The Dada group, founded by the Alsatian Hans Arp, the Rumanian Tristan Tzara, and the Germans Hugo Ball and Richard Hülsenbeck, first came into the public eye when, on the 8th of February, 1916, it opened an arts club in Zurich, called the Cabaret Voltaire, with a theatre stage and in exhibition and lecture hall. On March 30th Dada inaugurated the series of entertainments that so shocked the public. In the words of the Surrealist poet Georges Hugnet: 'On the stage someone thumped keys and bottles to make music until the audience, nearly crazy, protested. Serner, instead of reciting poems, laid a bouquet at the foot of a dressmaker's dummy. A voice from beneath an enormous hat shaped like a sugar-loaf declaimed Arp's poems. Hülsenbeck bellowed his poems, while Tzara emphasized the rhythms and crescendos by banging on a bass drum.'
A slim volume entitled Cabaret Voltaire, to which Apollinaire, Cendrars, Marinetti, Tzara and others contributed, was published in June of that year. A performance, which degenerated into a brawl, was put on in the Kaufleute Halle in 1919, before an audience of 1,500. About that time the Dada movement developed in Berlin, Cologne, Hanover and, finally, Paris.

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