To return once more to the visual arts and their occultism-inspired engagement with vibration: if some painters were driven by the belief in the “clairvoyant” potential of art to make visible the invisible, Wigman relates the vibrato not to an urge to see, but to sense more, approaching this sensing in a thoroughly embodied (and less metaphorical) fashion than Laban. When her interview partner suggests that the contained bouncing may have something to do with the wish to transcend gravity despite her injury, she speaks instead of “[a]n ever increasing sensitivity down to the fingertips, to the tip of the nose, everywhere ...”. Wigman pupil Hanya Holm describes the acquisition of the movement quality as extensive kinesthetic exercise: We found the answer to it while sitting on a sofa a whole night, with the springs helping us to bounce back. Then, on our feet without any outward help, the demands of the momentum carried us gradually further until the repetition of the movement finally broke down any mental opposition, and vibration became a true experience for us.
Documents and testimonies show that the vibrato entered Wigman’s teaching, and also her choreographies, for instance the 1926 version of Witch Dance, where it seems to have occurred during the second half. Rudolf Bach describes a “sustained tremor”, “flapping” of fingers, and “wild shaking” of the arms. Around the same time, Böhme calls Wigman’s dances a “world of movement born out of inner vibration”. Vibrato also makes striking later appearances, most prominently in Wigman’s 1957 production of Le Sacre du printemps, which includes powerful sequences of a seated type of bouncing. The choreographer might have taken her cues here from the original 1913 version of Sacre by Vaslav Nijinsky, who famously, and for the first time in the history of Western concert dance, put vibrating bodies on stage. A brief excursus on Nijinsky’s vibrations provides a foil for further carving out the specificities of Wigman’s vibrato.