At the age of 15 behind her father's back Leni Riefenstahl started secretly taking dancing hours at the Grimm-Reiter School where Anita Berber studied dancing.
When Leni stood in for Anita at a pupils' performance in the Berlin Blüthner Hall with great success, her father learned about it. There was a big row. Leni was taken to a boarding school in the Harz. The dream of becoming a dancer was over. The father threatened with a divorce if Leni would take dancing hours after all with the support of her mother. However, Leni's will to become a dancer had been stronger. She continued studying secretly.
As a compromise, her father enrolled her at the painting academy in the Crown Prince Palace for she had a talent for drawing and painting. After a hard fight, she succeeded to persuade her father to whom dancing or acting had been something »dubious and inferior«. Now, much too late, at the age of 19 she started a ballet study with the Russian prima ballerina Eduardova. In order to keep up she had to make up for lost years of dancing studies, i.e. she had been working like a woman possessed. Apart from the ballet hours, she even studied modern dancing with Mary Wigman and Jutta Klamt.
Already after two years she gave her first dancing performance at the Munich music hall, a few days later followed by a performance in the Berlin Blüthner Hall - Leni became famous over night. Discovered by Max Reinhardt she was the first dancer to dance alone on the stage of his Deutsches Theater for one week on every night - a sensation. Over 70 dancing performances followed on all great stages in Europe, until during a split jump she hurt her knee so severely that her dancing career had to end too early. After an operation of the meniscus, she started her career as an actress.

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Leni Riefenstahl Produktion

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