Group Motion began in Philadelphia in 1968 as a contemporary modern dance organization, pioneering the art form of multi-media dance theater. Originally founded in Berlin in 1962 by Brigitta Herrmann, Hellmut Gottschild and Katharina Sehnert as a chamber dance company evolving from the Mary Wigman School of Dance, Gruppe Motion Berlin was one of the very few modern dance companies in Germany at the time, performing throughout the country and Europe. The company was joined by Manfred Fischbeck in 1967 for the creation of Countdown for Orpheus, their first multi-media production. In 1968, under the direction of Brigitta Herrmann, Helmut Gottschild, and Manfred Fischbeck, the company relocated to Philadelphia under the name of Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater and quickly received critical recognition by performing their work at Judson Church in New York in 1968, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 1969, as well as joining the National Endowment for the Arts touring program in the 1970s. Gottschild left the company in 1971 to found Zero Moving Company, while Fischbeck and Herrmann continued as co-directors. In 1972, Herrmann and Fischbeck created the Group Motion Workshop, an outgrowth of their work with Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater. This acclaimed workshop has since toured nationally and abroad, traveling through Germany, France, Argentina, Barbados and Japan, in addition to being held every Friday night at the Community Education Center in West Philadelphia.
Group Motion is one of Philadelphia’s longest running contemporary dance organizations supporting a locally, nationally and internationally-respected dance company. They have continued to hold their place in the forefront of contemporary dance and dance theater, creating a substantial body of over 50 works and performing and touring nationally and internationally. Group Motion also has a long history of collaboration with prominent international artists, including choreographers Carol Brown (New Zealand), Kenshi Nohmi and Akiko Kitamura (Japan), Oscar Araiz (Argentina), Wally Cardona (NYC), Rennie Harris (Philadelphia), Silvana Cardell (Philadelphia/Buenos Aires), Kun Yang Lin (Philadelphia), composers Phil Kline (New York), Andrea Clearfield (Philadelphia), Peter Price (Philadelphia), Tim Motzer (Philadelphia) and visual artists Peter Rose (Philadelphia), Joseph Wong (China), Tobin Rothlein (Philadelphia) and Quintan Ana Wikswo (New York). The company began a world-wide touring program in the mid-1970’s and has since taken its repertory to France, Argentina, Germany, Japan, Cyprus, Taiwan, Poland and Lithuania.