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January 2022

Healthy motion - Images of ''natural'' and ''cultured'' movement in early twentieth-century Britain

Journal/Book: Women Stud Int Forum. 1996; 19: The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England OX5 1GB. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 551-565.

Abstract: ''Physical culture'' became an issue for the individual and ''the nation'' in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s. Programmes of movement promised physical and mental integration, increasing health and efficiency. The State had taken responsibility for educating for self-discipline by placing physical training (PT) on the school curriculum. Private associations devoted to dance for health and ''aesthetic'' reasons attracted numerous women. Two of their leaders, Margaret Morris and Prunella Stack, became members of the Government's ''National Fitness Campaign'' (1937). Within the concern for ''fitness'' were fears of another war. At another level, notions of the loss of ''nature'' through ''civilisation'' were used through representations of healthy motion by ''the native'' or ''the ancient Greek.'' The fundamental responsibility for women was the health of the nation from the cradle, with dance seen as the path to health. Using a post colonial framework we may analyse these as specifically British ideas about the body and movement.

Note: Article R Power, Open Univ, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, Bucks, England


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