Der Schwingende Tempel (1922) sets out to present a radical form of dance theatre that prioritises the creativity of the performers in a time when impoverished ballet was the norm. A deeply spiritual work made at a time of post WW1, it presents a struggle for the individual temperament in a time of dehumanisation. Influenced by Laban's Rosicrucian belief and Expressionism, this hopeful work contrasts with his satires critiquing the decadence of the culture of the Weimar interwar years seen in Night (1927) and Green Clowns (1928).
This documentary follows the first recreation of The Swinging Temple with dancers from Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance during 2012. Dr. Valerie Preston-Dunlop, a leading authority on Laban's life and work, discusses with historian Martin Hargreaves the process of refinding a 'lost' dance and the preparations made with rehearsal director Melanie Clarke and composer Robert Coleridge for their practical recreation of the work.
The DVD contains the documentary (35 minutes) and the first performance (23 minutes). Since The Swinging Temple 2013 is made with the same choreographic processes used by Rudolf Laban in 1922 but with today's professionally trained dancers for 21st century spectators, possibilities for a fresh form of engagement with dance as a dynamic heritage is presented. The DVD is thus an invaluable teaching tool for study in the performing arts.