Hilde Holger

Hilde Sofer Holger’s choreography incorporated her interest in religion, politics, and the natural world, and provoked important discussions about the role of dance in the public sphere. Holger began studying at the Academy for Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna in 1919, and just two years later, at age sixteen, she became the assistant of modern-dance pioneer Gertrud Bodenwieser and helped her mentor establish the Bodenwieser Group. In 1926 she left the Bodenwieser Group to establish the New School for Movement Art, where she created numerous Jewish and political dance works including Four Pictures from the Time of the Paris Commune in 1927 and Ahasuerus in 1936. In 1939 she fled Vienna for Bombay, where she worked as a therapeutic masseuse and solo dancer before becoming a dance school director in 1945. But in 1948, upset by growing tensions between Hindus and Muslims, she moved to London. There, in 1951, she created Under the Sea, a work performed in a church that generated debate about the use of churches as performance spaces. When her son was born with Down syndrome, she began teaching dance to people with the same disability and composed the revolutionary Towards the Light in 1969 for this cadre of dancers. In all, she created almost 150 works, and continued her career into her 90s.

Topics: Activism, Dance

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Dancer Hilde Holger holding a mask, 1925. Photo by Josef Anton Trcka.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Hilde Holger." (Viewed on January 27, 2020) <https://qa.jwa.org/people/holger-hilde>.


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