Music: The Great Fire

When Mary Wigman did her stark, muscular, barefoot dances before U.S. audiences in the early '30s, some of the irreverent wrote the exhibition off as prancing, lunging and posturing. But critics wrote respectfully of "a personal and spiritual force, concentrated, emanated, outflung." After 1933, like many another German artist, she was seldom seen and little noted by the rest of the world. Last week Mary Wigman, past 60 and vibrant as ever, turned up in Berlin to reopen her once-famed modern dance school.

She was voluble—and a little vague—about her twelve years under the Nazis. By her account, the years were a...