The silent film Memories of Mirrors / Dramatic personalities after Mary Wigman and Madame d’Ora (2007/08) stages reenactments of well-known photographs that Madame d’Ora took of Mary Wigman’s Dance Company in the 1920s. These images are visual representations of Wigman’s philosophy; the dancer/choreographer developed her own style of modern dance that broke away from its subordination to music and was characterized by dramatic, expressive gestures.
Madame d’Ora (born Dora Kallmus) discovered dance as a subject early in her photographic career and found innovative approaches to representing scenic arrangements and minimalist poses. The central female figure in Ursula Mayer’s film wears a sequined dress that, with her movements and the play of light and shadow, becomes a shimmering, iridescent gown. As the choreography unfolds, her initial self-reflection in a mirror is shifted to the audience, which itself becomes part of the tableau vivant as the mirror reflects the light and short-circuits the space between the dancers, the camera, the projector and the spectators.