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Research Essay: LENI RIEFENSTAHL

a. Outline the life of the personality you have studied

The German actor, filmmaker and Nazi associate, Leni Riefenstahl, has stirred one of the greatest controversies of modern times. Seen as either a Nazi propagandist or a pioneering artist of great ingenuity, the discussion regarding Riefenstahl is still a prevalent issue in today’s world.

Born into a financially stable family on 22nd August 1902, Riefenstahl was reasonably sheltered from Germany’s economic and political unrest up until as well as after WWI. As a child, she was extremely passionate about dance and the theatre. Wanting to dance on stage, although acceptable to Leni’s mother, was seen as below their social status by her father. Throughout Leni’s adolescence, she caused a continuous rift between the family, as her enthusiasm for the arts never declined, leading to her secret enrolment in the Grimm-Reiter Dance School in Berlin in 1918, as well as agreeing to work as a secretary for her father’s company in order to gain his later approval for dance lessons in 1920. After being persuaded by Leni’s mother, he enrolled her in the Jutta Klamt School where Leni studied under the ballerina Eugenie Euardova.

Riefenstahl’s career in dance began in October 1923 and was abruptly ended in June 1924. She performed her first solo performance at the age of 21 and received positive reviews. During her second recital she caught the interest of Max Reinhardt, a leading theatrical director, whom immediately proposed a contract entailing her to perform at several of his theatres. Rising in popularity, Leni soon began dancing in the major cities of Europe and was earning a considerable wage, in spite of the hyper-inflation crisis of 1923. She become immersed in her work and was considered a workaholic. In June the following year, Riefenstahl fell during a performance in Prague…...

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