Rhythmographik (Tanznotenschrift)

als Grundlage zum Selbststudium des Tanzes. Bearbeitet von Fritz Böhme. Mit acht tafeln.

Leipzig: Druck und Verlag von Breitkopf & Härtel, 1919 Stock Code: 124929

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First edition, number 72 of 150 deluxe copies on handmade paper, this copy signed by Desmond after the preface. Berlin dancer and model Olga Desmond (1890-1964) shot to fame when she took her Schönheitsabende ("Beauty-Evenings"), in which she and her troupe struck classical poses in the nude or wearing only bodypaint, to the Russian stage in St Petersburg. Met with public outrage and accused of "seduction", Desmond defended her performances to the press: "Call it daring or bold, or however you want... but this requires art, and it is my only deity, before whom I bow and for which I am prepared to make all possible sacrifices. I decided to break the centuries-old heavy chains, created by people themselves. When I go out on stage completely naked, I am not ashamed, I am not embarrassed, because I come out before the public just as I am, loving all that is beautiful and graceful." Nonetheless the nude show was banned from St Petersburg, and Desmond returned to Berlin where a similar public outcry following a 1909 appearance in the Wintergarten secured her succès de scandale. Cosmetic products bore Olga Desmond's name, and she took numerous nude dance tours around Germany. During the war years she branched out into film and theatrical performances, but afterwards devoted herself primarily to teaching dance, as represented by this handsomely produced publication on dance notation. Hertha Feist (1896-1990) was one of Desmond's most notable students. This copy has a contemporary ink ownership stamp of a "Margot Niendorf, Dipl.-Gymnastiklebrerin, Burg b. M., Bahnhofstr. 25", perhaps one of her students, with a photographic post card laid in showing four young female dancers posing in a dance frieze, captioned on the rear in manuscript and dated 1929.

The works is very scarce indeed, with WorldCat showing 14 copies (none mentioning the deluxe issue, or a signature) in institutions worldwide, and none recorded at auction.

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Small oblong octavo. Original boards, silver crepe paper spine, brown patterned paper sides with Desmond facsimile signature blind stamped to front, gilt patterned endpapers.


Photographic nude portrait frontispiece of Desmond by C. Oertel, vignette illustrative initials and terminals incorporating nude figures, eight printed dance notation cards held in rear pocket.


Paper lightly chipped to spine, light rubbing to corners, some mild spotting within, but generally excellent condition for this scarce survival.


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