Anita Berber (Anita Berber)

Anita Berber

Dancer, Actress. She was the daughter of a classical violinist and a cabaret singer. She studied dance with Rita Sacchetto and founder of rhythmic gymnastics Emile Jacques-Dalcroze. She began dancing professionally in 1917. Between 1918 and 1925, she also appeared in more than 20 silent movies, including Richard Ostwald’s sex education films and his 1919 thriller Sinister Tales. She also had minor roles in Fritz Lang’s “Dr. Mabuse” films (1922). A pioneer of modern expressive dance, Berber was at first taken seriously as an artist, but soon became better known for her scandalous personal and professional life. Berber is probably the first performer to dance naked onstage. Berber’s cocaine addiction and bisexuality were matters of public chatter. In 1922, Berber married Sebastian Droste, a writer and dancer connected with the gay and underworld subcultures. She and Droste performed fantasias with titles such as “Suicide,” “Morphium,” and “Mad House.” In 1923, they published a book of poetry, photographs, and drawings called Die Tänze des Lasters, des Grauens und der Ekstase (Dances of Vice, Horror, and Ecstasy), based on their performance of the same name. In 1924, she married American dancer Henri Chatin-Hoffman. She toured Europe with him, continually generating tabloid reports of drug use and hotel orgies. After a tour of The Netherlands in 1926, she contrated tuberculosis and died in 1928.  (bio by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni)


  • June, 10, 1899


  • November, 11, 1928


  • St. Thomas Friedhof I
  • Berlin
  • Germany

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