Sebastian Droste

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Sebastian Droste (1892-1927) was a poet, actor and dancer connected with the gay and underworld subcultures of Berlin in the 1920s. In 1922, Droste married expressionist exotic dancer and actress in German silent movies, Anita Berber. She and Droste performed fantasias with titles such as "Suicide," "Morphium," and "Mad House". Droste appeared as a dancer in the silent movie Algol (1920).

In 1923, Droste and Berber published a book of poetry, photographs, and drawings called Die Tänze des Lasters, des Grauens und der Ekstase (Dances of Vice, Horror, and Ecstasy), based on their performance of the same name. Full of Expressionist imagery, the book offers a glimpse into the angst and cynicism shadowing their artistic and personal existences.

Their marriage ended in 1923.


  • Capovilla, Andrea, "Anita Berber", Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. (New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 50-51
  • Toepfer, Karl Eric, Empire of Ecstasy: Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910-1935 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997)
  • Droste, Sebastian (& Berber, Anita), Dances of Vice, Horror, and Ecstasy (A full translation from the German by Merrill Cole) (Newcastle upon Tyne: Side Real Press 2012)