Loïe Fuller – The Electric Sprite

Short film Animadok, 16 min., 2022

This animated documentary film tells the story of the serpentine dancer Loïe Fuller (1862 – 1928): dancer, inventor, pop icon of Art Nouveau, innovator of stage technology, businesswoman, filmmaker, empresaria. Numerous photographic and film documents, drawings and animations reconstruct Loïe Fuller’s life and work around 1900 and show the audience’s enthusiasm for her barely documented stage performances.



By loading the video, you agree to Vimeo's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

A documentary of Loïe Fuller told in the same abstract, Art Nouveau aesthetic that Fuller was famous for. As a pioneer of visual effects and modern dance, what emerges is the story of a woman whose innovations played into the early history of cinema.

Amanda Barbour in the catalogue for Tricky Women/Tricky Realities 2022

Loïe Fuller. The Electric Sprite

It turns out that the word stringent is reminiscent of a string, on which thought is lined up in separate beads. All other etymologies are lies. The distance between the beads can be very large, so that our thinking has time to forget itself.

Uljana Wolf
„Etymologischer Gossip. Essays und Reden“, kookbooks Verlag, Berlin, 2021

Tracking down an exceptional character – one who had been forgotten for decades – Betina Kuntzsch’s film reawakens the magic of Loïe Fuller as well as her shimmering audacity. Because her “Serpentine Dance” was not magic, even at the fin de siècle. The mesmerising choreographies were based on years of experimentation with phosphorus, crystals and textiles, as well as the optical and technical stage innovations with which she created the perfect illusion: anticipating the immersive space and the dematerialised, virtual body at the end of the 19th century.


The date is 5th December 1892,

Mehr anzeigen

Video stills


Speaker: Merrily Jones, Betina Kuntzsch
Sprachaufnahme: Christian Riegel, Urs Hauck
Sound Design: Michael Walz
Sound Mix: Christian Riegel
Film Transfer: Kornmanufaktur
Subtitles: subs
Dramaturgy: Christina Schmidt
Music: Joachim Gies
Written, directed, animated by Betina Kuntzsch

Loie Fuller, Julius Meier-Gräfe, Silvia Beach, Georges Rodenbach, Stéphane Mallarmé, Maid Marian, Arsène Alexander, Leo Claretie

Archiv Material:
BPK, Deutsche Kinemathek Berlin, Maryhill Museum of Art, New York Public Library/Dance Division, Pathé Geaumont, Spielzeugmuseum Nürnberg, Stadtmuseum Berlin, www.boudoir-cards.de, www.toverlantaarn.eu, Archiv Betina Kuntzsch

Film material from “Le Lys de la Vie” (1920) in Cooperation with CND Centre national de la danse

Thanks to:
Virginie Aubry, Anna Goodwin, Ines Hahn, Phil Karg, Martin Koerber, Rudolf Krönke, Dr. Urs Latus


Tricky Women, Vienna, 2022

Master of Art Film Festival, Sofia, 2022

Curtas Vila do Conde, 2022

TanzAhoi! Hamburg, 2022

pocketfestival for shorts, Aachen, 2022

Festival Internazionale di Cinema e Donne-Firenze, 2023

35th Internationales Film Festival Dresden, 2023 (LUCA Filmpreis)

Rising of Lusitania, Szczecin, 2024

Awards & Prizes

Deutsche Film und Medienbewertung:
Prädikat besonders wertvoll – FBW-Rating ‟Special Commendation”

“I was born in America – but made in Paris.” Loïe Fuller once said that about herself. The charismatic and multi-talented woman invented and perfected the so-called “serpentine dance” at the end of the 19th century and thrilled her audience with it. But Fuller was not satisfied with the role as a dancer. She patented her inventions, taught her art to other girls and women, organised tours for other artists and arranged performances of all kinds. All this together with her partner Gab Sorère. In her animated documentary, filmmaker and artist Betina Kuntzsch focuses on this extraordinary creative and lets her life and work fan out in a unique rush of images. Kuntzsch’s animation, the rhythmic montage and the accompanying music turn the carefully composed historical footage into a constantly changing kaleidoscope of impressions. And in its cinematic style, it could hardly better imitate Fuller’s legendary dance itself, in which light and movement, powerful and flowing movements unite. To a Gesamtkunstwerk that respectfully bows to the great artist Loïe Fuller and celebrates her extraordinary life as an independent and emancipated woman.

Deutsche Film- und Medienbewertung. FBW, 2022


35. International Filmfest Dresden:
LUCA GenderDiversity Film Award

We honour a multi-voiced and electrifying film that blends historical footage with animation and evocative music to portray a queer pioneer of visual art and her relationship with another woman: Loïe Fuller and Gab Sorère. Together, they popularised the Serpentine Dance in the United States and Europe during the 19th century. This archaeologically inspired film simultaneously offers a critical perspective on the prevailing history of film, which is also a history of exploitation and forgetting. In this history, the names of the Lumière brothers naturally occupy a place alongside concepts such as “cinema” or “Serpentine Dance”, while the names of female visionaries who shaped this art are often missing.
The filmmaker we honour is also a versatile, interdisciplinary artist whose work is a patchwork of materials and artistic approaches. Through her own creations and those of Loïe Fuller, whom she brings back to our memory, she demonstrates that queer art transcends shallow identity attributions – that it crosses boundaries of storytelling, gaze and image to create new perspectives on history and ultimately on our present.

Sponsors: LAG Jungen- und Männerarbeit Sachsen, Genderkompetenzzentrum Sachsen, LAG Queeres Netzwerk Sachsen