroze was

one of the leading figures in the area of music education. He believed

that rhythm is an important factor in music. Musical rhythm was

recognized by him sis "the most potent element in music and the one most

closely to life."1 As a young professor at the Geneva Conservatoire of

Music, he began to question the conventional method of teaching music,

especially after he had discovered that his students’ sense of time was

imperfect and they did not feel the rhythm as presented to them on the

printed page.2 His decision was to train the ears of his pupils as

early as possible, because he discovered that the young child develops

the hearing faculties with remarkable ease. Jaques-Dalcroze set his

students exercises in stepping and halting, and trained than to create a

physical movement in relation to the perception of musical rhythms.

That was the origin of his "Eurhythmies", a new systan of music

1 Jack Dobbs, "Emile Jaques-Dalcroze" in Some Great Music

Educators: A Collection of Essays, ed. Kenneth Simpson (England: Borough
Green-Novello 1976), p. 52.

2 Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, Rhythm. Music and Education, trans. Harold

F. Rubinstein (New York: AmoPress 1976), p. v.

(Figure 1.1) Jaques-Dalcroze at the Piano (Hellerau)

education, by which a perfect sense of hearing could exist in harmony

with all senses of movement and space.3 It was a new revelation to him,

his contemporaries, and following generations.

Emile Jaques-Dalcroze was b o m in Vienna (Austria), on July 6,

1865, of French-Swiss parents. His family was highly intellectually

and almost all played music. He had a joyful childhood, developed a

charming personality, and at an early age showed many talents,

especailly in music. At the age of six, he began to take piano lessons.

He was profoundly interested in, and influenced by, Johann Strauss and

his orchestras. When he was ten, Jaques-Dalcroze’s family moved to

Geneva, where he attended a private school for two years and continued

to take piano lessons.4

In the autumn of 1877, Jaques-Dalcroze was admitted to the

Conservatoire of Geneva where he was placed in the secondary division.

He rose to the top of his class and held this position through his

graduation in June 1883. After graduating from high school in the same

year, he enrolled in the University of Geneva without a specific goal in

mind. His studies there were irregular and of short duration.5

During these years, Jaques-Dalcroze engaged in some artistic and

dramatic activities such as acting, singing and writing songs, until he

was offered a position as a second music director of a small theatre

3 Ibid, p. iv.

4 For much of the material of this chapter, the writer is indebted

to the authors of "Emile Jaques-Dalcroze11. namely, Tibor Denes.

5 Tibor Denes, "Chronologie," in Frank A. Martin (ed), Emile

Jaques-Dalcroze (Neuchatel: La Baconnier, 1965), p. 13.

(Theatre des Nouveautes) in Algiers.6 On September 8, 1886, he went to

Algiers to stay for the summer season. This trip was a decisive

influence on his artistic career for he recognized the significance of

the peculiar rhythms of Arab popular music, which he found unusually

interesting and stimulating.7

In the autumn of the following year, he went to Vienna where he was

admitted in the Academy of Music and studied piano, harmony,

counterpoint and composition. At the same time, he was engaged in

musical performances of his own work.8 In 1889, he returned to Geneva,

lectured on his work at the Conservatoir, then went to Paris to study

the laws of expression and rhythm under Mathis Lussy (a Swiss musician

who emphasized the element of rhythm throughout his research).9 In

1891, he returned to Geneva emphasizing rhythm in his lectures and piano

demonstrations with more and more success. As a result of his tireless

efforts, the Geneva Academy of Music offered him a position to teach a

special course on the history of music. He also gave lecture-

tours on music at many cities in Switzerland. The most important result

of these artistic activities was his appointment as a professor of

theoretical harmony for the upper division. In 1893, solfege was added

to the teaching course.10 As he began to emphasize rhythm as an

6 Ibid, pp. 13-14.

7 M.E. Sadler, The Eurhythmies of Jaques-Dalcroze (Boston: Small,

Maynard 1918), p. 35.

8 Tiber Denes, "Chronologie", p. 14.

9 Ibid, p. 15.

10 Tiber Denes, "Chronologie," p. 15.


(Figure 1.2) A Plastic Exercise in Rhythmic Movement

(Figure 1.3) A Plastic Exercise


important element in music education he soon discovered that the

rhythmic side of the musical personality of his students was usually

undeveloped. Rhythm, he found, was the least understood of musical


After the first few lessons, I noticed that the ears of my pupils
were not able to appreciate the cords which they had to write, and
I concluded that the flaw in the conventional method of training is
that pupils are not given experience of chords at the beginning of
their studies... Accordingly I decided to precede my lessons in
written harmony by special exercises of a physiological nature
aimed at developing the hearing faculties ...12

Jaques-Dalcroze’s first task was to have his students feel the

rhythm as presented to than on the printed score. He devised a system

of musical training to develop instinctive rhythmic reaction to a simple

musical rhythm through devising and improvising progressive bodily

movement as a means of self expression. Such an educational system of

rhythmic value, in which the body is used as the interpreter of musical

rhythm, is now known to the world as "Eurhythmies". It brings to life

the beauty and simplicity of movement and sincerity of expression by

putting real and imaginary experiences into visible rhythmic movement.

It is a combination of piano playing, listening to music and dancing;

all three activities and the participation of mind and body are

necessary for true rhythmic realization of simple music.

Music is composed of sound and movement. Sound is a form of

movement of a secondary, rhythm of primary, order. Musical studies

11 Arther Mendel, "Music: Mental and Bodily Rhythm," The Nation.

Vol. 134, No. 3476 (February 19?), p. 210.

12 Jaques-Dalcroze, Rhythm. Music, and Education (London 1921), p. v.


(Figure 1.4) A Plastic Study


should therefore be preceded by exercises in movement. Every limb-

-first separately, then simultaneously, finally the whole body—
should be set in rhythmic motion; the resulting formation, i.e.,
the relations between the energy, space, and time involved, being
carefully collated and regulated.13

Jaques-Dalcroze spent a great deal of time teaching, lecturing and

demonstrating his work at home and in many European cities, which

brought recognition and support for his teachings. Lectures and

demonstrations given in Geneva attracted the attention of several German

cities. The most notable event was his presentation of dance-songs at

Basel in 1903. Following this demonstration, many other cities invited

him to come as lecturer and guest teacher.14

One can imagine Jaques-Dalcroze’s frustration and disappointment as

he finds himself welcome and his work appreciated abroad at the time his

countrymen, especially his colleagues, deny him such acclaim.

I have experienced the heavy resistance of all those who direct the
musical movement here. I have been fighting for ten years; only
one year ago, despairing to be able to make some experiences at the
Conservatoire where I was always told that my research did not
offer any interest... How many times did they reproach me to forget
the music and create myself a mentality of a dance master.15

Jaques-Dalcroze could convince a few parents to entrust their

children's music education to him. The experiments that he was able to

make during these lessons were very valuable. He was convinced that his

research was legitimate in spite of his colleagues's opposition to his

13 Jaques-Dalcroze, Rhythm. Music, and Education, pp. 89-90.

14 Volbach, Adolphe Appia: Prophet .... p. 84.

15 Jaques-Dalcroze's letter to Appia, dated May 21, 1906. Quoted

from Stadler, "Emile Jaques-Dalcroze et Adolphe Appia," p. 418.

(Figure 1.5) A Plastic Exercise


efforts.18 He had full confidence in his whole approach to music

education. His goal was to realize the intimate relationships existing

between rhythms in sound and rhythms in the body moving in time and

space. He proposed undertaking an independent study of sound and

movement, as two separate elements, before teaching the existing

relationship between them. He believed that the study of music begins

by careful and experimental teaching of movement and that this movement

begins with its simplist form as marching exercise, which is "a natural

model of time measure."17

As study progresses additional uses of different parts of the body

express various accentuations of musical rhythms. It is essential,

however, to stress the feelings of the performer in response to music

through self-expression. Although such training sounds simple and easy,

in practice it needs tremendous training and discipline to use rhythmic

movement to enhance musical sound variations of accentuations.

By means of various accentuations of the foot, I teach the

different time measures. Pauses (of varying lengths) in the
marching teach the children to distinguish durations of sound;
movements to time with the sums and the head preserve order in the
succession of the time measures and analyzing the bars and

Jaques-Dalcroze*s intent was to have his pupils see clearly in

themselves what they really are after thorough rhythmic training. Such

experiments in rhythm, and the complete study of movements— simple or

sophisticated— should create a fresh mentality and joyful attitude.

16 Ibid.

17 Quoted by Sadler, p. 14.

18 Jaques-Dalcroze*s lecture on "Rhythm as a Factor in Education,"

quoted in Sadler, p. 12.

physical response to music as heard. The basic principle of Jaques-

Dalcroze' s method is that music and movement are organically

interrelated in time and space; the body is used as a living musical

instrument to express the rise and fall of musical rhythm.

In conclusion, the Eurhythmies of Jaques-Dalcroze was rhythmic

movement, achieved through the experience of musical rhythm, meant to

develop the ability to create different movement-expression, and the

ability to improvise the rhythmic movement simultaneously with the flow

of melody. Each individual expresses himself in personal response

physicalized in extreme diversity of movements— this is natural and

expected. But in case of a group work, the entire group is devoted to

the unity and harmony of one interpretation used to produce one

aesthetic composition of general effect of living art.

Eurhythmies has had a great influence on the theatre, in general,

and the lyric stage, in particular. The aesthetic discipline of the

body, which first took place in Eurhythmies, found its way to the

theatrical performer, actor, dancer or singer, to unify and harmonize

the dramatic action on the stage with the other theatrical elements.

Eurhythmies provided an aesthetic education for Jaques-Dalcroze ’s

students, and it also became an aesthetic movement which made an impact

on the musical theatre, choreography and music education all over the

world. The Jaques-Dalcroze approach to learning and teaching music has

been adopted by his international students who not only wrote books and

articles about him and his work, but also opened schools similar to his

in Europe and America. As a result, the work of Jaques-Dalcroze, which


was considerably developed after his acquaintance with Appia, became a

nursery for a new aesthetic movement which enriched music education.

(Figure 1.6) A Plastic Exercise
(Figure 1.7) Jaques-Dalcroze with his Young Pupils (Geneva)

(Figure 1.8) Institute Jaques-Dalcroze (Geneva)

(Figure 1.9) Institute Jaques-Dalcroze (Geneva)




Adolphe Appia was a rare man of many talents who is known to the

theatre world through his theory rather than through his practice.

Although he is considered by some theatre people as one of the prophets

of the modem theatre, his work is not widely read, and its true scope

and value is not fully appreciated except by a few people.1 Yet, no

attempt has been made to examine Appia’s radical style of rhythmic

features in relation to his basic music education, his own theory and

artistic intention, or in relation to its organically related work of

his collaborator. As a result, Appia’s most profound study of stage

space to explore its theatrical possibilities cannot be truly

understood. However, it is essential to emphasize the fact that Appia’s

theory and practice cannot be separated; they must be examined together

as one organic whole if we are to understand his entire philosophy and

artistic concepts of Time and Space as supplied by music, movement, and


Adolphe Francois Appia was b o m in Geneva on 1 September, 1862.

His family was originally French and Italian. His father, Dr. Paul

1 Denis Bablet, "Adolphe Appia, of Geneva, Great Friend and

Collaborator of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, is the Creator of Modem
Staging," published in Le Rhthroe in 1963, trans. Walther Volbach, the
Appia Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University, p. 1.


(Figure 2.1) Adolphe Appia in 1880


Amedee Appia was a cofounder of the Red Cross and had settled in Geneva

in 1849, where a number of the Calvinist clergymen in the family studied

and married into Swiss families. The father’s family came from St.

Jean, one of the Protestant French-speaking Vallees vaudoises in

Piedmont. Appia's mother, Ann-Caroline Lasserre, was from an old Geneva

family. As a young child, Appia went to the primary school in Geneva,

and then he attended his secondary and high school at the humanistic

College de Vevey, a boarding school at Vevey near Geneva, where singing,

drawing, and gymnastics were emphasized.2 Appia’s youth was passed on

the banks of the Lake of Geneva, and in the countryside around Vevey

which became influential on his artistic vision.

He showed early a remarkable talent for music, and music moulded

his child soul and gave him that extraordinary, deep, inner
vibration which never left him. Appia was, first of all, a
musician, and it is important to realize this priority. Music was
his chosen art, his inspiration. Through music the whole world of
art was revealed to him.3

At Vevey High School (1874-1879), Appia was an irregular student

with average results except in music and art in which he was bright.4

His curiosity about the arts, particularly the theatre, represented an

opposite interest from his strict religious and conservative family.

The idea of theatre, even the word, was banned in our family
circle, and its absence was doubtless a stimulant to my

2 Edmond Stadler, Adolphe Appia. (London: Victoria and Albert

Museum Catalogue 1970), p. 7.

3 Jean Mercier, "Adolphe Appia: The Rebirth of Dramatic Art," 16

(1932), p. 616.

4 Adolphe Appia: Oeuvres Completes I (188-1894). ed., Foundation de

la Collection Suisse du Theatre (Bern, 1983), p. 34.

imagination...and, since theatre, its most fascinating form, had

been excluded from my childhood, it inevitably drew my attention.5

In fact, Appia’s childhood experience and environment left their

marks on his life and determined his direction. His great sensitivity

suffered from strict discipline, exaggerated piety, monotony, and, above

all, contempt for what interested him the most.6 As a result of being

under such tension while receiving no encouragement, Appia began to

stutter, and this defect grew worse with the years especially after a

typhus attack in 1878.7 This stuttering made him so self-conscious that

he shunned publicity and withdrew from the presence of strangers.

Fortunately, he was able to concentrate on his talents and use writing

and drawing to express and explain his artistic visions.8

It was not until he was eighteen years old, that his parents, who

did let him study music, allowed him to go to the theatre— and then only

when he had to become acquainted with opera.9 This seems to mark an

important step in the beginning of Appia’s career. At twenty, he left

Geneva to continue his musical studies abroad, and side

5 Adolphe Appia, "Theatrical Experiences and Personal

Investigations," unpublished essay of about 1924, trans. Walter R.
Volbach, the Appia Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University, p. 355
of the typescript.

6 Walther R. Volbach, Adolphe Appia— Prophet of the Modem Theatre:

A Profile (Connecticut, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press 1968), p.

7 Adolphe Appia: Oeuvres Completes, p. 34.

8 Volbach, Appia— Prophet. p. 21.

9 Appia, "Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations," p.


(Figure 2.2) Adolphe Appia in 1882

by side with music, he set himself to the study of theatrical technique

and stagecraft in Dresden and Vienna.10 In the Fall of 1882, he entered

the Leipzig Conservatory, and saw an original production of Wagner's

Parsifal at Bayreuth. Later on, he returned there three other times to

see Tannhauser. Lohengrin. The Mastersingers. and The Ring. In fact,

Wagner's music held Appia's attention; in the music-dramas, Appia found

what he considered the answer to all his needs— music and the theatre,

but not without some disappointment caused by the conflict between his

ideals, based on his own artistic education and his high expectations,

on the one hand, and the inadequacy of presentation on the other.

Notably, Wagner’s music-dramas moved Appia and revealed to him a new

dramatic form, whose marvelous beauty persuaded him to find an artistic

solution to bring about a perfect synchronization between musical

expression, which is addressed to the ears, and the performer’s

movement, as addressed to the eyes. Moreover, Appia was trying to

realize the dreams of his predecessors to relate the arts of time to

those of space in one organized unity— a notion which will be discussed

later in this chapter. In the same year (1882), Appia saw Le Songed*

une nuit d'ete and Carmen, directed by Anton Hill.11

Appia's desire to study theatrical technique and stagecraft, was

reinforced by the inadequate realization of all that he saw on the

stage. His accurate observation did not fail to recognize what was

missing on the stage, when he saw Faust by Gounod, for the second time,

in 1881 at the Grand Theatre in Geneva:

10 Mercier, "Adolphe Appia: The Rebirth of Dramatic Art," p. 617.

11 Adolphe Appia: Oeuvres Completes I. p. 34.


I was conscious of the flimsiness of the settings and the flatness

of the stage floor. I had assumed that a diversity of levels would
improve the positions and the movements of the performers. I
clearly sensed this, but could not precisely explain it...[The
characters’] movements were so poorly arranged. Again, this was
more felt than formulated...And seeing only the flat floor, I
wondered why Valentine had to die at the same spot.12

In Paris, Appia enjoyed his stay, saw many productions beginning in

Spring 1984, and learned a great deal from his experience there.

The theatre taught me nothing except the advantage of numerous

rehearsals and solid preparation. It was the precision of Parisian
productions which for all their conventionality, seemed remarkable
to me, primarily because they emphasized the actors, my own main

On the other hand, in Bayreuth, where the mise en scene was

conceived in the same fashion of the pictorial tradition of the

nineteenth century, Appia was impressed only by its unusual luxury.

However, he was attracted by the music and by the acting of the singers,

whose presence on the stage had no harmony with the scenery. At that

time, the Bruckners, and Joseph Hoffmann, of Bayreuth, and Rube and

Chaperon, at the Paris Opera, were the leading designers of the period.

Their work was a representation of nature or historical realism, painted

on two dimensional scenery. Shaky flats, on which false perspective and

landscape scenes of bright colors were painted, had no harmony with the

flatness of the stage floor, the heavy platforms or the performers.

12 Appia, "Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations," p.


13 Ibid., p. 357.

(Figure 2.3) Music Composition by Appia in 1880-81 (Geneva)


The audience’s attention was dispersed by the accumulation of pseudo-

historical detail by which the general impression— and the drama itself-
-were swamped!14

Appia, dissatisfied with these conventional representations, and

inspired by the Wagnerian music-dramas and artistic theory, began to

analyze the theatrical elements in relation to the complete scenario and

the dramatic action. In 1891, Appia began to publish his findings and

the reforms he proposed for a revival of the lyric stage. His first

book, Staging Wagnerian Drama (1891), was followed by a complete

scenario of The Ring. Later, in 1895, he wrote Music and the Art of the

Theatre. which was published in 1899. This work, which contains Appia’s

philosophy and artistic theory, is considered his most important written

work, for it shows in full detail a radical reformation in staging,

directing, and lighting.15 Appia proposed to find in the scores of

Wagner (of which Appia, as a musician, had a thorough and minute

knowledge, line by line and measure by measure) the scenic solutions for

the staging of the operas. He took the living actor as the point of

departure, and placed him "not before, but in the midst of, planes and

lines which are rightly intended for him."16 As these lines harmonize

the space and music— as the varying lengths of musical sounds are

realized in the space through rhythmic visible proportions— they also

14 Dennis Bablet, "Appia and Theatrical Space: From Revolt to

Utopia," in Adolphe Appia (1862-1928) Actor-Space-Light (New York:
Riverrun Press 1982), p. 11.

15 Jean Mercier, "Adolphe Appia: the Rebirth of Dramatic Art," p.


16 Appia, The Work of Living Art. pp. 86-87.


harmonize the rhythmic movement in space which is proportioned and

measured by the human body.17

To coordinate musical rhythm and bodily rhythm, Appia proposed

reform in the education of the singers by demanding for them a special

training in "musical gymnastics". Jaques-Dalcroze developed his own

system of Eurhythmies from the same principle. Appia developed his

rhythmic spaces for Jaques-Dalcroze out of this same principle which he

had applied to Wagner’s music-dramas. As a result, the actor took

first place in Appia’s hierarchy; he acts out the drama, and his bodily

movements— rhythmic movement— will express music in time and space.

Then, space, with its three dimensions will be subordinated to the

performer, for whom it is created to support his dramatic action. After

that follows light— colored, living, and plastic— which harmonizes the

theatrical elements, and which can be made to correspond toa particular

musical rhythm. Appia, who first focused on music as the soul of the

drama at the beginning of his career, now turned to the hunan body— the

first means of expression— especially once he became acquainted with

Jaques-Dalcroze. As an artist-musician who proposed a reform in the

lyric stage, he used rhythm as a means of modifying his designs: "Rhythm

is the hyphen which joins time to space, the temporary life of sound to

the fleeting life of movement."18 Indeed, he used music todetermine

timing and the duration of everything that happens on

17 Ibid, p. 53.

18 Appia, "Man is the Measure of All Things," in The Work of Living

Art. p. 128.

(Figure 2.4) A Water-Color Sketch by Appia in 1887 (Dresden)


stage: "it gives a unified rhythm to the theatrical elements which has

no relation to the everyday world."19

As many of Appia’s extant designs reflect his conception of the

theatre, his last book, The Work of Living Art (1921) illustrates his

development, especially after he became acquainted with Jaques-Dalcroze

and Eurhythmies. In fact, in this book Appia reorganized his aesthetic

theory, and devoted a large portion of it to explaining his basis for

the new art form he and his collaborator introduced to the theatre, as a

living art. One year before his death in 1928, Appia wrote that this

last book was "the most significant of his publications and that in his

view it most completely expressed his mature thought."20

Appia’s designs for the theatre emphasized specific features

throughout his artistic career. He meant to have his forms express

weight, simplicity, and stability: "volisne without weight seems about to

escape into the breeze, like a balloon."21 Monumentality is an

important feature represented in all Appia’s designs of elementary forms

and materials of lasting values— such as stone-like structures. Such

monumentality is of special interest for its opposition to the human

body, in terms of size and weight and form. To a great extent, there

are some desired spritual effects and stylization. The sense of

monumentality combined with the exterior space of openness creates a

dramatic atmosphere, a sensation of harmony and unity with space; a

19 Quoted from "The Staging of Tristan and Isolde" in Adolphe

Appia: Actor-Space-Light, p. 29.

20 H.D. Albright, "Adolphe Appia and the Work of Living Art" in The
Work of Living Art. p. xvi.

21 Appia, The Work of Living Art. p. 27.

sense of movement and immobility at once, a feeling of mystery and

communion with nature. The unknown height of most of Appia’8 forms, in

addition to the unlimited space and the vast horizon, gives a sense of

mystery when the material world, represented in these huge forms, meets

the spritual one represented by this unlimited space in all directions—

height, width, and depth where all the lines go either to the vanishing

point in the horizon— or to the sky, where the material world and divine

place are united. Such psychological reaction was obviously desired by

Appia in his theatrical space filled with dramatic, dynamic, and living

light and shadows.

In conclusion, there is an organic relationship between Appia’s

musical background and his concept of stage space of the lyric theatre.

The musically conceived rhythmic spaces reflect the qualities of fine

groupings and proportions by which a perceptible and dignified rhythm is

produced. It is, indeed, largely this rhythm that makes Appia’s work so

different from the works before and after him. The reason is not

arbitrary but rather a justifiable one. Rhythm has always been and

always will be present not only in music, but in all arts— visual and

auditory. It was Appia’s uniqueness and artistry and his unfailing

sense of fine rhythm that made him able to create a new theatrical space

of interrelated rhythmic features. The artist-muscian in him was able

to conceive what others could not. Even though Appia’s attempts at a

reform in staging and directing began long before his association with

Jaques-Dalcroze, it was not until the letter’s Eurhythmies opened

Appia’s eyes that he was able to master his own use of theatrical space.

The work of Appia, during his collaboration with Jaques-Dalcroze, is a


natural development of the man’s theory and practice, which relate

organically not only to his own musical background, but also to the work

of his collaborator. Music imposes its successive units of time on the

expressive movement of the performer, and Appia in creating a rhythmic

acting space, followed the same principle. He used music, which

controls the gestures and the movements of the performer, to create a

space most suitable for the dramatic action. This principle dictates the

conception of the scenery by modifying the proportions of space as music

modifies those of time.22 Appia’s theatrical ideas and solutions are

still applicable today with the use of the most advanced technology.

They are theatrical, practical, and economical. His work has inspired

many generations of the theatre artists and continues to be fertile and

fruitful area of research which needs more related studies, especially

in the technical theatre.

The following account of the writings of Appia (a total about

seventy books, essays, treatises, and scenarios, etc.) calls attention

to the great amount of writing done by this artist-musician— who became

a man of the theatre— and may serve as a resource for those interested

in further study and research.

22 Mercier, "Adolphe Appia: The Rebirth of Dramatic Art," p. 618.



(in which Appia participated over a period of almost twenty years):

Darnstad (1909);
Zurich (International Exhibition, 1914);
Cologne (1914);
Geneva (1918);
Amsterdam (International Exhibition, 1922);
London (International Exhibition, 1922);
Milan (1923);
Stockholm (1924);
Basel (1924);
Zurich (1925);
Leipzig (1925); and
Magdeburg (1927);



La Mise en scene du drame wagnerien. 1892-1894.

(The Staging of the Wagnerian Music Drama).
Paris: Leon Challey. 1985.

La Musique et la mise en scene. 1894-1896.

Berne: Theaterkultur Verlag. Schweizer Theater Jahrbuch. No. 38-39.
Die Musik und die Inscenierung. Munich: Bruckmann. 1899.
Music and the Art of the Theatre. Coral Gables, Fla.: University of
Miami Press. 1962.

L'Oeuvre d ’art vivant. 1916-1920.

Geneva-Paris: Edition Atar. 1921.
The Work of Living Art. Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami
Press. 1960.


Das Rheingold. Scenario, c.1891. (lost).

Die Walkure. Scenario, c.1891-1892.

Siegfried. Scenario. 1892.

Die Gotterdamerung. . Scenario. 1892.

23 Quoted from Albright, "Appia and the Work of Living Art," p.

Notes de mise en scene pour 1 ’Anneau de Nibelungen. 1891-1892.
(Comments on the Staging of The Ring of the Nibelung).
Revue d ’Historie du Theatre. No.1-2.1954.

Parsifal. Scenario, c.1896.

Der Tuermer. Vol.XVI. No.5. October, 1912.
Neue Zurcher Zeitung, April 24, 1964.

Die Inscenierung von Tristan und Isolde.

(The Staging of Tristan and Isolde).
(from Appendix, La Musique et la mise en scene).
Theatre Workshop. Vol.I. No.3. 1937.
The Art of Scenic Design. Lee Simonson. New York: Harper & Row,
Publishers, Inc. 1950.
Theatre and Drama in the Making. John Gassner and Ralph Allen
(eds.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1964.
Wagner on Music and Drama. Albert Goldman and Evert Sprinchom
(eds.). New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. 1964.

Cement reformer notre mise en scene, c.1900.

(Ideas on a reform of our Mise en Scene).
La Revue des Revues. Vol.I. No.9. 1904.
Directing the Play. Toby Cole and helen Krich Chinoy (eds.).
Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc. 1953.

Der Saal des Prinzregenten-Theaters.

(The Auditorium of the Prinzregenten-Theater).
Die Gesellschaft. Vol.XVIII. No.3. 1902.

Manfred. Scenario. 1903.

Introduction a mes notes personnelles. 1905.

(Introduction to m y Personal Notes).

Retour a musique.
(Return to Music).
Journal de Geneve. August 20, 1906.

Notes sur le theatre.

(Comments on the Theatre).
La Vie Musicale. Vol.I. No.6. 1909.

Response au questionnaire.
(Answer to the Questionnaire).
L'Essor, July 11, 1908.

Style et solidarite.
(Style and solidarity).
Le Rythme. Vol.I. No.6. 1909.
Der Rhythmus. Vol.I. No.6. 1909.
La Gymnastique rythmique et le theatre.
(Eurythmics and the Theatre).
Les Feuillets. Mo.14. 1912.
Der Rhythmus. Ein Jahrbuch. Vol.I. Jena. 1911.

L'Origine et les debuts de la gymnastique rythmique.

(The Origin and Beginnings of Eurythmics).
Les Feuillets No.5. 1911.
Der Rhythmus. Ein Jahrbuch. Vol.I. Jena. 1911.

La Gymnastique rythmique et la lumiere.

(Eurythmics and the Light).
Le Rythme. No.34. 1932.

Du Costume pour la gymnastique rythmique.

(About the Costume for Eurythmics).
Die Schulfeste der Bildungsanstalt Jaques-Dalcroze. Jena. 1912.

Die Inszenierung als Ausdrucksmittel.

(The Mise en Scene as Means of Expression).
Moderne Theaterkunst. Geleitworte. Katalog. Mannheim. 1913.

Die Musik und das Buehnenbild.

(Music and the Setting).
Theaterkunst Ausstellung. Katalog. Zurich. 1914.

En ecoutant 1 ’orgue a Saint-Pierre.

(While Listening to the Organ in Saint-Pierre).
Journal de Geneve. October 8, 1914.

Fetes de 1 ’Institut Jaques-Dalcroze.

(Festivals of the Jaques-Dalcroze Institute).
Program. Dalcroze Institute. 1917.

Preface a 1*edition anglaise de Musik und Inscenierung. 1918.

(Preface to the English Edition of Musik and Inscenierung).

Acteur, espace, lumiere, peinture.

(Actor, Space, Light, Painting).
Journal de Geneve (Abbreviated). January 22, 1954.
Theatre Populaire (Abbreviated). No. 5. January-February, 1954.

Carmen. Scenario, fragment, c.1920.

Reflexions sur 1 *espace et le temps.

(Reflections on Space and Time).
Aujourd’hui. Vol.III. No.17. 1958.

L ’Art est une attitude, c.1920.

(Art is an Attitude).
20th Century Stage Decoration. Walter Rene Fuerst and Samuel J.
Hume. London: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1928.

L ’Ancienne attitude. c.1920.

(The Former Attitude).

La Mise en scene et son venir. c.1921.

(Theatrical Production and Its Pi'ospects in the Future).
II Covegno. Vol.II. No.4-6. 1923.
Theatre .Arts >lonthly (Abbreviated). Vol.XVI. No.8. 1932.
Theatre Arts Anthology (Abbreviated). New York: Theatre Arts Books.
Cahiers de la Compagnie Madeleine Renaud-Jean-Louis Barrault. Mo.10.

Essai sur un probleme dangereux. 1921.

(.4 Dangerous problem).

Formes nouvelles. 1921.

(Mew Forms).

Le Ceste de 1 ’art. 1921.

(The Gesture of Art).

Apres une lecture de Port-Royal {Sainte-Beuve). 1921.

{After Reading Port-Royal by Sainte-Veuve).

Art Vivant? ou nature morte? c. 1922.

{Living Art or Dead Nature?).
Wendigen. No.9-10. 1922.
Bottega di Poesia. Milan. 1923.
Theatre Annual. Vol.II. 19343.
Players Magazine. Vol.33. No.4. 1962,

Le Sujet. 1922.
(The Theme).

L ’Intermediaire. 1922.
(The Intermediary).

Monumentalite. 1922.
Revue d ’Esthetique. October-December, 1953.

Pittoresque. c.1922.

L'Enfant et l ’art dramatique.

(The Child and Dramatic Art).
Pour 1 'Ere Nouvelle. January, 1923.

A Propos de 1 ’enfant et 1 ’art dramatique.

Pour l ’Ere Nouvelle. April, 1923.
L'Homme est la measure de toutes choses. August, 1923.
(Atan Is the Measure of All Things).
La Revue Theatrale. Vol.VIII. No.25. 1954.
The Work of Living Art, see Books.

Les Maitres Chanteurs. Scenario, c.1922.

(The tlastersingers).

Tristan et Iseult. Breve analyse du drame. 1923.

Introduction aux representations de Tristan et Isolde a la Scalade

Milan. Direction A. Toscanini. 1923.
(Introduction to the Performances of Tristan and Isolde under the
Direction of A. Toscanini at la Scala in Milan).

La Preparation de 'Tristan' a la Scala.

Journal de Geneve. January 22, 1924.

Tristano e Isotta a la Scala.

La Semaine Litteraire. January 24, 1924.

Das Rheingold. Scenario. 1924.

Die Walkeure. Scenario. 1924.

Siegfried. Scenario. 1924. (lost)

Die Goetterdaeimerung. Scenario. 1923-1924.

Mise en scene pour Promethee. Scenario, fragment. 1924.

Le Reforme et le theatre de Bale.

(The Reform and the Theatre at Basel).
(Appia also used the title A propos d'art scenique).
Gazette de Lausanne. May 3, 1925.

Experiences de theatre et recherches personnelles. 1922-1924.

(Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations).

L'Art dramatique vivant. 1925.

(The Art of the Living Theatre).

Richard Wagner et la mise en scene.

(Richard Wagner and Theatrical Production).

Das Problem der Stilbuehne bei den Werken Richard Wagners.

(The Problem of Stylized Settings for Richard Wagner's Works).
Musikwissenschaftlicher Kongress zu Leipzig, 1925.
(Abbreviated). Leipzig: Breitkopf und Haertel. 1925.

Iphigenie en Tauride, Scenario, fragment. 1926.

Lohengrin. Scenario. 1926.

Afacbe th. Scenario. (lost).

Fiction, c.1926.

Mecanisation. c.1926.

Conference americaine. A draft, not finished. 1926.

(A Lecture for America).

Avertissement pour 1 'edition de mes "Essais" en I volume. 1926.

(Preface to the Edition of My Essays in Volume One).

Gothes Faust. Erster Teil. 1927-1928.

(Goethe's Faust. Part Che).
Bonn: Fritz Klopp Verlag. 1929.
Theatre Arts Monthly (abbreviated). Vol.XVI. No.8. 1932.

Curriculum Vitae d ’Adolphe Appia par lui-meme. 1927.

(Adolphe Appia's Curriculum Vitae written by himself).
Szineseti Lexicon. Budapest. 1930.
Musees de Geneve. No.29. October, 1962.

Quelques Pensees et citations.

(Some Thoughts and quotes).
Le Rhythme. No.37. August, 1934.


Appia’s Portfolio (56 sketches), and other Designs from different

sources in addition to his own books.


The Adolphe Appia Exhibition at O.S.U., Nov.26-30, 1984.


Adolphe Appia (1862-1928): actor-space-light. Published by:

Pro Helvetiee-Arts Council of Switzerland, 1982.


The collaboration of Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze and its artistic

outcome are of special importance and interest to theatrical scholars

and artists. Through their artistic union, in the early decades of this

century, a significant step was taken toward realization of the modem

theatre in general, and the lyric stage in particular. Their first

meeting of 1906, initiated by Appia and received with pleasure by

Jaques-Dalcroze, was not only a turning point in their own artistic

careers, but also in the history of the modem theatre. It was not

until their meeting and collaboration that the two pioneers were able to

realize their dreams and ideals, and achieve a fascinating degree of

perfection in presenting the human body and its rhythmic movement in the

best possible theatrical and rhythmic space. The artist-musician,

Appia, and the music composer and educator, Jaques-Dalcroze, took the

plastic living body as object and instrument to visually express audible

musical rhythms by bodily rhythmic movement in time and space.1 As a

result, a new living art was b o m in a lyric atmosphere, and soon it

became a nursery for one of the finest artistic movements in the history

1 Jean Mercier. "Adolphe Appia: The Rebirth of Dramatic Art," pp.



of western theatre. Moreover, its influence has moved beyond the lyric

stage to reach the dramatic theatre as well.2

In May 1906, Appia*s curiosity led him to attend, for the first

time, an extended demonstration-lecture of Jaques-Dalcroze in a

municipal auditorium. In this new music educational experiment, which

attempted to transfuse musical rhythm into bodily rhythmic movement,

Appia found a realization of his dream: the living art of the body.3

At first, I found myself moved to tears, remembering how long I had

waited. But soon I sensed the awakening of a new force utterly
unknown to me! I was no longer in the audience, I was on the stage
with the performers!4

Appia’s immediate impression was intense, and he found in the

Eurhythmies of Jaques-Dalcroze his own aesthetic homeland. In fact,

long before the beginning of Eurhythmies, as early as 1895, Appia had

foreseen this new "art of the body" and had written in his Music and the

Art of the Theatre that it was absolutely necessary to find a type of

"musical gymnastics" in order to train the performer in musical time and

proportions. But he did not know how to proceed.5

"Dalcroze showed me the way, and from that day on I have had a
clear vision of the road my development should take. For me the
discovery of the basic principles of staging could only be a
starting point. Eurhythmies determined my subsequent orientation.

2 Denis Bablet. "Adolphe Appia of Geneva, Great Friend and

Collaborator of Bnile Jaques-Dalcroze, is the Creator of Modem
Staging," translated by Walther Volbach, The Appia Collection, Beinecke
Library, Yale University, p. 1 of the typescript.

3 Appia. "The Origin and Beginning of Eurhythmies," p. 83.

4 Ibid.

5 Appia, "Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations," p.


I was thereby freed of the restrictions attached to any particular,

delimited work of art."6

As a matter of fact, during the first phase of his artistic career,

Appia was exclusively interested in Wagner’s music-dramas, in which he

found the theatre of the future. The inspiration of music, in general,

and of Wagner’s music and artistic views, in particular, led Appia to

his profound study of Wagner's works and failures. From his study and

analysis, Appia found that Wagner, who wished to unite and harmonize all

arts in his music-dramas, and who wished to place the dramatic action on

the stage through the medium of his music, failed to make his

productions agree with his adopted dramatic form. On the one hand,

Wagner’s newly created form of music drama and his intentions were so

different from their visual realization that his new ideas lacked

harmony and aesthetic truth. On the other hand, the performer was

placed before painted scenery of two-dimensional shaky flats. Appia

found that there was no suitable physical expression in the living body

of the performer, and the performer could not carry out the needed

artistic expression simultaneously with music. Therefore, Appia, who

sensed such contradictions between Wagner’s ideas and their realization,

demanded the extemalization of the musical expression through sane kind

of rhythmic movement that would serve as link and intermediary between

the actor and the music.7

Finally, after eleven years, Appia found the answer to his

passionate desire for synthesis and harmony in the Eurhythmies of

8 Appia, Adolphe Appia: Actor-Space-Light (Exhibition Catalogue),

p. 79.

7 Appia, Music and the Art of the Theatre, p. 3.

Jaques-Dalcroze who was just beginning his new experiments. The day

following his attendance at Jaques-Dalcroze's demonstration, Appia,

filled with great enthusiasm, wrote to him:

After your performance of Saturday night, I would have liked to

feel qualified enough to come to you. Instead, allow me these few
lines. The extemalization of music (which is, after all, its
rehabilitation!) is the idea with which I have been living for
years... You will understand my enthusiasm better if I submit to
you my belief: music, by developing without measure its technical
resources while the object of its expression remains stationary,
has arrived to a point that really looks like a solitary voice.
Nothing can save it from its sumptuous decadence if not its
extemalization; we have to spread it through space, with all the
salutary limitations that implies for music... It is music that
must free the body by imposing its discipline upon it... Your
teaching makes music a thing that concerns the whole body...8

The following historic facts will explain Appia's feeling and his

overwhelming gratitude. For a long time, Appia’s first interest in the

theatre centered on music. Although he suffered for many years from a

period of rather negative experience and artistic disappointment in the

theatre, because of lack of harmony between the scenery and the

performer, his observation taught him many lessons. In Paris, he had

realized the advantages of solid preparation and numerous rehearsals

with emphasis on the actor.9 At the same time, his visits to Bayreuth,

where he saw Parsifal in 1882 under Wagner, showed him not harmony but

rather conflict between Wagner’s artistic ideals and their realizations.

As a result, Wagner’s poetic ideas, dramatic forms, and musical

expression persuaded Appia to undertake a study of how one might solve

8 Quoted by Stadler, "Emile Jaques-Dalcroze et Adolphe Appia," p.


9 Appia, "Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations," pp.


the problems of staging Wagner’s music-dramas in the service of music

and its scope in the theatre.10

Through his intuitive sense of beauty, harmony, and unity, Appia

began to look for an answer to the visualization of musical expresion.

In theory, he opposed and ridiculed the representational setting of

natural or historic realism; as he states: "in the theatre we are not at

the cinema."11 His point is that representing nearly everything on the

stage means leading the dramatic art not only beyond its own limits, but

also beyond the domain of art:

The Romans caused a river to pass through the Circus. The Duke of
Meiningen bought museums, apartments, and palaces in order to
realize two or three scenes. The results in both cases were
artistically regrettable.12

Appia begins with the living actor— plastic and mobile— as not only

the mediator between the author and the audience, but between music and

space, accomplished through his rhythmic movement simultaneously with

music. Therefore, for adequate synchronization, Appia called for

training the actors in rhythmic gymnastics to perfect the human

expression necessary for a harmonious union of theatrical elements.

This was the main task Appia was trying to accomplish until he

discovered in Jaques-Dalcroze’s Eurhythmies the answer to his dream.

As soon as Jaques-Dalcroze received Appia’s letter, in which he

expressed his enthusiastic support in addition to explaining his own

views, he replied by a letter in which he thanked Appia and expressed

10 Appia, Music and the Art of the Theatre, pp. 28, 102-103.

11 Appia, The Work of Living Art. p. 42.

12 Ibid, pp. 42-43.


his frustration with those who did not offer any interest in his

research— namely, the authorities at the Conservatoire of Geneva, where

he was teaching solfege. In addition, Jaques-Dalcroze invited Appia to

lunch, and the two exchanged their mutual views and dreams. Their

friendship established, they began their artistic collaboration.

... I am happy to know you, and that with all my heart I hope we
will see each other often. I need to see my attempts experimented
by real artists. It is for them, I think, as well as for the
sculptors that I write my method.13

Indeed, both artists found in each other the needed complement for

the realization of their artistic dreams. The interrelation of their

ideas and thoughts gave power to their previous attempts at a

reformation in their particular fields— theatre and music education.

Now their effort was combined and projected toward one goal: the

creation of a new living art in which the synthesis of and the harmony

between music, movement, and space is inevitable.

It was not, however, until the spring of 1909 that this

collaboration brought about the radical change in Appia's art of

staging. After attending another demonstration, in reply to Jaques-

Dalcroze’s invitation, Appia left the performance unsatisfied with its

artistic solutions, based on the scenic arrangement. At home, Appia

took paper and pencil and started to create his new architectural style,

in which he envisioned an ideal rhythmic space for the Jaques-Dalcroze

rhythmic exercises.

Every day I feverishly drew two or three spaces meant for rhythmic
movement. When I had twenty or so sketches, I sent them to
Dalcroze, along with a letter in which I told him that his pupils,

13 Quoted by Stadler, "Emile Jaques-Dalcroze et Adolphe Appia," p.


who were still moving on a plane surface, reminded me of mountain

climbers trying to climb the Matterhorn on a relief map lying flat
on the gound!14

This was Appia’s new beginning, for his career and Jaques-

Dalcroze* s as well. In fact, Jaques-Dalcroze*s enthusiasm on seeing

Appia’s drawings was so great that he immediately wrote to him:

I am deeply impressed with the beauty, simplicity, and power of

your conception; I have never seen or known spaces that were more
rhythmic or more evocative of rhythms. My whole-hearted thanks for
having shown me your masterpieces. I cannot express the deep
feeling that the sight of them brought; let me simply state that it
is the most beautiful music I have ever heard.15

Appia was convinced that he had succeeded, both for himself and for

his friend as well. A new style of rhythmic space for body and rhythmic

evolutions had been founded.16 His vision is based on creating a

physical rhythm to be imposed on the eurhythmic dancers to help them

move rhythmically— without pretention— on real rhythmic physical forms

especially created for specific rhythmic movements in time and space.

Appia designed staircases, ramps, columns, walls, pannels, etc. out of

standardized forms and sizes, such as cubes and rectangular shapes, that

could be vertically and horizontally arranged to create flexible acting

spaces most suited for choreography and rhythmic exercises. But yet,

there was no permanent home for the Dalcroze Eurhythmies.

As a matter of fact, the Eurhythmies opened Appia’s eyes and showed

him the right way to create his new style; Appia’s ideas of corporeal

14 Appia, Actor. Space, Light, p. 80.

15 Jaques-Dalcroze’s undated letter in Adolphe Appia: Actor. Space.

Light. p. 26.

16 Appia, "Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations," p.


space helped Jaques-Dalcroze experiment with the rhythmic space without

artificial movement, thus creating new possible choreographic

arrangements. The rhythmic spaces became a reliable guide for better

and more successful rhythmic movement, and became the foundation of

Dalcroze’s success and fame. In this respect, it is necessary to recall

some related facts and piece them together in order to understand how

the Appia/Jaques-Dalcroze collaboration developed and refined their


Jaques-Dalcroze began his first public demonstration in 1905, at

the Music Festival in Solothum, but his real recognition came only

after his artistic union with Appia. It was Appia’s help, advice,

artistic solutions for many visual problems and, above all, his drawings

which were behind Jaques-Dalcroze’s success:

"Happily, I have found in you the one who understands and

encourages. You and God prove to me that I am in the true
direction and go towards the beautiful; it is enough for me."17

It was Appia who, after meeting Jaques-Dalcroze in 1906, suggested

that the bodies of Jaques-Dalcroze’s performers and their movements

would be further enhanced if they were not on the same level as the

audience. At that time, Jaques-Dalcroze was using a simple hall without

any stage or levels for his rehearsals.18 Also, it was Appia’s

influence which brought Jaques-Dalcroze to extend his experiments to

involve entire groups of performers rather being limited to a few

17 Jaques-Dalcroze’s letter to Appia on Nov. 3, 1906. Quoted from

Edmond Stadler’s "Emile Jaques-Dalcroze et Adolphe Appia," p. 422.

18 Paul Claudel, "The Hellerau Theatre." Quoted from Adolphe Appia:

Actor, Space, and Light, p. 85.

individuals.19 Jaques-Dalcroze wets relying on Appia’s artistic advice

and his strong moral support, which led to their triumph at Hellerau.

However, the Hellerau project, which marked the realization of the

dreams of the two pioneers, was preceded by many projects upon which

Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze had collaborated. For example, Jaques-

Dalcroze, who was about to produce a production of Les Jumeaux de

Bergume at La Monnaie (a theatre in Brussels) in March 1908 asked Appia

in 1907 to design the setting for him, which he did. Upon receving

Appia’s designs, Jaques-Dalcroze wrote:

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with your scenery for the
Jumeaux... I feel your scenery is indispensible to my work. Thank
you with all my heart and brain for having understood me so well
and for having taught me so well how to understand you!... With all •
my enthusiasm and my conviction that you hold the truth in your
hands, I would like to support your ideas and spread them, and
thank you for opening my eyes. I would be happy if you would, from
now on, keep me posted about your aspirations and works. I am
happy to complete your movement scene in the light and I will have
to share with you some ideas I have had for a long time but didn’t
dare to express because they seemed (and still seem) like dreams—
about corporal and musical moves and "luminous” vibrations in the

In the same letter, Jaques-Dalcroze asks for Appia’s advice

regarding colors for the sceneries, the lighting, and other artistic

solutions for specific scenes and moments. Then, he ends his letter by

the following: "Yes, if you find the time to think about the staging, I

would be grateful. Thanks again, see you Friday, my dear Master and


19 Volbach, "The Collaboration of Adolphe Appia and Emile Jaques-

Dalcroze," p. 195.

20 Quoted from Stadler, "Emile Jaques-Dalcroze et Adolphe Appia,"

p. 423.

On March 20, 1908, Jaques-Dalcroze, who was in the middle of the

rehearsals of Jumeaux in Brussels, sent Appia a letter in which he told

him that "everything is working well, and the scenery will be exactly

according to your ideas. So will be the costumes...and myself."

It is clear that Appia served his friend not only as a designer but

also as adviser on artistic details. Prometheus is another example of

this collaboration that preceded the Hellerau project and led to its

great achievement in general, and the development of some ideas used in

the realization of Orpheus. in particular.

At the time when Jaques-Dalcroze was planning a series of musico-

plastic demonstrations in Geneva, where he rented a simple hall (Odier

du Casino de Saint-Pierre) with insufficient space, he was preoccupied

by the idea of producing Prometheus and inviting all the interesting

modem dancers, such as Isadora Duncan, Maud Allan, Ruth Saint-Denis,

and Olga Desmond. Therefore, he sent a letter to Appia asking if he was

interested in participating, and hoping to have the stage built where

Appia's drawings will be planted, and to experiment their own ideas.

...You would transform the stage of Geneva's theatre and I would

prepare my students and stylize the rhythmic movement, and we could
try there a few scenes of Prometheus before its final
realization...1 believe that the project is feasible. We will talk
about it in person on Sunday, if you can come, and we will be able
to install our wants.21

Appia's responses were thoroughly studied by Jaques-Dalcroze who sent

him a letter of approval and same suggestive ideas for consideration:

...Before you work on your first act, allow me to suggest the

following idea: the backdrop is transparent. At the rising of the
curtain..., one hears the orchestra describing Prometheus’ descent
from the Mount Olympia. And suddenly one sees looming at the very

21 Quoted by Stadler, p. 426.


top Prometheus (or at least the fire— yes only the fire so that
there is no repetition— that he holds in his hand protected by his
shield) and descending the stairs of rocks which lead from the
Mount Olympia to the earth (it is in the dark). The same stairs
can be used later for ascending; from the bright light, Pandora
will descend from Mount Olympia with the run (by intermittance,
only between two images), which will later allow her to walk onto
the stage. Only the stairs will absolutely differ totally from the
final mountain of act III, and there is no means to assume that the
men guided by Prometheus are going up to Mount Olympia.22

There are other corresponding letters related to the Prometheus

project. These letters and Appia’s extant sketches (Figures 3.1, 3.2)

represent some facts of special interest for the purpose of this study.

According to Jaques-Dalcroze’s letters, the work on this project began

in 1909, and he expressed interest and enthusiasm for producing

Prometheus with his original music and Appia’s scenery. As previously

mentioned, the project was intended for the Geneva theatre. Later, when

Hellerau appeared to be the future permanent home for Jaques-Dalcroze,

they planned to execute Prometheus there, but unfortunately, for unknown

reasons, it was never actualized. However, the Appia sketches for this

project represent a middle period between the time when he accepted

Wagner’s romanticism and that of his freedom from it and his association

with Jaques-Dalcroze. These sketches reflect a distinctive transitional

period as a natural development of Appia’s artistic evolution. They

also reflect, in addition to the exchanged letters between the two

artists, the fact that they gradually became close friends who had begun

to exert a strong influence on each other.

22 Jaques-Dalcroze’s letter of November 29, 1909, quoted by

Stadler, p. 427.
(Figure 3.1) Prometheus. Act I (The Workshop)

(Figure 3.2) Prometheus. Act III (The Workshop Destroyed)


...I want to tell you that deep inside me, for eight days, the
luminous and radious vision that I owe you, my dear and genial
friend, has been crystalizing. You never did anything as beautiful
as this scenery of Act II. We were, my sister, my wife and I,
completely moved...I feel that it will be impossible for me not to
make beautiful music in this wonderful space, and impossible for
the interpreters not to have beautiful movements.23

In fact, the creation of Appia’s new style had now begun. The

rhythmic spaces are now filled with dramatic and expressive light and

shadows. With Appia, the power of theatre lighting rested in the

concept of a luminous atmosphere. His study of theatrical space was

accompanied by infinite balance between forms and spaces as well as

between illumination and creative or plastic light, and shadows.

Jaques-Dalcroze’s dream of "luminous vibrations" found its realization

in the hands of Appia in the following years at Hellerau bringing forth

"luminous sound" by the luminous vibrations in space in a perfect

synchronization with musical vibrations.24 Appia’s new style played an

important role in his own artistic career as in Jaques-Dalcroze’s as


In the spring of 1910, Jaques-Dalcroze accepted an offer he had

received from the brothers Wolf and Harald Dohm, idealistic and

enthusiastic men in the field of art and culture, to come to Hellerau— a

newly created suburb of Dresden and the first Garden City in Germany— as

23 Jaques-Dalcroze’s letter to Appia, dated August 12, 1910, quoted

by Stadler, p. 428.

24 Appia, "Eurhythmies and Light," transcribed by Walther Volbach,

the Appia Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University, p. 90 of the

director of an institute to be especially built for him and his work.25

On April 11, 1910, Jaques-Dalcroze wrote Appia a letter in which he told

him about the good news, and added:

I took the right to show your drawings to Do h m (I had to); he was

enthusiastic and he understood you. He already thinks you are part
of Hellerau and me too... the future is smiling to us...26

By the end of 1911, a full scale cultural center (Bildungsanstalt

Jaques-Dalcroze) was erected as both institute and training school of

Eurhythmies (Figures 3.3, 3.4).27 It was a true realization of Jaques-

Dalcroze’s dream to establish a permanent home for his Eurhythmies in a

model site.28 Also, it was a happy realization for Appia who had the

first real opportunity to actualize his work and to create and relate

his rhythmic spaces to the rhythmic movements of Jaques-Dalcroze’s


The great hall of the Jaques-Dalcroze School of Eurhythmies was a

lyric theatre of unique characteristics (Figure 3.3-3.9). The entire

hall— a huge rectangle measuring approximately 43 meters in length, 16

25 Walther R. Volbach, Adolphe Appia Prophet of the Modern Theatre:

A Profile (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan Univ. Press, 1968), pp. 87-88.
Also see Frank E. Washburn Freund, "The Theatrical Year in Germany," The
Stage Year Book, London, 1914, p. 93.

26 Quoted from Stadler, "Emile Jaques-Dalcroze et Adolphe Appia,"

p. 429.

27 Adolphe Appia (1862-1928): Actor-Space-Light. Exhibition

Catalogue (New York: Riverrun, 1982), p. 84.

28 On November 3, 1906, Jaques-Dalcroze wrote to Appia: "...I work

on so many things and I would like to give up everything in order to
work as I want for one or two years without any other worry than the
dream to realize." He continued, "There sire some moments when I wish I
could win the lottery! How happy I would be then to install my method
in model site, and to abandon all the dirty work that tires me and
prevents me from giving myself completely and all fresh to my ideas."
Quoted from Stadler, "Jaques-Dalcroze et Adolphe Appia," p. 422.

(Figure 3.3) The Jaques-Dalcroze Institute

The Main Entrance (1912)

(Figure 3.4) The Ground Plan of the Institute


meters in width, and 12 meters in height— embraced both performers and

spectators with an open space in the middle of the shining floor which

could reveal or conceal a sunken orchestra pit. This open space could

be covered over to become a natural extension to the floor space as

needed according to each given performance. Such flexibility provided

Jaques-Dalcroze with an ideal performing space without separation

between stage and auditorium. It was an indispensable element in this

new revolutionary theatre— the first in modern history with a completely

open, flexible stage, and without a proscenium arch.29 The same

flexibility was provided by the ceiling through movable screens to allow

the use of light projection— directly or indirectly— lending itself "to

every imaginable combination of intensity, movement, and direction."30

The Hellerau architect was Heinrich Tessenow who together with Appia and

Salzmann designed the hall (auditorium, stage, and lighting).31

The theatre was part of a full scale cultural center for Jaques-

Dalcroze and his Eurhythmies. The whole building was both institute and

training school. It included such facilities as rehearsal rooms, living

quarters both for teachers and students from all over the world, a space

for sunbathing, baths, outdoor field for physical exercises, and a

29 Oscar G. Brockett and Robert R. Findlay, A History of European

and American Theatre and Drama Since 1870 (New Jersey, Englewood Cliffs:
Prentice-Hall, 1973), p. 203.

30 Paul Claudel, quoted in Adolphe Appia: Actor Space. Light, p. 85.

31 All the related corresponding letters from Jaques-Dalcroze to

Appia emphasize the fact that Tessenow*s plans were discussed in detail
by the three of them in addition to Jaques-Dalcroze and Dahra— the
founder of Hellerau.
(Figure 3.5) The Main Auditorium of the Institute During a
Demonstration (The orchestra pit is covered over)

(Figure 3.6) The Same Auditorium (with the sunken orchestra pit)

dining area. The building formed part of a vast garden city, the first

on the European continent.32

The unit setting— consisted merely of movable steps practicables.

sometimes supplemented by simple flats or screens and curtains in

geometric compositions of planes and volumes— could be arranged almost

endlessly and easily in a short time. In this regard, it is of special

interest to look closely at Figures 3.5-3.10, 3.19-3.23 to realize the

true value of the artistic outcome of the Appia/Jaques-Dalcroze

collaboration, and the great work behind its establishment as a new

artistic and aesthetic movement. The harmonious and close relationship

between the performer and the audience became greater than ever. The

new theatre architecture of a unified space for stage and auditorium was

a new social and meaningful solution which brought about a direct living

experience between the spectators and the living art before their eyes.

The lighting system was another radical element, which played an

essential role at Hellerau theatre where 10,000 light bulbs were

installed behind the translucent canvas covering the walls and the

ceiling. Such a lighting system of highly sophisticated arrangement and

flexibility not only allowed the use of both direct and indirect light

to avoid any sharp break between stage and auditorium, but also allowed

the light to correspond to any particular musical rhythm. These

innumerable and invisible electric bulbs were actually arranged and

circuited in such a manner to permit the use of music movement, and

light simultaneously a a single living art form. As a result, light—

colored and living— became, for the first time, a harmonious equilibrium

32 The Appia Exhibition Catalogue, p. 84.


(Figure 3.8) The Audience Area at the Other End of the Hall

unifying the audible musical rhythm, the rhythmic movement, and the

rhythmic space. It became a new source of inspiration as well as an

artistic means of expression: "light will have to join the game!"33 In

short, the role to be played by light at the Hellerau theatre was

dominated by musical rhythm to appeal to our sight with such creative

plastic light as to bring forth "luminous sound."34

Between the time construction began on the Jaques-Dalcroze School

and that when it was completed there was much preparation for the

future. From October 1910 on the building was used for rehearsals until

the end of 1911 when the school actually moved into the building

(ironically for only three years till the outbreak of the First World

War in 1914). During this time, everyone was doing his best assisting

in preparations and planning for an exciting future. Jaques-Dalcroze

was still very interested in producing Prometheus. On August, 24, 1910,

he wrote Appia an interesting letter in which he assures Appia that he

was not giving Prometheus up.

...Think about Prometheus. compose Prometheus, dannnnnnce

Prometheus, in the noble and august sense of the term...And all the
time I think about the sceneries, the light, the shadows, the
movements, the stairs, the slight slopes, the stiff slopes, the
rock, the temple, the mountain, the red sky, the blue sky, the
"stop" and the "scene from the front"! And about you my dear art
companion, who will do what I want, you whose ideas I will
interpret faithfully. At last tjalm in Hellerau. The Tessenow plan
is adopted...The important thing is that the building will be

33 Appia, "Eurhythmies and Light," trans. Walther Volbach, the

Appia Collection, Beinecke Library, Yale University, p. 90 of the typescript.

34 Ibid, pp. 88-89.

(Figure 3.9) Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice (1912-13)

(Figure 3.10) Appia's Design (1926)


the one we like, and totally like we want. ..Bye my very dear
friend, I count on you and you count on me...35

The designs Appia first made for his friend were still more or less

oriented toward a spectacle presented to the eyes of others.36 Yet,

none of his sketches are limited to, or made to fit any specific stage

and dimensions in terms of height, width, and depth— which must be the

first thing to begin with— as given limited space. But all his forms

and proportions could be fitted into any theatrical space; such a

fitting job was secondary to him and he did not bother himself with it

and we have no clear reason for such a working habit. The only

available sketch (Figure 3.10) which partially reflects specific

dimensions is his sketch of 1926 for Orpheus. Yet, it does not provide

complete detailed information needed for the foreground portions and the

height. The fact remains that Appia's intention was to create the walls

of his theatrical space (which he called the "study site") which would

be similar to and match the various parts and constructional techniques

of the stairs and platforms.37 To him, the weight and stability

essential for the effect of such an arrangement based on movement is


At Hellerau Alexander Von Salzmann played an essential role in

actualizing the dreams of Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze and in materializing

Appia’s ideas. The three-dimensional units were Appia’s idea. They

would be constructed, proportioned, and standardized to be fitted into

35 Quoted by Stadler, p. 431.

36 Appia, "Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations," p.


37 Ibid, p. 388.

(Figure 3.11) Gluck’s Orpheus: Group of Mourning Women

(Figure 3.12) Gluck’s Orpheus: Orpheus in Hades, Act II,

Scene I, A Rehearsal Photograph

all possible forms such as staircases, ramps, walls, columns, that would

be combined with drapes, folding screens, and all could be covered with

canvas of unified material.38 A study of all the Appia sketches for

Jaques-Dalcroze without exception show that Appia created all his

designs according to this principle. These elements of standardized

shapes and sizes were to be so light that they could be arranged

vertically or horizontally easily and fast, and shifted by one or two

students.39 Salzmann used his technical knowledge to perfect the new

style of rhythmic space scenery which eventually influenced the theatre


Adolphe Appia first gave me the idea of evolutions on a staircase

and the Russian painter Salzmann designed for my exercise a highly
ingenious set of units, whereby a whole series of practicable
staircases could easily and speadily be constructed. Distinguished
producers such as Reinhardt, Granville Barker, and Gemier came
later to adopt our methods. But only Gemier appears to me to have
utilized them to really vital effect. Nowadays one sees staircases
on all stages, but the producers do not know what to do with them,
nor can the actors either perform or repose on them with ease.40

In the Hellerau production of Gluck's Orpheus (Figure 3.7) we find

an excellent example of the utilization of Appia's ideas. The design

illustrates the flexibility of the movable units which today meet the

modem producer's demands, all were originated by Appia.*1 Such

flexibility is also available in all other theatrical elements including

38 Paul Claudel, Adolphe Appia (1862-1928): Actor, Space, Light

(London: John Colder, New York: Riverrun Press, 1982), p. 85.

39 Appia, Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations, p.


40 Dalcroze, Rhythm. Music, and Education, p. 203.

41 Claudel, p. 85. Also see Denis Bablet, "Adolphe Appia, of

Geneva, Great Friend and Collaborator of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, is the
Creator of Modem Staging," p. 4 of the typescript.

architecture light, and music. It was Appia who supplied his

collaborator with detailed information regarding the sceneries and

lighting (in drawings and writings), but it was Salzmann with his

enormous previous experience, serving Hellerau as artist-technician, who

was a major power behind his success. Jaques-Dalcroze introduced

Salzmann to Appia:

...Be so kind as to bring your drawings. I will bring those that

are at my place. Tessenow will show you his plans which I really
like, and you will meet Salzmann, a Russian painter who admires you
enormously, and who will be for you, in Hellerau, the ideal
collaborator for the decorations...12

Another letter from Jaques-Dalcroze to Appia, dated November 1, 1912,

adds more light on the production of Orpheus:

...I work on Orpheus, that I will play wholly. It is the scenery

of the picture after the Elysian Fields that gives me a hard time.
The rest is totally in my head. Our hell has been completely
copied in Francfort, at the opera, and one talks about it .as a
revelation showing the genius of a staging man.13

It is true that Hellerau offered the two pioneers splendid

opportunities. The first festival in the summer of 1912 was a great

success. Guests from many nations enjoyed the performances of Echo and

Narcissus. based on a poetic story by Jacques Cheneviere with Jaques-

Dalcroze’s music, as well as a scene from Gluck’s Orpheus and

Euridice.11 The lighting plot was devised by Salzmann and Harald Dohm,

an engineer who handled the light console of forty-six curcuits. A

shadow effect was used showing the silhouette of dancers

42 Quoted from Stadler, p. 439.

43 Ibid, p. 445.

44 Volbach, Adolphe Appia: Prophet, p. 89.

(Figure 3.13) Paul Claudel's "Annunciation" designed by Salzmann
(Production Photograph 1913)

playing behind a screen. In general, the performance was successful and

harmonious. Light was dominated by music throughout the whole work of

living art:

In space like this, the producer is naturally calm, without

anything jolting. The soft, uniform, and slightly shifting light
transforms the material reality of the construction into moving,
gently rocking waves. Through the lighting, the characters share
in this unreal atmosphere.45

In short, the two collaborators made full use of dramatic

atmosphere and harmonious unity in such perfect synchronization that the

majority of critics regarded Orpheus as the most striking experience in

the modem theatre.46 The most striking event at Hellerau was the

School Festival of June 1913, which was held in three series of two days

each. That festival was intended to provide a complete picture about

the Hellerau training program in all its stages, especially on the first

day of each series. The second day was devoted to the production of

Gluck’s Orpheus. The attendance at the Festival exceeded five thousand.

The concept of using training in rhythmic movement in connection with

the creation of rhythmic space aroused intense interest in the theatre

world.47 A few months after the festival performances, Paul Claudel’s

Annunciation was performed. The setting was designed by Salzmann, who

with Claudel and D o h m managed the production without

45 Appia (1921), quoted in the Appia Exhibition Catalogue, p. 83.

46 Volbach, Adolphe Appia: Prophet. p. 91.

47 The Eurhythmies of Jaques-Dalcroze, Introd. by M.E. Sadler

(Boston: Small, Maynard 1918), p. 40.
(Figure 3.14) "The June Festival", July 1914
"Rhythmic Space and Rhythmic Movement"

\ 7 - '& . A ---
• J . u

(Figure 3.16) "The June Festival", July 1914


Jaques-Dalcroze and Appia (see Figure 3.11).48 The latter’s comment on

the design concept reflects his rejection and disappointment:

In Hellerau, the Societe Dramatique which has nothing to do with

Jacques or his students, made a big flop with L"Annunciation” by
Claudel. I must say I am not sorry. How stupid of them to want to
use a room and an equipment that are the exact representation of a
great idea and live only by and for it, to place in it the old
declamatory game etc! It’s exactly like a piece of new cloth on an
old cloth, but backward!49

On the outbreak of the first World War in August, 1914, the

Hellerau School closed its doors, and Jaques-Dalcroze moved to Geneva

where in 1915, he founded a new school (The Institute Jaques-Dalcroze).

The Geneva Festival of 1914 was another notable experience for the two

collaborators. This event was composed and staged by Jaques-Dalcroze

who was in constant contact with Appia, seeking his artistic advice.

The presentation of the June Festival, in Geneva, was a grand patriotic

spectacle, commemorating the entrance of Geneva into the Swiss

Confederation. The participants in this performance included 200

rhythmic students, who successfully interpreted the musical expression

with majestic dramatic action of rhythmic movement and human expression.

"The two-fold action was a revelation, and was masterfully handled by

the author and his collaborators.”50

Appia was deeply affected by the festival for many reasons. It was

a grand scale example of an aesthetic phenomenon.

48 Volbach, Adolphe Appia: Prophet. p. 93.

49 Appia’s letter of October 21, 1913 to his cousin H. Qdier,

quoted in Stadler, p. 448.

50 Appia, The Work of Living Art. pp. 64-65.

(Figure 3.17) "The June Festival", July 1914
"Rhythmic Space and Rhythmic Movement

(Figure 3.18) "The June Festival", July 1914


While Jaques-Dalcroze brought about the simultaneity of music and

action, in time and space, of purely human expression, Appia succeeded

in bringing about another theatrical innovation. During the last poetic

lines of an ode to Lake Geneva, the light-colored curtains at the rear

wall of the stage opened to reveal the lake and mountains behind the

lake, on which boats were rocking gently (Figure 3.14). In the distance

appeared the boat carrying the Swiss toward the stage with the

passengers singing. When the boat finally reached the platform,

backstage, the soldiers came on stage to join people waving flags of all

the Swiss cantons. Their coming together in joyful action of a folk

festival created a thrilling moment of national response and feeling

(Figures 3.14-3.16).51

The entire event was a glorious achievement for all the

participants, especially Jaques-Dalcroze and Appia whose dreams of

bringing together the performer and a whole people, and to use free and

open space in theatrical events, were triumphantly realized.52 There

was a perfect balance between all elements; all the performers were

thoroughly acquainted with their parts and their individual

interpretations were in harmony with the general effect not only from a

vocal and scenic point of view, but also from that of unity of style.

The artistic union of Appia and Jaques-Dalcroze brought about a

material realization of the relationships between musical rhythm and

rhythmic movement on the one hand, and between rhythmic movement and

rhythmic space, on the other.

51 The Adolphe Appia Exhibition Catalogue p. 87.

52 Volbach, Adolphe Appia: Prophet, p. 95.

(Figure 3.19) Hellerau: Rehearsal Photograph

(Figure 3.20) Hellerau: Rehearsal Photograph


Timing was an important element in bringing about a perfect balance

between orchestra, movement, and space. The lighting, dominated by the

same musical rhythm, was a leading factor necessary to harmonize,

crystalize, intensify, and unify the general dramatic effect. No

detail was neglected. This collaboration introduced a new living art

form. It brought about a new style of staging through the lose of

standard units which could be arranged into any form— easily and

speedily— and thus become physical partners in the visual effects and in

the dramatic action as well. Such a style of rhythmic features is meant

to enhance the rhythmic value of stage space and its artistic success

was due to the tireless efforts of Appia, Jaques-Dalcroze and Salzmann.

Other new elements they introduced included the new architecture of the

theatre of Hellerau, a new lighting system, both direct and indirect,

and a theatrical space which encouraged a direct social experience

between the performer and the audience without separation and without

illusion. Finally, and most importantly, out of this collaboration came

Appia*s most profound study and exploration of the theatrical use of

stage space.

(Figure 3.21) Alexander V. Salzmann’s Sketch

(Figure 3.22) Alexander V. Salzmann’s Sketch

(Figure 3.23) Hellerau: A Photograph


The Appia/Jaques-Dalcroze collaboration not only introduced to the

modern stage the Appian style of stage setting and the Jaques-Dalcroze

system of musical training, but also postulated specific and intimate

relationships between theatrical rhythmic space and rhythmic movements.

Appia*s drawings for the Eurhythmies of Jaques-Dalcroze are of major

significance and interest to theater studies, for they suggest a new

aesthetic value through their geometric forms and rhythmic relationships

intended for rhythmic movement and evolutions. As Eurhythmies was

designed to train students to react physically to the perception of

musical rhythm by rhythmic movement, Appia’s Rhythmic Spaces were

designed to set definite proportions, in a theatrical space, measured

according to the human body and its diversified movements. The body,

through its rhythmic movement, is used to interpret the music and

thereby dictate the proportions of the inanimate and inarticulate forms

in space. These forms are regulated by means of musical time-units and

share the rhythmic calibration, physically and visually, with the living

and moving human body.1 "We must walk, then stop, then walk once more,

only to stop again. These stopping places will create a sort of rhythm

. . . Space is our life; our life creates space; our body expresses

1 Appia, The Work of Living Art. p. 25.


(Figure 4.1) Appia at his drawing board looking through the window.

it."2 Appia emphasizes that in his rhythmic spaces two planes can be

distinguished: the first is intended for movement, the other serves to

heighten the general effect of the body.3 Therefore, it is necessary

that both planes express weight and stability in their structure and

appearance. They must also oppose the human body either through

straight lines or sharply defined angles offering resistance through the

impression of the solidity and power which they give.4

"The triumphant demonstration of life is affirmed! The body, at

the behest of music, commands and orders space ... all must be cut
to its measure, all must adopt its pattern ... Is not man the
measure of all things?"*

This remark reflects Appia’s p h i l o s o p h i c a l and artistic views on

the creation of his new style in which he brings a rhythmic role to the

scenic art of the theatre. It is safe to say that this would not have

happened had it not been for the collaboration of the two pioneers.

This aesthetic concept is as artistic as it is rational and

intellectual. The intimate relationship between space and movement, in

general, is a natural and physical phenomenon. The addition of the

artistic concept of calculated rhythm to an understanding of this

phenomenon was not accidental.

To fully understand and appreciate Appia’s use of rhythmic space in

relation to the rhythmic movements of Jaques-Dalcroze it is necessary to

explain scientifically the simple and intimate relationship between

2 Appia, The Work of Living Art, p. 53.

3 Ibid, p. 25.

4 Ibid, pp. 25-30.

5 Appia, "Man is the Measure of All Things," p. 130.


space/form and movement in general. Moving a ball on a flat surface is

not similar to moving it on an unevenly structured surface. For

example, there is a great difference in speed, distance, and direction

when moving the same ball with the same impulse in two opposite

directions (upward and downward) on a raked floor. These differences

are a result of resisting forces such as gravity, weight, and the

unevenness of the surface which creates physical obstacles that limit

the speed and affects the straight direction of the moving ball. While

all these resisting forces work against the upward movement of the ball

and, therefore, affect its speed, distance, and direction, the downward

movement will be aided by the gravity and the weight of the ball to go

faster and farther. The direction of the ball, however, is determined

by how the surface is unevenly structured and angled.

Such basic understanding of this natural phenomena is essential to

clarify the intimate relationships between space/form and movement. The

next step is to understand the way in which the two pioneers used the

relationship between movement and space in an artistic manner.

As described in Chapter I, Jaques-Dalcroze’s approach to rhythm,

was based on his system of Eurhythmies, a system designed to create and

develop an irresistible desire to move with music and express rhythm

through bodily movement.6 Chapter III described Appia’s concept of

staging for Jaques-Dalcroze’s experiments. Although Appia became

acquainted with Jaques-Dalcroze and his work in 1906 , it was not until

1909 that he applied his knowledge of music and appreciation of audible

6 Henrietta Rosenstrauch, Essays on Rhythm. Music. Movement

(Pennsylvania: Volkwein Bros., 1974), p. 10.

musical rhythms to the creation of visible proportions in space. This

discovery was the result of Appia’s "burning desire to comprehend the

incomprehensible relations between sounds and forms," at a time when

Jaques-Dalcroze was experimenting in a simple hall without a stage or


In 1906, Appia suggested the use of different levels and steps to

enhance the performers’ plasticity and artistic movements.8 Appia *s use

of levels for the performers, different from the level of the seated

spectators, was not only designed for the performers to be better seen

but for more artistic grouping and rhythmic movement. Relating the

human figure as a plastic form with its rhythmic movement governed by

music and specially created rhythmic space intended for the body’s

presence is one of Appia*s great contributions to the theatre in general

and to scenographic art in particular.

"... From my childhood, the living human body dominated my vision

and decided my career. It was the driving force in my reform of
the Wagnerian mise en scene, it led me toward the art of the human
body, which was revealed to me by the Dalcroze method."9

Hie rhythmic nature of Appia*s "Rhythmic Spaces" and the artistic

value of his work cannot be better described than by the words of his

collaborator, Jaques-Dalcroze:

Thank you for your good advice. You are totally right. The
movable elements (practicables) are invaluable to me and my
training exercises— they allow us to discover new postures and
attitudes in new conditions of balance... In each of your drawings,

7 Appia, The Work of Living Art. pp. 202-21.

8 Claudel, "The Hellerau Theatre," Adolphe Appia: Actor. Space.

Light (London: Zurich and John Calder, New York: Riverrun Press, 1982),
p. 85.

9 Appia, "Theatrical Experiences and Personal Investigations," p. 381.


we know exactly where your shadows are, the rays and the sheets of
light ...10

Appia's revolutionary style of staging had now been born. His

ultimate goal was to assure the dramatic unity of all theatrical

elements, particularly, the actor, the space, and the light. Rhythm is

the major coordinating feature, felt in all physical forms, and seen in

space filled with colored light.

It is important to note that the use of color is totally absent in

all Appia*s rhythmic designs, such an absence is not accidental; it is

a rational intellectual decision. Appia’s philosophy was to use color

only in light. He objected to painted scenery in general, and to

"painted light and shadows" in particular. He eliminated these dead-

painted lights and shadows to focus the living light on the performer.

He then was free to use as many colors as he wished by the use of

colored filters attached to the lighting instruments. This method

offered many possibilities for instant projections, color changes, and

tonalities. The entire space is under full control without being

limited to one or more painted colors.

"We owe the dramatist a palette. This palette is alive no doubt

and its life seems elusive... The task is to capture the mobility
of life for his own use. Space alone is like canvas beside an
empty palatte. The canvas needs colors— and, to life, color is
movement, that is to say time."11

The artistic choice of using colored light is very economical,

practical, effective and expressive, particularly when used as a

10 Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, undated letter to Appia between 1908-

1916, in Adolphe Appia: Actor. Space. Light, p. 26.

11 Appia, "Theatrical Productions and Personal Investigations," p.


progressive medium. Such progression is important to support and unify

the dramatic progression of rhythmic space and rhythmic movement guided

by music. It is the presence of the living and moving performer guided

by music and illuminated by such vibrant and colored light that unifies

and harmonizes the arts of sound and those of space.

Before Appia, lighting had no such vital function; one of its main

purposes was to make the painted setting visible; but with Appia, light

took a dominant place in the theatre and the dramatic action of the

play. Appia was always concerned about the problem of bringing truth,

beauty, and practicality to all elements of production. The obvious

aesthetic clash between the living actor and the "dead nature" painted

on vertical flats with false perspective was the first fundamental

conflict Appia tried to resolve. He gave his work a strong sense of

reality and actual depth and height, and right proportions most suited

to the human body and its movement. The idea of progressive light with

its expressive shadows added artistic and dramatic dimensions to the art

of staging. A review of the relationship between rhythmic space and

rhythmic movement will demonstrate how Appia created his theatrical

space and how his special talents as an artist-musician served the

performer and rhythmic movement through functional rhythmic arrangement

of space.

The following examples from Appia*s "Rhythmic Spaces" represent his

study of stage space and its theatrical possibilities. Most reflect a

variety of three-dimensional rhythmic structures, suggested by simple

lines and forms of sharply defined angles. Others reflect a combination

of different structures and techniques of theatrical elements. It is

important to point out that all of Appia’s rhythmic spaces lack the

positive basis of specific drama, although some of them were adapted to

the dimensions of the great hall of the Hellerau School of Eurhythmies.

They are, according to Appia, "simple suggestions to the end of

establishing a style under the control of the human body— which is

itself stylized by music."12 When Appia began working on these sketches

in the years 1909-1910, he had no idea what or where the actual space

would be. However, he was always concerned about the problem of

bringing truth, beauty, and practicality to all elements of production.


The following definitions are used in this chapter:

STEP: refers to one unit combined of tread (horizontal) and riser

(vertical) upright portion.

STAIRWAY: refers to a series of three or more steps not enclosed in a

well or cage.

FLIGHT: refers to one step or a succession of more steps between two

nearest landings and is always all or part of a stairway.

RAMP: refers to an inclined plane joining or "easing" two levels.

LANDING: refers to a platform between flights (at least 27 in. long and

the width of the stairway.

TOP LANDING: refers to the floor at the top of the stairway.

12 Appia, The Work of Living Art, p. 87.

13 The definitions used here are based on materials in NBS Building

Science Series 108, "Safety on Stairs," pub. U.S. Dept, of Commerce,
Nov. 1978, and Guy Cadogan Rothery, Staircases and Garden Steps (New
York: Frederick A. Stokes).

BOTTOM LANDING: refers to the floor at the bottom of the stairway.

Appia’s sketch ("La clairiere") "The Clearing" or "Forest Glade.",

1909 is one of his few titled sketches. According to Appia, this sketch

is an example of a forest suggested by very simple means. The materials

used are cut draperies and a suitable arrangement of lighting,

projection, and special filters to allow the light to come through as

necessary and desired. The filtered light and shadow will fall on the

performers and will become mobile as a result of the rhythmic movements

of these performers throughout the whole space. It is an example of

modified and simplified nature— Appia’s prime source of artistic

inspiration— which he reforms, simplifies and purifies. It suggests a

forest by very simple means. Its importance lies in its artistic

solution based on clarity, practicality, and safety without giving up

the least degree of its majestic grace and beauty.

In this rhythmic space, Appia depends primarily upon the creativity

of light in addition to its basic illumination function. The light here

is obviously filtered through special cutouts or projections to

approximate the dramatic and expressive use of light. Appia uses the

moving living body and its authority over theatrical elements to create

a living space and living art. When the shadows of filtered light

strike the moving performer they will become mobile. Appia is obviously

designing more than a scenic illusion or mere backgrounds; the space

becomes atmosphere crystallized by the dramatic use of light. The

performer attracts attention not only by his rhythmic movement but also

by moving in the lights and shadows to which the living presence of the

actor gives life and a sense of movement.

In this sense, Appia clearly indicates that the two primary

conditions for the artistic display of the human body on stage are: the

light which gives it plastic value, and the setting, which gives value

to its attitudes and movements.14 In terms of practicality, Appia left

the stage floor flat to provide the performer with a total flexibility

and freedom. To do so is to make the performer’s movement very easy and

secure. The filtered light and shadows on the floor as used in the

particular manner presented in this sketch is dynamic enough, especially

when these patches of light and shadow fall on the moving body of the

performer. The light will become mobile and also dynamic and


14 Kenneth MacGowan, The Theatre of Tomorrow (New York: Boni and

Liveright, 1921), pp. 83-84.
(Figure 4.2) Rhythmic Space: The Clearing or Forest Glade.

(Figure 4.3) A Plastic Study by the Jaques-Dalcroz students.


"The lighting will no longer be absorbed by the painting to be

visible, it will be able to spread out in space, imbuing it with
living color and crating in it a shifting atmosphere with infinite
variations— an atmosphere, moreover, which will serve the dramatist
rather than the painter."15

The abstract design reflects a remarkable solution free of any

pretense at reality. Appia’s focus here is on the movement and

lighting; the vertical movement of the human body casting its horizontal

shadow on the floor will give life to the whole space with a high degree

of graceful unity and majestic beauty.

The flat floor in this sketch can best be suited to the

choreographic movement and groupings of Jaques-Dalcroze (Figure 4-3).

It is safer and more practical to provide free and open space, as it is

the case in nature, to focus on the dynamic gesture and the bodily

movements of the dancing group. With such artistic modification of

nature presented in the design, an impression can be obtained by having

a movement by an individual rising gently out of the kneeling group.

According to Jaques-Dalcroze, it would create a greater effect if while

one performer rises, those who remain kneeling bow themselves to the

floor— "the effect will be increased ten-fold."16 The same strong

impression can be gained by another carefully contrived contrasting

movement. For example, an advancing performer, whose forward movement

goes simultaneously in opposite direction with others who are retiring,

would gain dramatic emphasis. Thus, the physical movement has its own

expressive virtue within the whole theatrical space, scenery and

lighting. But the synthesis can only be complete when unity and harmony

15 Quoted in Adolphe Appia; Actor. Space. Light, p. 56.

16 Jaques-Dalcroze, Rhythm. Music, and Education, p. 225.


go along with carefully prepared and expressed collective rhythmic

action in relation to other successive movements.17

It is important to indicate that such a simple space of

extraordinary vitality and beauty, which reflects a "new nature" can

serve countless groupings and movement possibilities to produce the

needed artistic effect, physically and visually. The lighting— through

its special effects guided by music— furnishes a visual unifying force

to the theatrical space, in which rhythmic movement and rhythmic space

are physically related, and thus all theatrical elements become

organically related in perfect synchronization.18

17 Ibid, p. 223

18 Ibid., p. 215.

Evening Round (La Ronde du soir, 1909) (Figure 4.4) is another

modification of nature with an open space of two main levels connected

by three deep and broad steps. This rhythmic space gives the impression

of a sea or ocean whose expanse meets the sky at the horizon; the top

horizontal level suggests the water surface, and the lowest one suggests

the shore where we are watching the sunrise or sunset being projected on

the back drop or cyclorama. The three steps suggest a set of three

rhythmic waves approaching us. With such a sense of active space,

expressive and plastic, simple and practical, the stage will come

forever closer to the plasticity of the human body, to enhance its

plasticity in space. There are no lifeless paintings on vertical flats

but living light. The result is total flexibility, freedom, and great

simplification and purification of nature.

This approach to designing is truly a triumphal use of theatrical

space for artistic movement. Appia knows how and where to focus our

attention. This rhythmic space is aesthetically moving, especially when

it is used by a group for dance movements which create a corresponding

physical and visual effect in realizing a particular musical rhythm.

Figure 4.5 represents one of the Jaques-Dalcroze rhythmic exercises,

which can be matched to Appia's rhythmic space.

Expressing any given musical rhythm by physical rhythmic movement

can be developed mathematically to realize every gradation of the rise

and fall of a melody, as a regularly recurrent series of accented

sounds. In this case Appia*s rhythmic space furnishes the

(Figure 4.4) Eveming Round (La Ronde du soir), 1909.

(Figure 4.5) A Plastic Exercise, Geneva 1918.


inspiration for creating groupings parallel to the picture plane. The

movement can be done alternately forwards or backwards in addition to

the upwards and downwards movements. Lighting through the use of

spotlights, projections, and special effects creates an artistic -

expression, not merely visibility as often had been the case before


Another example of a treatment combining nature with architecture

in a very harmonious fashion is (Figure 4.6). While these purely

architectural ramps of different angles and easy slopes seem solid and

stiff, they are reflective of the natural rhythm apparent in the

background which shows a clear view of the hills beyond. The tree

trunks placed at different distances almost repeat their rhythm as they

gradually move away in deeper planes. As these forms retreat deeper and

deeper in different rhythms, they distance themselves considerably from

the stiff solid wall on the right becoming more free forms, thus

becoming mediators between free nature and pure architecture.

The importance of this sketch lies in its beauty and ease of

movement in many directions all achieved parallel to the picture plane

in a gradual rhythm. The ramps of easy slopes at different angles move

the eye easily from one direction to another while the tonal grading

gradually invites us on a journey in rhythmic space moving from one

plane to another. We leave the strict and almost enclosed architectural

space to enjoy open and free nature. Yet, there is no sharp distinction

between nature and the Appian architecture inspired by nature. His use

of light is gradual, dramatic and effective.


(Figure 4.6) A Rhythmic Space (1909-1910).


Through Appia’s use of light and shadow, especially when he indicates

more darkness in the foreground, one can imagine the majestic effect

produced by the light sources from the sides and upstage on the

performers downstage.

There are at least three different rhythmic movements seen in this

sketch. The most important is the moving line of the top of the ramps

in connection with the horizontal lines. The movement on these planes

parallel to the picture plane is not only closer to the spectator, but

definitely longer in terms of time duration which is further supported

through the slopes of the ramps. If we think about the moving actor on

these ramps, we logically think of fast or slow movements according to

the provided forms and their slopes or angles. At this point, we can

imagine the different rhythms of the moving performer when using ramps

of different angles in the upward direction (ascending order). Also, we

can imagine the same performer descending these ramps with different

rhythm at different speed. The difference in the speed and ease of

ascending or descending the same ramp represents natural and physical

phenomena discussed above. The best way to exhibit such rhythmic

changes is to use two lines of performers descending and ascending the

ramps at the same time. The simple explanation of this phenomenon is

magnetism opposed by the weight of the performer, and by the degree of

angle in each ramp which determines its resistance and subsequently, the

ease or hardship of movement for the performer (See Fig. 1.2).

Opposing the rhythmic movement in this direction parallel to the

picture plane is the movement in depth (on the left side of the sketch)

at a right angle with the picture plane. This movement is done


simultaneously with the movement on the ramps. It creates a change of

rhythm which adds richness and variety to the whole space (Fig. 1.3).

The lighting in this new aesthetic treatment plays a new role of

substantial importance. Giving the foreground (downstage) a dark

visibility, while the left side of the stage is being lit, makes it

possible for a choreographic movement in both areas to be highly

dramatic and meaningful. Such artistic choice invites the performers to

experience the space, which suggests a partial physical opposition in

one area and ease and comfort in the other— darkness against light. It

is also an invitation to all parties involved to study such a theatrical

space and use it effectively.

Rhythmic Spaces, according to Appia, exist meaningfully only during

the live performance of the eurhythmicians. Their physical presence

gives life to the whole space, and their rhythmic movement makes use of

these rhythmic forms, making than more enjoyable. It should not be

difficult, however, for the reader to visualize such movement while

moving his eyes rhythmically from one form to another, and from one

level to another, as if he himself is the moving performer controlled by

music and the physical rhythmic spaces.

Rhythmic Space (Fig.4.7) suggests freedom in terms of direction and

proportion and, consequently, of movement in many directions; it also

suggests different and special uses of lighting in different areas. It

demands the active and dramatic use of lighting. The rhythmic

movements in each area will be enhanced when groups perform upstage and

downstage at the same time effectively using the downstage large

silhouette figures against the well-lit but smaller figures in the

(Figure 4.7) A Rhythmic Space (1909-1910)

(Figure 4.8) A Plastic Exercise.


distant background. These two designs are open to endless artistic

suggestions for pictorial elaborations and technical development. This

openness to many uses is an important feature in understanding what

Appia was consciously planning to construct in relation to the human

body and its movement guided by music.

To experience this rhythmic space we acknowledge two primary

structures on the horizontal floor as well as two primary areas of

light, one bright, one dark. This not only suggests but rather dictates

different types of movement in and uses of each area.

While the lighted flat floor could be used for active and dynamic

rhythmic movement, especially by a dancing group entering the stage from

the two sides, the dark area with its apparent uneven structure can best

be dramatically used by slower moving individuals. The connection

between the two different areas and the actions in than is important,

especially if we suggest the use of the dancing group of Jaques-

Dalcroze’s students (Figure 4.8) or a similar activity upstage. The

focus will be on the dancers, especially at the moment they meet in the

middle of the stage. The background will help magnify and intensify

this moment.

"The two primary conditions for the artistic display of the human
body on the stage are these: a light which gives it plastic value,
and a plastic arrangement of the setting which gives value to its
attitudes and movements. The movement of the human body must have
obstacles in order to express itself. All artists know that beauty
of movement depends on the variety of points of support offered to
it by the ground and by natural objects. The movements of the
actor can be made artistic only through the appropriate shape and
arrangement of the surfaces of the setting.19

19 Quoted by Kenneth Macgowan in The Theatre of Tomorrow (New York

Boni and Liveright 1921), p. 84.
The second group of Appia’s Rhythmic Spaces belongs to purely

architectural treatment. "The Three Pillars" (Le trois piliers), 1909

(Figure 4.9) is another new form of Rhythmic Spaces, which is

sensitively divided vertically by a row of three broad columns, and

horizontally by a staircase of one flight consisting of three wide

steps. Both the columns and the steps are parallel to the picture

plane. On the far left, there is a wall or another larger column which

makes a right angle with the other columns and the picture plane, and

leaves a space between itself and the nearby column which equals the

same space between each column. These spaces, in addition to the right-

side space which is considerably larger, allow the light from up and

backstage to come through, creating a rhythm with the cast shadows on

the floor. The creation of such unified space is achieved by the use of

monumental architecture in its simplest forms repeated rhythmically in

threes (columns and steps and their shadows), both vertically and

horizontally. It is further enhanced as this pattern is repeated

vertically through the columns of solid form and dark tones and the

lighter spaces in between than. The significance of this sketch lies in

its unique physical and practical treatment of the space as it relates

to all possible rhythmic movements and its aesthetic quality and

psychological effect.

This form is one of the simplest Appia ever produced. The

horizontal space of two levels is a playable space with

(Figure 4.9) A Rhythmic Space "The Three Pillars" (1909).

its three vast and easy-going steps. The columns vertical static

quality provide a meaningful rhythmic value to the whole space,

vertically and horizontally. While these columns associate themselves

with the vertical space, providing countless possibilities through their

static quality and weight to oppose and support the living and dynamic

quality of the body and its movement, they unify the whole space from

the top to the bottom through their physical structure, height, and

weight. Further, their cast shadows make another deep connection and

union with the horizontal space. This unity, echoed by the mutual

rhythm between form and space in all direction, is also strengthened by

the stone-like structure and the artistic use of light. While one

strong source of light is suggested by Appia to throw the shadows of all

forms, a wash light of low intensity is suggested to allow general

illumination for more details (without shadows). The quality of the

main light will produce a sharp outline around the silhouette of the

performers when they move in it. Ibis psychological quality adds a new

dimension to the static and plastic values a sense of life to Appia’s

living art in which the setting, the lighting and the spatial

arrangement are directly related to the actor.20

"A new mentality will evolve, the old tastes will change the
traditional conception of scenic exigencies will be modified and
eventually people will wonder how it was ever possible that such a
divorce should have been allowed to subsist between the stage and
the orchestra, between musical conceptions and physical

20 Appia, "Man is the Measure of All Hungs," p. 22.

21 Jaques-Dalcroze, Rhythm. Music, and Education, p. 206.


It is essential to point out that the three sketches (Figures 4.9,

4.10, 4.11) reflect Appia’s new style of rhythmic spaces and aesthetic

values. They speak for themselves in terms of rhythms, forms,

functions, and constructional techniques and they represent Appia’s

practical and theatrical treatment, simply and firmly.

Appia always emphasized his special interest in expressing not only

the weight and stability of his suggested forms and materials, but also

the spiritual essence of his new theatre architecture which emphasized

the direct relationship between performer and spectator. He was

seeking an almost religious atmosphere, a "Hall which brings together

stage and auditorium," a divine union of music and the human body, to

achieve a harmonic communion of all arts.

Sooner or later we shall achieve what will be known as the Salle,

cathedral of the future, which, in a free, vast, and flexible
space, will bring together the most diverse manifestations of our
social and artistic life— the perfect place for dramatic art to
flourish— with or without an audience.22

It seems clear that Appia’s monumental forms which provide endless

theatrical possibilities, offer the performer an ideal performance

space. These forms, and their particular arrangement designed to create

rhythmic space, are meant not to exhibit themselves but to furnish a

theatrical atmosphere for the living art of the human body in

22 Appia, Music and the Art of the Theatre, p. 5.

(Figure 4.10) A Rhythmic Space (1909).

(Figure 4.11) A Plastic Exercise

(Figure 4.12) A Plastic Exercise.


its expressive presence and movement. They are meant to artistically

aid and compliment the performer’s rhythmic movement on the stage.

Figures 4.11 and 4.12 show two groups of eurhythmicians in plastic

exercises on a bare stage. Their particular poses (or two-fold action)

can best be enhanced by offering them Appia’s immobile pillars (Figure

4.10) whose definite structure and expression of weight and solidity can

provide a clear contrast and opposition to the living and mobile human


... This contrast is in itself expressive. The body finally

touches the column; the opposition is further accentuated.
Finally, the body leans against the column, and the latter’s
immobility offers a point of solid support: the column resists; it
acts! The opposition has created life in the inanimate form; the
space has become living!*3

It is important to emphasize another essential characteristic which

is common in this group of rhythmic spaces. The repeated rhythm in

threes is very apparent in the columns and the steps, hence in their

cast and self shadows. These physically imposed rhythms in space

clearly echo an audible musical rhythm which Appia must have had in mind

at the time. He wrote: "The varying lengths of musical sounds are

realized in visible proportions in space. "2« Rhythmic space design

is a beginning not an end. It can be inspiring to the conqposer, the

choreographer, the parformer and the lighting designer as each relates a

piece of music to the rhythmic space.

23 Appia, The Work of Living Art, p. 28.

2« Ibid, p. 21.
(Figure 4.13) A Rhythmic Space "The Shadow of the Cypress Tree" (1909).

According to Jaques-Dalcroze, "the choreographic composition should be

as carefully formed as musical or pictorial composition."25

These rhythmic spaces illsutrate Appia was trying to create a

flexible space, rhythmic and expressive, of a desirable theatrical order

to exhibit the "living art" of the human body to which all the inanimate

forms, whose structure and forms express weight and stability, must be

subordinated. His use of light is essentially theatrical and dramatic.

To him, light, which possesses movement, rhythm, and psychological mood

is the technical element best able to express life. The fact that it

can also be colored adds significance to its value. Colored light,

defused in space, and controlled by musical rhythms, can fill the

theatrical space with a new artistic life.

In the Shadow of the Cypress Tree (1909) (Figure 4.13), Appia chose

to use a wall upon which to cast a shadow. This is a new artistic theme

in Appia’s rhythmic spaces. It creates a new possibility for the

dramatic use of light and shadow and reflects Appia’s tireless efforts

to examine all possible relationships between forms, spaces,

organizations, proportions, etc.. These endless investigations helped

to elevate him to the first ranks of theatre artists.

The last sketch among this group (Figure 4.14) shows Appia’s

continuing search for the ideal theatrical space and ideal theatrical

lighting. This sketch presents an additional treatment; a wall opening

with a possible new lighting position. Such treatment gives an

additional value to the left side of the sketch where we see more

25 Jaques-Dalcroze, Rhythm. Music, and Education, p. 293.


(Figure 4.14) A Rhythmic Space (1909-1910).


space and feel more freedom. Theatricality is expressed by the thick

and heavy wall— not only through its width and suggested material, but

also by the relatively low height of the opening, and by the darkness in

the foreground.

The rhythmic space in this sketch seems more expressive and more

theatrical for it gives more possibilities for movement and direction.

The change of lighting position is highly effective and dramatic. It

seems to be a natural development of the previous treatment (Figure

4.13), but in the this treatment there is more expectation for more

dramatic action and rhythmic movement.

Hie third group of Appia’s rhythmic spaces is so sophisticated that

the viewer may not at first glance see some of the important rhythmic

and artistic features. Each sketch has emphasis on either movement or

lighting or both. This group includes examples of what Appia meant by

increasing or decreasing action by groups of performers. Appia*s

suggestive rhythmic space, vast or limited, clearly dictates direction

(movement circulation) and rhythmic movement, slow or fast.

"Echo and Narcissus," (Figure 4.15) was adapted to the dimensions

of the hall in the Jaques-Dalcroze Institute for the productions of June

1920.2 6 Hiis particular sketch is of great significance for many

reasons. First, it affirms the belief that Appia was strict in treating

his forms architecturally but at the same' time freely and rhythmically.

26 Appia, The Work of Living Art. p. 108.



(Figure 4.15) A Rhythmic Space "Echo and Narcissus" (1909-1910).


To be architecturally sound, one must follow its science and its

systematic order, especially when dealing with staircases of the same

nature within the same place. Appia intentionally set about to create

rhythmic spaces of a theatrical nature rather than purely architectural


In this sketch, the space is divided into three main levels

connected with three staircases. The lowest and middle levels are

connected by the wide steps from one side to another. The top level is

connected with the middle one by two sets of staircases.

Architecturally, these two staircases must be mathematically treated the

same way in terms of dimensions, and especially the number of steps

involved in each set as long as they are in the same space of one unit

and are joining the same levels. But this is not the case in this

sketch, for Appia’s solution is based on a different function— a

theatrical one, and more specifically, rhythmic. The number of steps,

therefore, is intentionally different; eight steps in one set and only

six steps in the other. This is a rhythmic solution for a theatrical

function which creates different rhythm.

This supports the position that Appia’s designs are of a more

rhythmic and theatrical nature than purely architectural. The architect

must remain consistent with the dimensions of the staircases, for the

safety of the users who usually become accustomed to the height and

depth of the first two steps. Any abrupt change in the elevation or run

may be hazardous. In short, such irregularity within the same unit and

space is architecturally unsafe. However, this is a rhythmic space

meant for rhythmic movement. It suggests a natural scene and the


presence of water where there is no place for regularities in natural

forms: "A strange thing but a natural one: no one could doubt the

presence of water, even though he clearly saw the floor of the hall at

the foot of the rock."27 According to Appia’s scenario, the designer

must have in mind those performers who are going to use these two

different staircases of different rhythm. Also, this sunken part of the

stage floor is theatrically meaningful, suggestive, and expressive.

"Moonlight" or "Clair de line" 1909 (Figure 4.16) is one of Appia*s

most artistic designs of theatrical space filled with powerful and

dramatic lighting effect. Its title provides sane clues and meaningful

atmosphere. Its design reflects Appia’s dedication to creating

supportive theatrical space and lighting. Artistically, with such

suggestive setting and lighting, we are offered endless possibilities of

simple and highly sophisticated treatment at once.

The back wall, which Appia indicates only by his use of the stone

structure, is not connected with the floor as it appears to be at first

glance. It leaves a larger gap or distance to be used for many dramatic

actions as a trap opening.

The staircase is uniquely rhythmic and highly dramatic; the form

and proportions, the light and shadows await the expressive action of

the performer to give both life and theatrical meaning. The scene

before our eyes suggests at least three levels: the main level on which

the staircase is located, the lowest for the trap, and the highest level

is right at or above the wall height. The whole scene is very

suggestive. The space is sunk in semi-darkness; it is silent and

27 Appia, The Work of the Living Art. p. 108.


(Figure 4.16) A Rhythmic Space "Moonlight" (1909).


yet waiting for something to happen— sound or movement. Movement on

each level of this set can be highly effective when the light and shadow

are well used. Movement on the floor from side to side would be of

great dramatic effect when the light hits the performer's head which

then disappears in the shadow. A similar effect would be obvious when

moving up or down the stairs. The first two steps are meaningful if

well used. Movement on the walls gives different psychological and

visual effects further enriched by the moving shadow or only part of the

moving performer on the front wall. The possibilities are limitless.

Looking at another sophisticated sketch (Figure 4.17), we find a

clear example of building up forms and movements of all kinds in all

directions. Here, we deal with the idea of progression, of rhythm, and

of movement in monumental space. This huge structure cannot be built in

the theatre; we must assume that Appia knew this— before anyone. But

the idea is just a beginning; the structure can be simplified, as he

actually did for most of his rhythmic spaces.

This sketch can be looked at as related forms of different

proportions and each part or portion can be rhythmically used. We can

learn what Appia himself learned from such complex work; how to reduce

complexity to a minimum. This sketch is one of Appia’s first attempts

towards the creation of his new style. Such colossal effect is more

cinematic in our world, but for Appia it represents his attachment to


(Figure 4.17) A Rhythmic Space (1909-1910).


ancient aesthetics and spiritual atmosphere. Huge numbers of performers

are needed in such monumental space.

Comparing such complex form as Appia*s "The Staircase" 1909 (Figure

4.18) to "The Lane" (1909-1910) (Figure 4.19), we find a world of

difference in treatment and artistic solution. In order to appreciate

the rhythmic and theatrical qualities in these sketches, it is important

to relate Appia*s visual art to his theory, based on his musical

background and the work of his collaborator. It would be difficult even

for an architect with a well-practiced eye to understand and accept

Appia’s Rhythmic Spaces, specifically, Appia’s use of irregularity in

some of his staircases. Such irregularity could be seen as hazardous.

Yet this irregularity is most suitable to support— physically, visually,

and theatrically— the bodily rhythmic movement. The theatrical space is

designed to exhibit simultaneously with dramatic use of light a rhythmic

movement corresponding to a particular musical rhythm. Thus Appia’s use

of rhythmic space in Figure 4.18 with its irregular arrangement of steps

and landings to express rhythm and to exhibit rhythmic movement in

highly theatrical fashion is brilliantly justified.

It is interesting to note Appia*s intentional creation of different

rhythms through groups of steps of ten risers (see Figure 4.19) and

groups of steps of three risers (see Figures 4.10, 4.20, 4.21). These

rhythmic spaces, although they have no specific indication that they

were designed for a particular work clearly suggest an interpretation

which is dictated by their specific features.


(Figure 4.18) A Rhythmic Space "The Staircase" (1909).

(Figure 4.19) A Rhythmic Space "The Lane" (1909).

(Figure 4.20) A Rhythmic Exercise (1909).


(Figure 4.21) A Rhythmic Exercise (1909).


For example, when a specific rhythm is apparent in a particular

count and somehow repeated in the same place, there is no way to ignore

such a rhythm created both visually and physically by a talented artist-

musician. To achieve unity and harmony the movement of the performer

must be designed in relation to such meaningful realization of rhythm in


According to Appia, the work of an architect, although a

modification of natural forms, must not lose sight of the proportions of

the living human body and its diversified movements.28 This statement

underscores his consistent, habitual way of designing. He told a pupil

to "design with your legs, not with your eyes."29 This is undoubtedly

one reason for his sensitivity to proportion and the intimate

relationship between dramatic movement and space.

Appia’s objective is the creation of the most expressive space

possible filled with dramatic atmosphere. This theatrical space was not

meant to be a dominant element but rather supportive of the practical

and theatrical demands of the uiece.

Figure 4.22 is another example of a design without a particular

title which nevertheless does speak for itself as to how it could be

physically and visually used by the performer.

28 Appia, The Work of Living Art. p. 23.

29 Jessica Davis Van Wyck, "Working with Appia," in TAM, vol. 8, #2,
December 1924, pp. 817-818.
(Figure 4.22) A Rhythmic Exercise (1909-1910).

There are four different structures parallel to the picture plane,

and each one has a unique rhythm which imposes itself on the performer.

These four massive structures have various gaps or cut-outs (one per

wall) which work like magical rhythm. This rhythm is created by the

irregular height not only of each wall and the different angle of the

slope of each ramp, but the depth of the cut-outs and the stiff heights

of the sides of each cut. This theatrical design becomes highly

expressive as the performer walks, leaps, or runs on the top of the

walls or in between than.

The importance of Figure 4.22 lies in its influence and

inspiration. It inspired successful works by some of the most notable

designers of our day, particularly the numerous settings designed by

Josef Svoboda.30

Appia’s design of Gluck’s Orpheus: The Elysian Fields (Figure 4.23)

is another remarkable example of rhythmic spaces. This sketch was drawn

between the years 1909 and 1914, reflecting the same quality and

features of Appia’s work done during that period. It is more likely

that Appia’s first sketch goes back to the years 1909 and 1910, when he

was creating his Rhythmic Spaces for an open and free space. However,

comparing Appia’s first sketch and his other sketch dated 1926 (Figure

3.10) for the same opera first performed in 1912, we find substantial

changes not only in the last sketch but in the realized setting as well

30 Examples of Svoboda *s settings influenced by the same sketch are

Das Rheingold. scene 4 (Geneva 1975), Die Walkure. Act 1 (Geneva 1975),
Siegfried. Act 1 (Geneva 1976), and Gotterdammerung. Act 1, scene 1, 2
(Geneva 1977). Ironically, Svoboda, who denies being influenced by
Appia, seems so fascinated by Appia’s idea that he used almost the main
theme of 1909 and reproduced it in Geneva, Appia’s homeland, in the
1970s, and in other cities all over the world (See Figure 5.5).


(Figure 4.23) A Rhythmic Space "Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice" (1909-1911).


(Figure 3.9). These changes are as follows: the first sketch has one

staircase, the second has four flights of stairs, each leads to the

other. While the first seems more horizontal, the second is more

vertical and of more definite space, length, and width. These changes,

however, create the following questions:

- Was Appia aware, at the time of his design, of the offer of the

Hellerau project that Jaques-Dalcroze received in 1910?

- If yes, why did he use such an endless space for his first artistic

choice? As open-door stage? Why did he change?

- Were there any other sketches which may suggest additional scenes for

the same production? If so, where are they?

If Appia knew about Hellerau’s dimensions at the time of his

drawing, why would he make such a free space sketch as if he ignores

completely the dimensions of the place into which his work was to be

fitted? Did he dislike covering the walls by the translucent materials

for lighting, as he suggests in the sketch of 1926?

Examples of Appia’s designs for other productions which he meant to

revise prove that he never changed his original ideas, but rather he

refined and simplified his details within the already existing outlines.

There are many examples, such as Appia’s revision of his sketches for

Wagner’s music dramas. In his later sketches, Appia kept his revisions

within almost the same shapes of his original forms, but they were more

architecturally refined and rhythmically ordered. The Orpheus sketch

dated 1926 supports his original decision by keeping his stone-like


Because Appia reworked and revised his ideas, it can be assumed

that his sketch for Orpheus follows his habit of revision and refinement

in seeking perfection. Such logic assumes that there should be an

original sketch which is somehow similar to this one, but it must be

lost along with so many others. The fact remains that there are

substantial differences between the extant sketch dated 1926 and the

production photographs of 1912 and 1913.

- Appia insists on having architectural walls without coverings of any

other material.

- The stairs are different; they are engulfed by two side blocks on

either side to the walls in the sketch.

- The lines of Appia's sketch represent a technical way of constructing

stone-like structure, while the production photographs reflect more

practical technique devised by Alexander Von Salzmann. While Appia*s

lines look natural, they are less economical in comparison to their

realization which proves that it was not Appia*s technical

understanding but rather Salzmann*s which dominated much of the final


In conclusion, Appia was a talented artist-musician who entered the

theatrical world through music. He devoted himself to a reformation of

the lyric stage, designing everything on the stage as it relates to

music.31 His rhythmic spaces were intentionally designed to be part of

the physical rhythmic process by enabling the performer to coordinate

musical and bodily rhythm. Appia put himself in the performer’s place,

using his sense of time and space and his own experience to create a

31 Mercier, "Adolphe Appia: The Rebirth of Dramatic Art," p. 617.


space of rhythmic values in which that space becomes physically and

practically a partner in the theatrical event. The physical partnership

is achieved by creating functional rhythmic forms of a theatrical and

practical nature. These forms are specifically proportioned and arranged

to help unify and harmonize the total presentation as offered through

the living presence of the human body.

In all of Appia’s rhythmic spaces we recognize a scheme of

"irregular" accentuation in his rhythmic groups. This "irregularity" is

indeed the element which makes better quality of fine grouping and

proportion, both in music and visual arts. It heightens emotional

effects and symbolic suggestions.32 Each composition of Appia’s

rhythmic spaces has different rhythmic treatment and are reflections of

Appia’s never-ending search for the most effective stage space and its

theatrical possibilities. His conscious decision was to take the

plastic, mobile, and living body both as object and as instrument, and

to create an architectural rhythmic style in which everything was

subordinated to the human body and its dramatic rhythmic movement— "the

great unknown and the experience of beauty."33

It is important, however, to recognize that Appia’s "Rhythmic

Spaces" were a further development of the same principles he applied,

during the first phase of his career, to Wagner’s music-dramas. He had

sought in the music of these dramas visual evocative space, in which he

placed the performer in the midst of planes and lines rightly created

32 Percy A. Scholes, The Oxford Companion to Music. Ninth Edition

(London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1960), pp. 880-81.

33 Appia, The Work of Living Art, p. 68.


for him.34 But unlike Wagner’s music dramas, the Eurhythmies of Jaques-

Dalcroze allowed Appia more freedom for they lacked the positive basis

(such as time, location, social, historical features) of a specific

drama, thus he eliminated whatever did not relate directly to the living

body and its rhythmic movement. It was Eurhythmies which opened Appia’s

eyes to discover his new style of spatial arrangements based on unit

setting, thus creating flexible acting areas of endless shapes and

proportions. For him color and light became the dramatic expressive

medium he could use to fill the entire space with atmosphere. He could

do this with constant change, simultaneously with musical rhythm,

centralized in the human figure as the unifying element.

34 Ibid, p. 87.


The intimate relationships existing between rhythmic movement and

rhythmic space have been emphasized in the works of Appia and Jaques-

Dalcroze. Their musicianship and common goal were inseparable. Their

ideas and their collaboration inspired by music and the human body,

were their first important steps toward a new artistic movement which

has influenced the modem stage in the areas of acting, directing and

designing (setting, lighting, costumes). Their contribution to

theatrical studies lies in their theories of a living art inspired by

music and animated by the living presence of the human body in time and

space. The artistic outcome of this collaboration— including the

creation of Appia’s radical "Rhythmic Spaces", the Hellerau new theatre

architecture, the introduction of the unit setting with its flexibility

and practicality— would not have come about had it not been for the

close relationship between the two pioneers and the interaction of their


The two artists, each who tried to portray a sort of visual music,

came to many of the same conclusions. Each had distinctive ideas,

developed along different lines but both wanted to relate rhythmic

movement to rhythmic space. Their autistic association was aimed at

blending the arts of time (music, poem, songs, etc.) to those of space


(movement, forms, volumes, etc.) in a new living art form wherein the

intimate relationships between musical rhythms and bodily rhythms, sound

vibrations and light vibrations have been organized, interrelated, and


It was Appia who, on meeting Jaqeus-Dalcroze for the first time in

1906, suggested the use of different levels for the performers. Also,

it was Appia’s idea to construct the unit settings out of standardized

forms of different shapes and sizes. The chronology of his writings,

sketches, and Jaques-Dalcroze’s letters— all clearly support the fact

that Appia was the creator of the new ideas of not only his "Rhythmic

Space" but the new theatrical reforms at Hellerau. The new theatre

architecture, and the lighting system were suggested by Appia who was

always consulted from start to finish about all the artistic aspects of

the program.

Hellerau was a true palace of Rhythm for three years— a gallery of

living art— in which rhythmic movement and rhythmic space were related

in joy and at ease. The Hellerau experiment came to an end with the

outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Before it closed, Appia and

Jaques-Dalcroze were able to achieve a fascinating degree of perfection,

presenting the human body and its diversified rhythmic movement in a

rhythmic and theatrical space. It was a true beginning of a new

artistic career. It was also the beginning for a new lyric and dramatic

art of the theatre, based upon the intimate relationships existing

between rhythmic movement and rhythmic space.

The whole work of living art was a direct result of this

collaboration. Although the two artists began their explorations as


attempts to reform their particular fields (the lyric theatre and music

education), it was only after they met each other, exchanged artistic

views, and combined their efforts that they were able to extend and

refine their arts and realize their dreams.

Salzmann was a strong cornerstone in the technical realization

achieved at Hellerau. It is safe to say that without his contribution

to this collaboration the final product would not have been the same or

even close. It is no exaggeration to state that it was Salzmann’s

technical and practical experience in staging which made possible

Appia’s ideas of unit setting. In effect he was the third artist in the

Appia/Jaques-Dalcroze collaboration. None of Appia’s sketches were

accompanied by detailed working drawing sheets or drawn to scale. Appia

used comnon sense and artistic vision to create his sketches, relying on

his feeling for movement in rhythmic sequence as well as an intuitive

sense of form. His designs are practical for rhythmic movement (in a

theatrical sense) but not for purely architectual and civil or domestic

use. The reason is simple. Appia*s concept of visual and physical

irregularity is calculated not for mechanical use or customary

application, but to impose rhythm upon the performer’s movement through

physical forms. Yet, he does not lose sight of safety or aesthetic

proportion of the whole theatrical space. He focuses on exhibiting the

movement of the performer by creating greater opportunity for

circulation in all directions before the spectator’s eyes. These

designs present new relationships between elements. Each

design represents different arrangements of forms, proportions, changes

in lighting positions, intensities, and view points (ninety degrees from


one sketch to another). His famous advice to one of his pupils, Jessica

Van Wyck is indicative of his approach: "Design with your legs, not

with your eyes."1 His interpretation of the dramatic space is based

upon the dramatic action of the performer. He uses the human figure as

the only measure for his designs; he borrowed Protagoras' philosophy as

one of his own principles "Man is the Measure of All Things." The

study and analysis of all the available designs of Appia prove his

unfailing sense of theatrical practicality. His work reflects his

understanding of human abilities as well as limitations, and the

theatrical requirements which acknowlege those conditions. Other

artists, especially those who imitate him, do not acknowledge his

philosophy and its implications.

It would be difficult not to see this imnense staircase [Figure

5.3] as the synthesis and epitome of all the staircases designed by

Appia. Aside from their distinctive originality and the fact that

half a century has passed, both Appia and Svoboda affirmed the

importance of integrating the stage space and the actor, and the

unique role of lighting in their productions.2

A look at examples of Josef Svoboda*s work suggests Appia’s

influence on him. An examination of Svoboda's work in comparison to

that of Appia explains their differences, which are meaningful. Figure

5.1 is a production photograph of Orpheus at Hellerau as based on

Appia’s idea and as realized by Salzmann. Appia's perception and

1 Jessica Davis Van Wyck, "Working with Appia," Theatre Arts

Monthly. 8, no. 2, 1924, pp. 817-818.

2 Denis Bablet, The Revolutions of State Design in the 20th

Century. (New York: Leon Amiel 1977), p. 51.

solution reflect his sense of human life and scale, and his common sense

of nature and man's ability and comfort. He employs steps as Svoboda

does in his Oedipus Rex (Figures 5.2, 5.3), almost the same number of

approximately 60 steps. But his solution is more human, more practical,

and more logical than the solution of Svoboda (who has a degree in

architecture). Appia's setting of about sixty steps, is divided into

four major flights and four landings. This very human solution is easy

to move on and to rest upon by use of the transitional landings.

Besides, descending and ascending these steps, the performer will be

forced to change directions— which is very dramatic and theatrical.

In comparison, Svoboda, the architect, uses the same number of

steps in only one flight which is illogical, impractical, unsafe and

beyond the human sense of secular architecture. In other words, it

looks good visually but when there is any mistake by a performer

this mechanical solution can be deadly. Such a solution loses sight of

the proportion of the human body and its diversified movement.

Figure 5.4 is one of Appia's Rhythmic Spaces which still influences

theatre designers as seen in one of Svoboda's productions for the

opening scene of the Geneva Rheingold (1975). These are only a few

examples of many works by Svoboda which have been influenced by Appia.

His and many other's designs from all over the world remind us that the

Appia/Jaques-Daleroze collaboration was a significant step toward the

creation of a new aesthetic movement which has strongly influenced the

theatre in general, and scenography in particular. For reasons unknown

(Figure 5.1) The Hellerau Production of Orpheus

(Figure 5.2) Svoboda’s Setting for Oedipus (The Final Scene)

(Figure 5.3) Svoboda’s Setting for Oedipus (Prague 1963)


the collaboration ended in 1923. There is no doubt that Jaques-Dalcroze

relied heavily on Appia’s artistic views and creation. Almost all the

extant correspondence reflects this fact (regrettably all Appia’s

letters to his collaborator were destroyed). While Appia was very

generous in providing voluntarily his artistic advice, help, ideas and

sketches, Jaques-Dalcroze was hesitant to give him "official"

recognition as a collaborator. But in spite of the lack of a clear

endorsement by Jaques-Dalcroze of Appia's contribution to his work, the

evidence is clear that Appia was the genius behind the success of these


...Even if— contrary to Jaques-Dalcroze's wishes— Appia’s name does

not appear in the programs and is barely mentioned in the accounts •
of the performances given there, the Hellerau theatre is really

According to Bablet, "Appia is the originator of scenic construction and

of movable unit as the modern producer demands."4 Lee Simonson


The lighting of any modem production, whether Jones’s Richard III,

or Geddes’ Hamlet, Reinhardt’s Danton’s Death or Jessner’s Othello
( and I could add the names of a hundred others that I have seen as
well as my own), are dramatized with light and shadow in ways that
repeat, however much they may amplify, Appia*s original methods and
effects— the same use of shadows to dignify and to envelop form, to
translate emotion into atmospheric moods, to define by
suggesting...Appia’s light-plot is now an accepted part of every
modem production.5

3 Paul Claudel, "The Hellerau Theatre," quoted in the Adolphe Appia

Exhibition Catalogue, p. 85.

4 Bablet, "Adolphe Appia, of Geneva, Great Friend and Collaborator

of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, is the Creator of Modem Stage," in Le Rhythme
(Geneva, April 1963), trans. Walther Volbach. "W. Volbach’s Collection
of Appia at Beinecke Library, Yale Univ., p. 4 of the typescript.

5 Lee Simonson, "Appia’s Contribution to the Modem Stage," Theatre

Arts Monthly. XVI, no, 8, 1932, p. 638.

(Figure 5.4) Appia, Rhythmic Space (1909)

(Figure 5.5) Svoboda’s Setting for Rheingold (Geneva 1975)


Appia did receive a long delayed recognition for his work that came

near the end of his life. He died in 1928. Jaques-Dalcroze lived

another twenty-two years, long enough to enjoy the credit given him for

his contribution to performance theory and music education. Appia

"was less fortunate," says Volbach, "many of our stage directors and

designers were inspired by his theories, but nowhere does his name

appear as the originator of their new approach."6

6 Volbach, "The Collaboration of Adolphe Appia and Emile Jaques-

Dalcroze" in Paul A. Pisk: Essays in His Honor, ad. John Glowacki
(Texas,: Austin, Univ. of Texas Press, 1966), p. 201.


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