Movement Education: Its Evolution and a Modern Approach

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Re: Movement Education: Its Evolution and a Modern Approach

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4. German Interpretations and Methods


The philosophies and revolutionary ideas of the pioneers of natural movement gave rise to revolts against existing physical education practices in the first decade of the twentieth century. Progressive women who were involved in art education, the emancipation of women, and the youth movement in Germany developed a new approach to physical education called "gymnastik."

Early in the century, Mensendieck propagated her scientific approach to gymnastics, and started teacher training courses in Germany, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries. In 1910, the German Mensendieck Bund was formed under the leadership of Hedwig Hagemann, who was the director of the Mensendieck school in Hamburg. [1] When Mensendieck returned to Germany from the United States where she had spent the years of the First Worid War, she found, to her dismay, that her graduates' personal interpretations had brought about changes in her method. A cleavage developed between those graduates who adhered strictly to her static exercises and those who had developed freer and more expressive movements in space. Three groups of Mensendieck graduates formed societies [i] to develop their respective approaches. One of these, a society for "applied and free movement," was formed in Munich under the leadership of Dorothee Gunther, a colleague of Hedwig Hagemann.

Concurrently, the Duncan influence of natural movement continued and won many followers. Sponsored by important patrons, a dance school which Isadora founded in Germany in 1904 was directed by her sister, Elizabeth Duncan (1874-1948). Gymnastics, music, drawing, and dancing were taught, and the Duncan method contributed greatly to the art of movement. Elizabeth Duncan was later assisted in her work by the Austrian teacher Max Merz, [2] and, after changing locations several times in Germany, the school finally moved to Austria, It was a worthwhile enterprise for the dance education of children, but the Duncan influence declined as new approaches to movement education evolved.

A significant contribution to movement education in these years was the teaching of Hedwig Kallmeyer-Simon, born in 1884 in Stuttgart. Kallmeyer went to London in 1905 to study calisthenics, and then to New York in 1906 to continue her training at Genevieve Stebbins' School of Expression. After her return to Germany, she opened a school of harmonic gymnastics in Berlin and introduced the Stebbins method into Germany. [3] Her book, published in 1910, compared the traditional physical education with the new methods coming from Delsarte's work in France and with those of MacKaye-Stebbins in New York. [4]

Among the first students of the Kallmeyer school were Elsa Gindler, Dora Menzler, Gertrude von Hollander-Markus, and Hedwig von Rohden, All of these young women later became important leaders in the field of movement education. In the 1920's, Hedwig Kallmeyer developed a new approach to gymnastics, an approach which stressed breathing and relaxation for health and bodily efficiency in life and work.

Kallmeyer's disciple Elsa Gindler (1885-1961) was a teacher who was deeply influenced by the changing philosophies of the early twentieth century. Desiring to help the individual to live more effectively, she used movement to develop both mental and spiritual capacities. Gindler collaborated with the music teacher and psychologist Heinrich Jacoby, who maintained, on the basis of experiments, that the development of musical capacities depended mainly upon conquering inhibitions.

Basing her work on the same principles and on scientific research in gymnastics, Gindler led her students to experiment with movement and to become aware of the disturbing effect of wrong movement habits on body behavior. Her intellectual approach attracted, in particular, intellectual adults, men and women, who attended her evening classes for both physical and spiritual self-improvement. [5] Elsa Gindler also trained many dedicated teachers who promoted her teachings in various countries. She was assisted in her work by Gertrude von Hollander-Markus, and one of Gindler's graduates, Sophie Ludwig, continues her methods today in Berlin.

In the second decade of the twentieth century, new impulses arising from the classic tradition, music education, and the training of dancers influenced gymnastic movement. New methods of movement education evolved and new private experimental schools were established.


In a private college at Kassel, courses were started in 1911 by two teachers, Hedwig von Rohden and Louise Langgaard. Hedwig von Rohden, born in 1890, had participated in the youth movement and was a graduate of the Kallmeyer school. Louise Langgaard, born in 1883, was an artist, a teacher of drawing, and a graduate of the Mensendieck school. Stimulated by the spiritual ideas of Dr. Rudolf Steiner, [ii] they created an approach which incorporated the ideas of the youth movement, art education, static and dynamic gymnastics, in a system called "classical gymnastics."

At the time of the First World War, the school left Kassel and continued in other places in Germany. After the war, Mrs. Langgaard found a large rural property on the slope of the Rhoen Mountains, near Fulda, and here the school assumed a new name, the "Loheland School For Gymnastics, Agriculture and Handicraft." In a humorous introduction to a recent publication, Mrs. Langgaard tells how this rural site, without houses or any appearance of culture, became a school with buildings, workshops, gardens, farmland, and forest. [6] Growing its own food, producing its own textiles in its workshops, the Loheland School stressed from the beginning simplicity and community life linked with spiritual and artistic movement experiences.

The Loheland School, which is still in existence, flourished in the 1920's, went through a period of danger and struggle during the Nazi period, and was reconstructed after the Second World War. Mrs. von Rohden left the school in the thirties because she could not endure the pressures of the National Socialist Party and Mrs. Langgaard carried on alone. Graduates of Loheland are teaching in educational and cultural organizations all over the world. Presently, the Loheland School is an educational establishment which, in addition to teacher training, serves as a private boarding school for children of six to fifteen years of age, and as a school where girls from fifteen to eighteen can continue their education before starting professional training. It offers summer courses for children, youth, and adults, as well as in-service courses for teachers.

The Loheland method is based on the theory that an education in movement and rhythm must encompass the entire human being in his physical, emotional, and intellectual individuality, because movement is the manifestation of man's whole self. [7] The method stresses the elimination of inhibitions which hamper the free flow of natural whole-body movement and the development of central breathing. The two-and-a-half-year course of study covers all phases of movement in connection with music, motion plays, and plastic arts.

Another stimulus to gymnastic education in the second decade of the century came from music, and in particular from the work of Jaques-Dalcroze. Both the Bode School in Munich and the Hellerau- Laxenburg School in Austria had their roots in the work of the Dalcroze Institute at Hellerau.


Rudolf Bode, who was born in 1881 at Kiel, was a student of music and a Dalcroze graduate. In 1911, he completed his study of music at Leipzig and worked as an assistant teacher in the summer school of the Dalcroze Institute at Hellerau. Bode objected to Dalcroze's interpretation of rhythm as primarily a musical factor, although he acknowledged Dalcroze's method of developing musical sensitivity through natural body movement. After leaving Hellerau, he established in Munich his own school for teachers of gymnastics, music, and dance. This school, founded in 1911, is still directed by Rudolf Bode and by Elly Bode, his wife.

Bode's theory of rhythmical gymnastics was basically influenced by the teaching of Pestalozzi that "nature produces the child as an individual whole, as an organic unity with manifold capacities of heart, mind and body." [8] His belief was that free and natural movement is more vital in its expression than artificial exercises, and that an education in movement should not suppress but develop original movement. "The task of Physical Education," he wrote, "is the maintenance of the organic unity of life and the natural rhythm of the life movement against the opposing powers inimical to life through their mental and mechanical alms, internally and externally." [9]

'With regard to Dalcroze's interpretation of rhythm, Bode maintained that Dalcroze and some of his followers adhered too closely to the measure and beat of the music. Bode gave numerous demonstrations and lectures, and he wrote repeatedly that movement is the basis of rhythm and the fundamental force in movement education, in human development, and in culture. Music, he claimed, is the force which stimulates the free flow of movement and expression. Explaining the relationship of music and movement, Bode wrote: "One can use music and then find the corresponding movements or one can invent movements and find the flow of matching music. It is not only the matching music that is important but also the vibration of the melodic progression which can only be understood through sound. You cannot only emphasize the beat of music, but you must also be aware of the sustaining flow of melody." [10]

Bode calls an "organic" movement one which, in an harmonious way, makes use of all pertinent powers of energy, whether they are emotional, nervous, or muscular energy, or the power of gravity. He emphasized the swinging quality of human motion; he stressed relaxation, rhythm and elasticity in movements which involve the whole body. In writing about science and life, Bode states that an anatomical and physiological approach to an education in movement is designed for the improvement of mechanical action; but natural movement involves the whole organism. Methods which are based on science alone, he states, will not develop expressive and aesthetic qualities since organic movement is based on the interdependence of the organic systems and the "Gestalt" quality of the living body. "The optimum development of the body," he writes, may be reached not "by exercises invented for specific organs," but by the benefits to the organs derived "from a freedom of movement of the whole body." [11]

Bode maintains that human movement has a rhythm of its own. This rhythm is consistent with the organic rhythm of the inner life and it appears in the flow of movements. Willed movements, which are directed by the mind, and movements which have mechanical aims interfere with the organic rhythm of life. Bode's goal was "to preserve the organic compactness of life's powers and the original rhythm of life's movement ... " [12]

It was Bode's conviction that rhythmical gymnastics are an art of expression of body, mind, and soul in rhythmical movement, and that gymnastics have the same possibilities for artistic expression as any other art. He desired to effect a spiritual union of the arts in culture and in education and he sought his inspiration in the youth movement, in the folklore of music and dance, in home music, and in amateur theatricals. His philosophy of the interrelation of movement and the arts, and the significance of this commutuality for personality development, culture, and education, enriched rhythmical gymnastics. The Bode Bund, an association of graduates of the Bode School, extended and spread internationally the basic theories of this pioneer of movement and rhythmic education.


In 1914, Jaques-Dalcroze, who had signed an international document protesting the German government's policies in the First World War, had to leave Germany. He then returned to Geneva and his work at Hellerau was continued by several of his graduates including Mrs. Christine Baer-Frissell (1886-1932), an American-born musician who had been educated in Europe. In 1919, Mrs. Baer-Frissell took over the school in association with her Dalcroze schoolmates, Valerie Kratina, a noted German dancer, Ernest Ferand, a Hungarian musician, and his wife, an artist. In 1925, when the school moved to the Laxenburg Castle, Vienna, it was named the Hellerau-Laxenburg School. In 1921, Mrs. Baer-Frissell established a separate department of body training, which was directed by Jarmila Kroeschlova, a Czechoslovakian dancer who was both a Dalcroze and a Mensendieck graduate. [13]

These developments led to a number of changes, and the Hellerau-Laxenburg method followed a new course. Movement education became an integral part of the school's curriculum, and studies of natural movement brought about a better understanding of body rhythm. The Greek style of movement and the Greek attire, which characterized movement and dance in the early twentieth century, were abandoned as the concept of natural move· ment and natural body rhythm evolved .. An aware· ness of the dynamic and space elements in move· ment was stressed; and the detailed interpretation of musical time-patterns was eliminated when it was found to conflict with the natural rhythm of movement. Many of the strictly metrical Dalcroze exercises were modified, and the conducting movements became freer. Furthermore, rather than conducting only with the arms, the leader would often express musical thought by free dance movements of the whole body. Percussion instruments were often used exclusively, and sometimes music would be omitted altogether and leader and follower would improvise by movement alone. [14]

Another significant development was Rosalia Chladek's and Marianne Pontan's formulation of basic principles of body training. [15] These two Hellerau-Laxenburg graduates, who were students of Kroeschlova, systematized theories and materials and defined the Hellerau-Laxenburg method of movement education. The aim of the method was to develop good posture and effective, coordinated, natural movement. An understanding of anatomy and body mechanics was stressed and movement was taught as an action of the total organism. Elimination of physical and mental tensions, a feeling for the flow of motion and for the body's relationship to space were emphasized. The students were encouraged to explore their innate movement capacities and to create movements in their own natural rhythm. A term "body intelligence" was used to imply the individual's capacity for consciously directing movement and for exploring cause and effect of movement in its relation to energy, space, and time.

The body training was organized into loosening and constructive exercises and the study of movement. The purpose of the loosening work was to eliminate undue tensions through relaxation in order to develop ease of motion and natural mobility. The aim of the constructive work was to develop coordination of the different body parts, keener body awareness, elasticity, balance, and finer skills in whole body movement. In the study of movement, an awareness of basic movement factors was developed. Body structure, gravity, body energy, dynamics, time, and flow were studied, and their effect on body movement in space was explored by teacher and student. [16]

The Hellerau-Laxenburg School offered professional training in gymnastics, eurhythmics, dance education, and also in the dance as a performing art. Over the years a large number of teachers and dancers of different nationalities were graduated, and today they are dispersed all over the globe. Shortly after the Austrian "Anschluss," the Laxenburg Castle was occupied by German troops, and in 1939 the school was closed. A movement training which evolved from the Hellerau-Laxenburg method continues today in the dance department of the Academy of Music and the Performing Arts, Vienna, under the direction of Rosalia Chladek, and in its eurhythmics department, directed by Brigitte Mueller, a Hellerau-Laxenburg graduate who was Mrs. Baer-Frissell's successor at the Laxenburg School.

Movement education was greatly influenced by revolutionary developments in the art of dance. The natural dance of Isadora Duncan, and Laban's analytical approach to movement and nonverbal communication, marked the beginning of the contemporary dance. New philosophies and exercises for the training of dancers appeared. These exercises bore some resemblance to gymnastic movements although they differed in purpose. While the aim of the dance exercises was to develop the body as an instrument of expression, the goal of the gymnastic exercises was to develop the ability for natural, free, flowing movement. The Laban schools in various cities were attended by numerous students who, in turn, opened their own schools. Laban published his basic philosophy in The World of the Dancer [17] in 1920, and he added two books on gymnastics in 1926. [18] His approach had an international impact on movement education.


The years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) were the grand time of the new German gymnastics. An important conference on "Creative Methods of Physical Education" was held in 1922 at the State College of Music at Berlin. The program included lectures by famous experts in health, education, music, and the arts, and also demonstrations by groups from the schools of Bode, Duncan, Hagemann, Hellerau, Laban, and Loheland. [19] Widely attended by representatives of the youth movement and teachers of gymnastics, the conference gave a strong impetus to the progress of the new develop· ments in gymnastics.


Subsequent negotiations with leading organizations of turnen and sports for the recognition of the new gymnastics bore no results. Consequently, in 1925, the schools of gymnastics formed an organization of their own called the "Deutscher Gymnastik-Bund." Franz Hilker was elected president of the organization, and he also served as editor of the Bund's magazine, Gymnastik, which was published twice a month until 1933. The Gymnastik-Bund served somewhat like a voluntary accrediting organization. It prepared suggestions for teaching gymnastics and for training teachers, and it also established conditions for the enrollment of members. It aimed to foster and promote the new approach to gymnastics while still allowing freedom for the methodical differences between the various schools.

The original schools which joined in founding the Bund were Bode, Gindler, Kallmeyer, Loheland, Laban, and Mensendieck. Membership increased as other schools met standards for admission. For example, both the Hilda Senff and the Dora Menzler Schools were admitted in 1926.

Hilda Senff, a Dalcroze graduate, founded in 1911 the first branch of the Dalcroze Institute in Paris. In 1919, she opened her own teacher training institute for movement and music, the Rhythmical School Community, in Dusseldorf. [20] She continued her studies with Mary Wigman and at the school of breathing, Rothenburg, and became interested in the work of Elsa Gindler. Although her school was destroyed by bombs in the Second World War, Mrs. Senff continues her work today as a teacher of curative gymnastics.

Dora Menzler, born in 1879 at Jever, was a graduate of the Kallmeyer school. In 1918 she opened at Leipzig the Dora Menzler School, a training institute for teachers of movement. In her article "Aus meiner Arbeit," [21] she explains her principles of movement, which show the influence of Dalcroze, Bode, and Laban.

Initially, schools of dance were also members of the Deutscher Gymnastik-Bund, but in the early twenties it became evident that there was a marked difference between movement education and dance training. So schools which were primarily interested in the dance as a performing art eventually formed an organization of their own. The Deutscher Gymnastik- Bund reached its peak of development in 1930, when it included twelve hundred teachers and fourteen private teacher training institutions. With economic difficulties and political conflicts in the following years, its activities began to decline, and, when the Nazis rose to power, the Bund, like all other free organizations, was dissolved. Yet, in the few years of its existence, the Bund had a great influence on the evolution of movement education in Germany. Since the graduates of the private schools of gymnastics could qualify for teaching certificates through state examinations, the new movement education found its way into schools, conservatories, and other private and public institutions.


During these years of progress, many new private schools were opened as enthusiasm for the various approaches to natural movement gained momentum. It was in the 1920's that two internationally known schools were founded: the Medau School and the Gunther School. Both schools were members of the Deutscher Gymnastik-Bund.

The Medau School.

Hinrich Medau, born in 1890, was a teacher of music and physical education and a student of the Dalcroze method. A graduate of the Bode School of Gymnastics, he served as director of the Bode School in Berlin while furthering his academic education at the Universities of Berlin and Munich. In 1928 he gave courses in rhythmical gymnastics in the summer session at Teachers College, Columbia University, and in 1929 he opened his own school in Berlin, The Medau School of Rhythmical Movement. After the Second World War, the school was permanently located in Coburg, Bavaria, where it still exists today under the direction of Hinrich Medau and his wife, Senta. [22]

Medau created a movement education for girls and women which was natural and appropriate for the biological and psychological development of the female organism. His principles of exercise for women, presented in a speech at the second Ligymmfest in Saarbrucken in 1955, were based on experiments with various kinds of movement, and on comparative studies of the organic nature, capacities, and interests of men and women. He stated that a physical training for girls and women should fulfill three principles: health, beauty of fOfm and posture, and gracefulness. He said that the playful approach to movement is more important than competitive gymnastics and that biological findings indicate that women are in need of exercises which stress dynamics, circulation, breathing, and rhythm. [23]

The Medau method stresses movement which is "alive" rather than mechanical, and emphasizes "natural, whole-body movement with particular stress on rhythmical flow and dynamic quality of movement." [24] In good whole-body movement, the impulse comes from the center of the body and flows outward to the extremities. It has flow, is expressive, and it appears effortless and natural. "Medau Work" is planned to help the individual through a great variety of experiences to move with ease and coordination in walking, running, leaping, swinging, twisting, and "feathering," a German word for the springy resilience or the natural rebound in good movement. [25]

Medau uses simple music and folk themes for accompaniment to stimulate joy in moving, movement improvisation, and to develop ease of movement.  [26] He has also developed methods for the harmonizing of the body through breathing. Basing his exercises on the natural breathing processes, Medau has his pupils consciously perform deep breathing in different body positions [iii] in order to increase the pressure of blood and lymph circulation, and so enhance the action of the digestive and nervous systems, and to improve movement and posture.

The Medau School is particularly well known for its work with hand apparatus. Experimenting with balls, clubs, and hoops, Medau and his women associates discovered a wide variety of movement possibilities which would increase the scope and natural flow of movement and also improve posture. "Medau Work" with hand apparatus is widely used today in many countries. [27]

The Gunther School.

Dorothee Gunther, born in 1896, was a Mensendieck graduate who was also well acquainted with the Dalcroze and Laban approaches to movement. Educated in the arts, drama, music, and the dance, Mrs. Gunther created her own approach to gymnastics, rhythmics, music, and dance. To follow the Gunther method, a group of Mensendieck teachers who had separated from the Mensendieck Bund established the "Bundesschule" in Munich in 1924. There, teachers were trained in three separate branches: Mensendieck gymnastics, rhythmical movement education, and contemporary dance. In 1931, the Bundesschule became the Gunther School, and, through a merger with the Trumpey School in 1933, a second Gunther School was founded in Berlin. The Gunther Schools were closed by the National Socialist Party in 1944, and bombs destroyed the Munich branch in 1945. Neither school reopened after the war, but former members of the staff and graduates continue the Gunther method today in other institutions. [28]

The movement and dance education of the Gunther School was based on an approach to music and rhythm which had been developed by the composer Carl Orff and his associate, Gunild Keetman, both teachers at the Gunther School for many years. The Orff method of teaching rhythm and melody to children and adults is known as "Orff Schulwerk." It has won international recognition, and an institute sponsored by the Austrian government for the professional teaching of the Orff method was established after the Second World War in Salzburg. In the Orff method, primitive rhythms and natural movement responses to sounds, calls, poetry, and percussion instruments are used to develop a feeling for rhythm and melody. Tunable drums of different sizes, wood blocks, gongs, separable glockenspiels and xylophones, are manufactured as the "Orff instruments," and they are played in conjunction with recorders and other musical instruments. Student orchestras which evolved from this musical training provided the accompaniment for the Gunther School's gymnastic and dance demonstrations.  [29]

The Orff Schulwerk was a required course for all Gunther School students, and Mrs. Gunther, the head of the school, taught theory and method in all departments. Emphasizing the ever-changing flow and rhythm of movement, she regarded technique, not as an end in itself, but as a means for increasing the individual's capacity for expression and improvisation. Aware of the relation of movement to art, she developed sensitivity for the art of movement by having the students draw movement shapes and designs. She stressed "neatness of execution, unequivocal expression and rhythmics," body development, suppleness, control of strength, and creativity.  [30] Mrs. Gunther writes, "My basic idea was to lead the body-education to one entity of music and movement, to unfold and develop the capacity of experiencing rhythm, and therefore disclose an essential vital power to modern human beings." [31]

The dance department of the school was directed by the well known dance teacher, Maja Lex, who is presently teaching at the Deutsche Sporthochschule, Koln. Procedures in the approach to gymnastics and dance are similar, since both are based on the Orff music and movement training, and both emphasize movements improvised through carefully outlined projects in dynamics, time, space, and flow. Explaining this similarity, Dorothee Gunther stated that free movement is the basis for both gymnastics and dance, and the boundaries between these two activities are narrow and fluent. Gymnastics are more functional in purpose and the dance is more expressive in spirit. [32]


Controversies continued between the members of the turnen and sports organizations and the members of the Deutscher Gymnastik-Bund. The fact that both used the term "gymnastics" to define their exercises probably did not help to resolve their differences. While the gymnastics of the private experimental schools denoted an educational, artistic, and cultural activity, the turners continued their traditional methods of calisthenics and apparatus work. Since competition in these events was an important feature of the turner program, the movement education teachers regarded these activities as a sport.

Yet it is evident that early in the 1920's the new approaches to natural movement began to influence the free-standing exercises commonly practiced in the turnvereins. In the transition from rigid positions to flowing movement in calisthenics, Carl Loges (1887-1958) was undoubtedly the most prominent leader.

From his early youth, Carl Loges was identified with the German turners, first in Hanover, his home town, then in turner organizations in other parts of Germany. A student of both music and dance, he was also a highly skillful gymnast who won many competitions at home and abroad. Loges was graduated from the Physical Education Teachers College in Dresden in 1911, and early in his career he devoted himself to the reorganization and modernization o[ free-standing gymnastics for girls and women.

Loges developed a flowing movement technique [or women's rhythmical gymnastics, using some of Bode's ideas and Laban's dance movements [33] which he had studied with a pupil of Laban's. He created simple, natural movements and blended them with gymnastics and dance in harmonious and rhythmical compositions.

In 1921, Loges founded the Hanover Model Turn School, a turnverein gymnastic organization, and in it, over the years, he taught thousands of children, girls, women, and men his new approach to rhythmical gymnastics. In 1925, he founded his own private school for teachers, the Loges School for Movement Art, which was attended by many German and foreign teachers alike, both men and women. This school, destroyed during the Second World War, was reestablished shortly after the war at Wilhelmshaven, where it still continues under the direction of his son Helmut Loges and his daughter Ilse Speidel. [34]

Carl Loges was a leader in various turner societies in Germany and he became the national physical director for women of the German Turnverein. His influential position enabled Loges to revolutionize turnverein gymnastics. He gave numerous courses for turners and held many demonstrations of his artistic dance-gymnastics in Europe. In 1932, he gave a course of several weeks for the American turners at the summer camp of the Normal College of the American Gymnastic Union, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. When women's gymnastic events were scheduled for the first time at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, he was the coach of the German women's team. The German women won first place in gymnastics, largely because their movements were fluent, sensitive, and harmonious. His methods, however, were challenged by both the conservative turners who favored the conventional German gymnastics, and by the Deutscher Gymnastik-Bund which stressed movement education and objected to competitive gymnastic skills.

Since the time of Jahn, the aim of the turner movement was to reach all classes and all ages, and Carl Loges can well be recognized as the modern leader who continued the Jahn tradition in popularizing the new approach to calisthenics. The movements which he used came from many sources, but his gymnastic choreography was original and the movements were natural, flowing, and beautiful. His teaching greatly influenced both basic movement training and the style of choreography for "artistic gymnastics" which are used today in international competition.


When the National Socialist Party took over the government of Germany (1933-1945), drastic changes came about. Physical education was regarded as an important instrument for political training, and the Deutscher Gymnastik-Bund as well as other free organizations of physical education were dissolved. The private schools of gymnastics were closed and gymnastic teachers were forbidden to teach unless they complied with the racial and political policies of National Socialism. At the same time, physical education was reorganized and promoted as a state function. All private teachers of gymnastics were lumped together with teachers of turnen, sports, and dance in a state-controlled association, the "Reichsverband Deutscher Turn-, Sport- und Gymnastiklehrer." This organization was divided into two sections, one for turnen and sports, and the other for teachers of gymnastics and dance. Later, the dance teachers were incorporated in the Chamber of Arts and Theatre.

In an effort to unify the various approaches to movement education, the leader of the Reichsverband formed a committee of experienced teachers who worked out a plan which was published in 1935 as the "Lehrplan der Deutschen Gymnastik." [35] According to this report, the goal of German gymnastics was to develop the sense and capacity for movement. The work plan covered five divisions of movement which could be summarized briefly as fundamentals of movement, totality of movement, movements with objects called "tools," enrichment of movement, and creative forms of group movements such as motion plays, pageants, and folk dances. Instead of the approach to creative movement for individual expression, the new interpretation required that movement be considered as a natural common language in the development of community feeling. Thus, in dance, the folk dance was particularly emphasized as a joyful expression of community life.

Every teacher training institute was required to follow this new work plan. Individual development, which had been the goal of teachers of movement education, was lost and replaced by the new requirement of mass education in accordance with National Socialistic policy. Teacher training was controlled through state examinations, and in the approved schools movement education was combined with turnen and sport. [36]



At the beginning of the Nazi period, the private teacher training schools of gymnastics were allowed some degree of freedom, but this was eliminated when the regime got into political difficulties. The Second World War inhibited any progress in movement education, and one after another the schools were closed. In December 1949, a renaissance of movement education started when a conference on creative education was held at Fulda. Franz Hilker, Louise Langgaard, Hilda Senff, and other authorities on movement education were speakers on this occasion, and the conference was instrumental in establishing new principles of gymnastic education.

Although opposed by representatives of turnen and sport organizations, the principles of movement education were adopted by the teacher training institutes for physical education, and especially by those connected with universities. As an example of a pioneer school for higher education in physical education, the Deutsche Sporthochschule Koln may be cited.


The Deutsche Sporthochschule Koln was founded in 1920 in Berlin as the "Deutsche Hochschule fur Leibesubungen," a self-supporting institution for physical education in cooperation with the Friederich Wilhelm University. The idea of a four-year course for higher studies in physical education on the university level was first conceived by Carl Diem (1882-1962), a world figure internationally respected for his distinguished leadership in organizing and promoting physical education. [37] Basically opposed to the traditional over-stress on academic training, and to the rigidity of gymnastics at that time, the college supported a new trend in education which emphasized natural movement, play, sports, physical fitness, and outdoor living. [38] Physical training was closely linked with interdisciplinary studies in the natural and physical sciences, medicine, movement research, and therapy, and courses in every physical education activity were offered.

In 1933, the operation of the college, by then internationally known, was interrupted by political events. Dr. Diem and his wife, Professor Liselott Diem, were summarily dismissed by the National Socialist Party and the college existed, in name only, until 1935 when it was discontinued. Two years after the Second World War, with the help of British and American occupation authorities, the college reopened as a self-supporting institution in cooperation with the University of Cologne. After Dr. Diem's death in 1962, the institution became the Deutsche Sporthochschule Koln, the center of research and teacher training in sport and physical education in Germany. Presently, there are chairs of philosophy, psychology, pedagogy, methodology and didactics, history and methodology, physiology, cardiology and sports medicine, biomechanics, rehabilitation, and music pedagogy. A new law authorizing the Deutsche Sporthochschule to confer academic degrees is in process. [39] The institution is widely known for the breadth of its program, its scientific studies, research in every phase of physical education, and the development of new methods.

One of the outstanding contributions to physical education is Mrs. Diem's natural approach to teaching children to move effectively in all kinds of situations. Dr. Arthur H. Steinhaus, in the introduction to the English translation of her book Who Can, says that the philosophy underlying her method is "to discover the movement readiness characteristic of the child's stage of development," "to prepare the environment so that the child can without undue hazard exercise this readiness at will," and "to challenge the child with additional related tasks designed to ensure maximal diversification and development of this readiness." [40]

In her approach, Professor Diem presents movement tasks which are natural at the child's level of maturity, and the child explores movements freely in his own way. The teacher arranges learning situations and materials to bring about the desired movement responses. Simple equipment, such as balls, wands, ropes, boxes, benches, ladders, is used to develop a great variety of movements in individual, partner, and group work. The purpose of the movement tasks is to build a strong and flexible body, to develop movement skills, and a sense of balance.

The teacher challenges the child with questions, such as "who can do this?" "how can it be done differently?" and "why is one performance better than another?" By such questions and by suggesting different ways of performing the movement, the teacher guides the pupil in directing his own endeavors and in improving the quality of his movements. Children are encouraged to "play" with a movement, and to invent new ways of moving in order to broaden their movement experiences. [41]

In the movement education of older pupils, Professor Diem stresses the development of a keener awareness and analysis of how to use muscular force and how to move in time and space. Critical examination of performance, quality of movement, and the feeling of movement are emphasized. With a great variety of free and natural movements which pertain to the intended movement task, the pupils develop gradually both the natural ability to move, and specific techniques in tumbling, dancing, and athletics. Thus methods are developed for movement experiences which are natural but also purposeful, self-directed yet guided, orderly yet enjoyable.  [42] Professor Diem's "who can" method has been officially adopted in the Nordrhine-Westphalia elementary schools, and it is used in the schools of many other countries. [iv]


The survey of the pioneers' theories in Chapters 3 and 4 reveals the international scope of contributions to body training in movement and rhythm. Although Delsarte was French, his art of expression had a great influence in the United States and Europe. Jaques-Dalcroze, who developed music education through movement and achieved world renown, was Swiss. Laban, a Hungarian, started his movement studies in Germany, continued them in England, and had a world-wide influence on dance and movement education. Genevieve Stebbins, Isadora Duncan, Bess Mensendieck, and Christine Baer-Frissell were born in America but their teaching, first accepted in Europe, was spread through their students to many parts of the world. The Loges influence was particularly evident in wide reforms of turnverein gymnastics and in the free, natural movements of artistic gymnastic compositions. The Gunther and the Carl Orff methods, as well as Medau's particular approach to gymnastics with hand objects, are used today in many countries. The work of the Deutsche Sporthochschule has assumed international dimensions. A wealth of original ideas in movement education is currently developing through the creative work of dance teachers in the United States. In schools and colleges, in concert and theatre, disciples of the pioneer American modern dancers are advancing the modern dance both as a valuable movement education and as a performing art.

While the methods of the European pioneer schools of movement education varied, they all held certain basic principles in common:

l. A fundamental belief in the true value of natural movement and a violent opposition to the regimentation of the body.

2. A focus on the involvement of mind, body, and spirit in organic movement.

3. The recognition that movement education has a vital educational and artistic influence, and that it is of utmost importance for man's physical, mental, and emotional development.

4. Emphasis on the application of physical laws, and of biological and psychological principles in the teaching of movement.

5. Stress on the awareness of the genuine rhythm of the body and its relation to musical rhythm.

Although movement education cannot be regarded as one firmly established method, the contributions of these pioneers mark the beginning of the blending of the science of body mechanics, free expression, and the rhythm of movement. Developed further by their students and their students' students, an infinite variety of objectives and adaptations has evolved. It is difficult to speak of one general concept of movement education; however, there is a fundamental belief that movement is a powerful force in education, and that movement which is organic and dynamic; movement which is natural and emanates from the inner self-such movement is life.



i. Known as "bunds."

ii. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), founder of anthroposophy,  a metaphysical philosophy of the wisdom of man which  relates the spiritual in the human being to the spiritual  in the universe.
iii. A conclusion of Margaret C. Brown's observation is  that some positions resemble the asanas in Hatha Yoga.
iv.  Who Can is published in German, English) Spanish and  Japanese editions.

1. Franz Hilker, Reine Gymnastik (Berlin: Max Hesses Verlag, 1926), p. 44.

2. Max Merz, "Die Erneuerung des Lebens und Koerpergefuehls," Kunstlerische Korperschulung, ed. by Ludwig Pallat and Franz Hilker, n. p., Breslau, 1923.

3. Hedwig Kallmeyer, "Aus der Arbeit von Genevieve Stebbins," Gymnastik, publication of the Deutscher Gymnastik- Bund, I, 1926, pp. 74-83.

4. Hedwig Kallmeyer, Kunstlerische Gymnastik. Harmonische Korperkultur nach dem amerikanischen System Stebbins-Kallmeyer (Berlin: Kultur-Verlag, 1910).

5. Franz Hilker, "Dem Andenken Einer Grossen Padagogin, Bildung und Erziehung, XV, 1961, pp. 65-69.

6. Louise Langgaard, Bewegungsentfaltung und Menschenbildung (Loheland: Loheland-Verlag, 1968).

7. Franz Hilker, "Bewegung und Bildung," Bildung und Erziehung," XVI, 1963, pp. 1-19. In this article, Franz Hilker pays homage to Mrs. Langgaard on her eightieth birthday.

8. Rudolf Bode, Expression Gymnastics, trans. Sonya Forthal and Elizabeth Waterman (New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1931), pp. 16-17.

9. Ibid., p. 25.

10. Rudolf Bode, personal letter, July 26, 1964.

11. Bode, op. cit., p. 33.

12. Ludwig Mester, "Rudolf Bode's Lebenswerk," Magazine of the Bode Bund (Munich: The Bode School, August 1951). (Mimeographed.)

13. "Christine Baer-Frissell," Publication of the Hellerau- Laxenburg School No. 26 (an autobiography; Vienna, November 1934); Catalogue of the Hellerau-Laxenburg School, 1934, pp. 5-14. (Out of print.)

14. Elfriede Feudel, Rhythmik (Munich: Delphin Verlag, 1926), pp. 22-27.

15. Marianne Pontan, "Principles of Body Training," Publication of the Hellerau-Laxenburg School No. 2 (Vienna, 1929), pp. 1113-1129. (Out of print.)

16. Loc. cit. A graduate of the Hellerau-Laxenburg School, Betty K. Sommer was a student of Christine Baer- Frissell, Rosalia Chladek, and Marianne Pontan, and she also taught in the summer sessions of the school.

17. Rudolf von Laban, Die Welt des Tanzers: Funt Gedankenreigen (Stuttgart: Verlag Walter Seiffert, 1920).

18. Rudolf von Laban, Gymnastik und Tanz; also Des Kindes Gymnastik und Tanz (Oldenburg: Gerhard Stalling Verlag, 1926).

19. Franz Hilker, personal manuscript, September 13, 1968.

20. Hilda Senff, Ich oder Es?, Eine Ruckkehr zum Gesetz des Rhythmus (Dusseldorf: Verband Deutsche Frauenkultur e.V., 1960), p. 64.

21. Dora Menzler, "Aus meiner Arbeit," Die Schonheit deines Korpers (Stuttgart: Dieck &: Co., Verlag, 1924), pp. 26-31.

22. Catalogue of The Medau School, 1965.

23. Hinrich Medau, "Gedanken zu einer Leibeserziehung der Frau" (Coburg: The Medau School, 1955.) (Mimeographed.)

24. Molly Braithwaite, Medau Rhythmic Movement (London: n.p., 1955), p. 11. This book is available at The Ling Book Shop in London.

25. Hildegard Erbguth, "What is Feathering?" Medau Rhythmic Movement, pp. 52-54.

26. Hinrich Medau et al., Moderne Gymnastik (Celle, Germany: Verlag Pohl Druckerei und Verlagsanstalt, 1967), pp. 63-72, 85-91; Hinrich Medau, "'Organgymnastik': Posture, Respiration, Movement," The Adolescents of Today, Report of the Fifth International Congress on Physical Education and Sports for Girls and Women, Deutsche Sporthochschule Koln, August 1965 (Schorndorf bei Stuttgart: Verlag Karl Hoffman, 1966), pp. 157-158.

27. Hinrich Medau, "The Development of My Work," Medau Rhythmic Movement, pp. 18, 21-22. Medau work was observed by Margaret C. Brown at the Olympic Festival in Berlin 1936, the Olympic Festival in Helsinki 1952, and at the Congress of the International Association of Physical Education and Sports for Girls and Women, Koln 1965.

28. Catalogues of the Gunther School; correspondence and professional biography of Dorothee Gunther, January 2, 1966, and September 19, 1968. At the Olympic Festival in Berlin 1936, Mrs. Gunther directed the choreography for two displays in which 3500 children and 2500 young girls participated. These were observed by Margaret C. Brown who also visited the Gunther School in Berlin.

29. Loc. cit.

30. Announcement of the Gunther School, undated.

31. Dorothee Gunther, personal letter, January 1, 1966.

32. Dorothee Gunther, "Dance Education in Schools," The Adolescents of Today, p. 145.

33. Helmut Loges, questionnaire, December 30, 1964.

34. Loc. cit.

35. Published in Gymnastik und Tanz, ed. Reichsverband (Berlin: Wilhelm Limpert-Verlag, 1935), X, pp. 1-7.

36. Franz Hilker (ed.), "Die Gymnastischen Schulen in Deutschland," Gymnastik und Tanz (Olympic edition; Berlin: Wilhelm Limpert-Verlag), XI, August 1936, pp. 113-128. This article lists twenty-eight schools approved by the Reichsverband.

37. Deobold B. Van Dalen, Elmer D. Mitchell and Bruce L. Bennet, A World History of Physical Education (New York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1953), pp. 230-232; J. G. Dixon, "Prussia: Politics and Physical Education," in P. C. Mc- Intosh et al., op. cit., pp. 130-137; Philip Smithells, "In Memoriam," Journal of Health· Physical Education Recreation, XXXIV (Hune 1963), p. 64.

38. Carl Diem, Fundamental Principles of Physical Education (Berlin: Organizing Committee for the XI Olympiade, 1936), pp. 27-48.

39. Deutsche Sporthochschule Koln, Prospectus for the Summer Session, 1966, pp. 5-8; Liselott Diem, personal letter, August 1968.

40. Liselott Diem, Who Can, trans. Arthur Steinhaus (fourth edition; Frankfort M.: Wilhelm Limpert-Verlag, 1964), p. 4. Professor of methodology at the Sporthochschule, and 1965-1969 president of the International Association of Physical Education and Sports for Girls and Women, Mrs. Diem has given many international courses and demonstrations of her method.

41. Ibid., pp. 5-7.

42. Liselott Diem, "I am-I can-I will: Experiences through Movement," The Adolescents of Today, pp. 58- 65; questionnaire and printed materials, February 1966; personal observation.
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Re: Movement Education: Its Evolution and a Modern Approach

Postby admin » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:03 am

5. Effect of New Methods on School Programs

While gymnastic reforms were proceeding in Germany in the first quarter of the twentieth century, attempts to loosen the rigidity of artificial gymnastics were also going on in other Western countries. As a result, new progressive movement theories and practices found their way into school gymnastics for children, girls and women.


In the Scandinavian countries, where the Swedish Ling system was entrenched, the change from the rigid positions to natural movement in gymnastics for girls and women was due, primarily, to the pioneer work of Elli Bjorksten (1870-1947), a graduate of the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics, Stockholm, and teacher at the Gymnastic Institute of the University of Helsinki, Finland. Basing her work on Ling gymnastics and still maintaining the Swedish day's order, she yet created a feminine style of light continuous movements. Her aim was to achieve good posture, strength, and endurance through natural, joyful, and rhythmical movements, and she was the first teacher in Scandinavian countries to use music with gymnastics. [1] Although the movements were more fluent and rhythmical in quality, her exercises were isolated motions of different body sections rather than dynamic whole-body movements. [2]

A report in an English professional magazine of 1921 stated that Elli Bjorksten stressed economy of energy in effort, relaxation, and local muscular contraction, and that she arranged "control exercises" to "give the class a clear idea of the joints and parts of the body to which the muscle work is to be confined." [3] The Danish physiologist Johannes Lindhard, M.D., noted that in striving to reform the old Ling gymnastics Elli Bjorksten became so obsessed with these objectives that she failed to identify the real issue, which was that the gymnastics which she tried to reform "were not gymnastics for women." Nevertheless, he said, her own "rich personality" and "very personal method of instruction" brought "life and freedom into the gymnasium." [4] In her long tenure at the University of Helsinki, Elli Bjorksten trained many excellent teachers for all Scandinavian countries. Finland has a long tradition of women's leadership in physical education because women teachers have been trained by women since 1872.

Bjorksten's successor at the University of Helsinki, Hilma Jalkanen [i] (1889-1964), was her student and a graduate of the university. Jalkanen was strongly influenced by the natural quality of movement portrayed in Greek sculpture and bas-reliefs and by the Delsarte-Stebbins method. She also studied the new approaches to movement training in Germany and Austria, and their influence was apparent in the harmonious, feminine, and artistic motions of her students. She based her work on biological principles, developed exercises for relaxation, and emphasized naturalness in motion. Elna Kopponen, Hilma Jalkanen's student and successor, states that Hilma Jalkanen made use of all the essential principles of modern rhythmical gymnastics, still preserving Ling's "normal scheme." [5]

Currently, Finnish women's gymnastics are divided into basic gymnastics and the development of expressive movement. Basic gymnastics consist of loosening exercises and constructive exercises. The loosening work begins with relaxing exercises "to counteract the unbalanced tensions which have been built up unnaturally in the body," and stretching exercises to restore maximum mobility of the joints. The constructive exercises are whole-body movements designed "to develop the flexibility, strength and neuromuscular coordination of different parts of the body" as well as posture, poise, and harmonic, joyful, and dynamic movement. [ii] The development of expressive movement starts with the "basic forms of organized movement," e.g., walking, running, etc., and progresses "from small, simple movements to more complex series of rhythmical movements." [6]

Elli Bjorksten's work had a profound influence in Sweden, where the need for reform in gymnastics was recognized early in the twentieth century. Two other graduates of the Royal Central Gymnastic Institute, Ellin Falk and Maja Carlquist, also pioneered in changing the old positional gymnastics into movement gymnastics, free from unnecessary tension. After graduating from the Central Institute in Stockholm, Ellin Falk (1872-1942) continued her studies in England and the United States, and became inspector of physical education in the Stockholm schools. She led the fight against the old-fashioned "drill," and developed a movement method for little children which related exercises to their natural interests and experiences. Still following Ling's classification of exercises, she used starting positions which made sure that "the movement could only take place in the required part" and that coordination could be "trained rightly from the beginning." [7]

Maja Carlquist (1884-1968) served under Ellin Falk as a teacher of physical education in the Sofia School in Stockholm. Her exercises were performed without music so that her students could move naturally in their own rhythm. In 1951, Maja Carlquist wrote that the keynote of the modern Swedish program is the body's own rhythm and that the fundamental principle is "to sharpen and train the fine sense of movement, to enable children to relearn their natural way of moving." [8] Maja Carlquist and her successors are regarded as Per Henrik Ling's disciples who "have sought ways of performing Ling's artificial movements, marked by considerable rigidity, in a natural, softer, more rhythmic and relaxed manner." [9]

In a lecture demonstration in Koln in 1965, Anna Lisa Nasmark, teacher at the Central Institute, Stockholm, demonstrated a method which began with basic training in natural movement and then progressed to improvised movement sequences stimulated by modern music, even jazz. [10] Performances by the "Sofia girls," the "Idla girls," the "Malmo girls," and the Swedish women's Olympic gymnastic teams, all show naturalness and spontaneity in movement, technical perfection, freedom of expression, and versatile use of space. [11]

Ling gymnastics in Denmark were affected by scientific research when, in 1909, Johannes Lindhard (1870-1947), a medical doctor and physiologist, became professor of the newly established department of gymnastic theory at the University of Copenhagen and, in 1918, head of the newly founded research laboratory. Examining the physiological values attributed to Ling gymnastics, Lindhard endeavored to establish a sound scientific basis for exercise. He stated that the health value ascribed to gymnastics "cannot be measured by any absolute standard," [12] and that a natural aesthetic posture was physiologically sounder than the tense position with a protruding chest. [13] He maintained that mechanical respiratory exercises for the development of the inspiratory muscles and mobility of the chest are superfluous since such results can be secured naturally through vigorous activity without interfering with the chemistry of respiration. [14] On the basis of comparative studies of the physiology and behavior of the male and female organisms, Lindhard maintained that there must be a difference between gymnastics for men, women, and children. The goals of gymnastics, he claimed, will not be achieved by local exercises to produce a certain effect but by "the perfect control of the whole apparatus of motion."  [15]

Compulsory physical education and the emphasis on gymnastics in Danish schools and clubs brought about a demand for trained teachers. In addition to the existing teacher training institutions, several Danish folk high schools were established for the training of teachers of gymnastics and athletics. The folk high schools which made the most significant contribution to the development of modern gymnastics at this time were the Gymnastics High School founded by Niels Bukh in 1919 at Ollerup, Fyn, and the Gymnastics and Folk High School founded in 1925 by Jorgine Abelgaard and Anna Krogh at Snoghoj, Jutland. These two women teachers followed and developed Elli Bjorksten's theories, and popularized gymnastics for women. [16]

Niels Bukh (1880-1950) changed men's position gymnastics to movement gymnastics by substituting fast, vigorous, swinging movements for the former holding and slow pulling movements of Swedish gymnastics. [17] According to Lindhard, Bukh deviated somewhat from the Ling system since he stressed suppleness, strength, and agility, and modified the Swedish classifications. Lindhard, however, maintained that Bukh did not create a new system of gymnastics but a method of instruction which was "markedly masculine" and useful for men in gymnastic clubs, but entirely unsuitable for women and children. [18] Displayed in practically every continent, Bukh gymnastics have had a wide influence on gymnastics for boys and men.

In the 1920's, Agnete Bertram, who taught private classes at the University of Copenhagen, created a new style of gymnastics for girls and women, a style which was widely approved. As a pupil of Lindhard, she based her exercises on sound theory, and her movements were natural and artistic, bearing some resemblance to Isadora Duncan's movement techniques. Lindhard described her method as "kinetic gymnastics" with a "feminine form of motion" and strong emphasis on the "aesthetics of motion."  [19] While still adhering to Ling's objectives of good carriage and harmonious body development, she used natural positions and movements, and trunk and balance exercises which involved the whole body. Many of her exercises were performed in locomotion as well as in sitting and lying positions.

All of the gymnastic reformers in Scandinavian countries promoted their work with great missionary enthusiasm and demonstrated it at home and abroad. They gave performances at Olympic Games and other international gatherings, published books and magazines, and lectured at professional conferences. They fought the traditionalists who opposed change in the revered Ling gymnastics, and propagated their ideas of movement, rhythm, and beauty in gymnastics for girls and women. Influenced by developments in Germany, gymnastics in Scandinavia have gradually evolved into an "amalgamation of Bjorksten and German (Spiess) gymnastics" so that today it would be difficult to "talk about a special style of Nordic women's gymnastics." [20] Relaxation exercises and gymnastics with hand apparatus, similar to Medau's work, have also been introduced and skillfully developed in all Scandinavian countries.


Dr. Miroslav Tyrs, the founder of Sokol gymnastics, had always recognized beauty of motion in gymnastics, 2l and the aesthetic element is evident today in Czechoslovakian women's gymnastics. Early in the twentieth century, the new methods of rhythmical gymnastics and dance which spread throughout Europe also found acceptance in Czechoslovakia. Many Czechoslovakian women studied in the famous European schools, they opened their own private schools, and they taught in conservatories and universities. Their influence, as well as the creative work of the Sokol leaders, changed the character of Sokol gymnastics for children, girls, and women.

Marie Provaznik and Norma Zabka's recent book, Gymnastics With Hand Apparatus (for boys and girls from six to twelve), gives evidence of the influence of a progressive movement training on Sokol gymnastics. The authors point out that movement in calisthenics should be large and free, involve the whole body, grow out of the spine, and flow to the extremities. Swinging and circling movements should be flowing and natural, they should harmoniously alternate in contraction and relaxation, and they should utilize weight and momentum. Emphasizing movement readiness, the authors begin the training of children with natural movements, play with objects, and dramatization. Instead of static exercises, they stress free-style activities performed individually, with partners, or in groups in a great variety of learning situations. [22]

The influence of natural movement training is apparent in the artistic gymnastics of the Czechoslovakian women in international competition. Whole body movements in flowing rhythmical sequences, a high level of skill in intricate techniques, ingenious space designs, and beauty of motion characterize their floor exercises. The Czechoslovakian women's gymnastic team consistently ranks high in international competition.

Reforms in gymnastics were also initiated in Austria where Dr. Margarete Streicher and Dr. Karl Gaulhofer (1885-1941), professors of biology and physical education at the University of Vienna, founded a new approach to natural gymnastics. They opposed the prevailing custom of teaching gymnastics for measurable achievement, and they protested the analytic-synthetic approach to gymnastics whereby skills were dissected and then put together again. Streicher and Gaulhofer described their concepts of natural movement in lectures and publications. They call the routine movements of everyday life functional movements and they consider a natural movement not what a person does but how a person moves. That is, natural movement "is not a group of movements but the way of performing a movement." [23]

Streicher and Gaulhofer based their gymnastics on the development of the spontaneous movement impulses, and they used natural movements for the correction of defects and the improvement of posture. Apparatus were used as obstacles and apparatus exercises were performed in a natural way without stress on rigid and tense body positions. [24] The natural approach was also used in the teaching of swimming, walking, skiing, games, and folk dances. Streicher and Gaulhofer reformed gymnastics in the Austrian state schools and their natural approach had a great influence on physical education in Europe. [25] Their methods of natural and biologically correct movements are explained in numerous articles which appeared in professional magazines as well as in book form. [26]


Before the Russian Revolution in 1917, Russia was largely an agricultural country, its population mostly illiterate and split in ethnic, language, and religious groups. Gymnastics, if used at all, were practiced in the European part of Russia, where German, Swedish and, in particular, the Sokol system was adopted. After the Revolution when the Communists seized power, education was soon recognized by the government as a powerful means of influencing the masses and of developing the nation. A central organization of physical culture provided abundant opportunities for education and cultural development, for national health and physical fitness, and also for the indoctrination of the masses in Communist ideology. That sports played a vital role in this scheme of education is revealed in the following resolution made after the Revolution by the Communist Party: "Physical culture should be utilized as a means of rallying the masses around the Party and the Government. Sport must play an integral part in the general political and cultural training of the masses." [27]

Gymnastics is considered a sport, and sport in Russia is now a national policy. Competitive sport is stressed in order to promote the health and physical fitness of the population, as well as to demonstrate nationally and internationally the superiority of the Communist system. In competitive gymnastics, the Russian women have consistently demonstrated their superiority from the time they first competed in the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952.

Building on the former Olympic exercises, the Russian women created a new style of floor exercises by blending ballet movements with acrobatics and gymnastics in space patterns of great variety. This new style became the model for the calisthenic exercises of women's artistic gymnastics. Andrei Batashov, a Russian sportswriter, defines artistic gymnastics, or what he calls "art gymnastics," as "an organic synthesis of the free exercises of sports gymnastics and elements of dance and acrobatics," [28] Ballet training is used to develop flexibility, grace, coordination, and range of movement, and ballet techniques such as jumps, leaps, turns are combined with difficult stunts. The Russian women's calisthenic composition displays beauty of motion and rhythmic flow in space similar to figure skating.

The government provides the gymnast with opportunities to attend state schools for specialized training in ballet, acrobatic, and circus stunts. Gymnastic instruction is given by famous sport and dance masters or by teachers trained in institutions of higher education, and conservatories provide professional accompanists. [29] To qualify for competition, the athlete must meet physical standards and prove that he possesses the necessary strength, agility, stamina, and skill. Furthermore, research in physical education and related sciences contributes to better achievements in sports. [30]

Sports and the competitive spirit are stimulated by a variety of incentives. Prizes are awarded for winning, and the coveted title and badge of "master of sports" is granted for extraordinary sports achievements. This entitles the athlete to travel, to compete abroad, to better housing, holidays, a higher standard of living, national honors, and the opportunity for higher education. With economic security, the elite Russian gymnast can study for a bachelor's, master's, or doctor's degree in the National Sports Institute or in similar institutions, while still continuing training and competition. [31]

The physical training program in Soviet elementary schools is focused on physical fitness, gymnastics, and games such as volleyball, [32] and, in addition, a national network of public organizations provides training in sports for school children. During their free time, children can participate in various game groups at the Houses of Young Pioneers or attend children's sport schools. There are over 2,000 such schools and "more than 700,000 children receive guidance from experienced trainers" and early opportunity for competition. [33]

Mass competition is promoted through a network of sports clubs which are organized in districts or industrial groups. Every republic has its own program of sport education which is supervised by the Central Union of Sports Societies and Associations of the USSR. Rules and regulations and national performance norms in each sport are established, and the national coach keeps track of promising athletes whose performances may warrant further training. Thus, large numbers of elite athletes are trained, and qualified reserves are made available for competition. [34] Evidence of the magnitude of the Communist Party's plan for mass competition in all sports was given in a report that in the 1963 School Games sixteen million young people took part, and that sixty-six million people participated in a nationwide qualifying tournament for the third USSR "Spartakiada" or People's Games. [35]

Although other nations used mass gymnastics for national purposes, they have never reached the magnitude of the Russian enterprise, for Russia is a vast land with a large population. It uses its great scientific and technical resources to develop and popularize gymnastics and other sports for the physical and cultural growth of the masses and for the prestige gained by national and international victories.


In the first quarter of the twentieth century, free style natural movements began to replace the former rigid positions of Swedish gymnastics which were so firmly established in the English schools. The reforms of Elli Bjorksten and Ellin Falk had an influence on gymnastic developments in England, and these also strengthened the trend toward more natural movement in body training. [36] A natural approach was urged by Dr. James Kerr, Chief Medical Officer, London County Council, in an address to the Ling Association in 1921. He said, "The deadly monotony of Ling's system and its imitations based on the anatomy of muscular units rather than on the central machinery of emotional and psychological movements must be replaced by units with purposive aims and emotional content ... " [37] After the First World War (1914-1918), many English teachers studied various European methods of modern gymnastics in continental schools and introduced these into England.

Following the Second World War (1939-1945), revolutionary changes took place in English education. The Education Act of 1944 replaced the State Board of Education and provided a new administrative framework. The school leaving age was raised to fifteen, and from the age of eleven all boys and girls had to attend secondary schools. Local education authorities continued to administer the educational system and they were now required by law to provide facilities for physical education and sport for both the school and post-school population. [38]

The revolutionary changes in physical education sprang from two sources. Obstacle training in the army made a great appeal to teachers of primary school children. [iii] Unorthodox and newly designed, even improvised, apparatus were installed in school halls and playgrounds. Formal methods of teaching were inappropriate for this new situation, and children were encouraged to explore the possibilities of the apparatus. The second source of inspiration was Rudolf Laban's pioneer work in the analysis of movement. [39]

The English approach to movement education "is aimed at helping the children to develop skill naturally and to understand the management and control of their bodies in movement." [40] In her book Basic Movement, Majorie Randall explains a movement training which stresses the development of kinesthetic or muscular sense, and awareness in the use of time, strength, and space in physical action. "Awareness," she states, "implies a greater conscious investigation of the feel of balance and control of the body" and thus it has a broader meaning than merely the development of "'neuro-muscular control' or 'coordination'." [41]

Following Laban's method, children explore a movement task or solve a movement problem while moving in their own way. They are taught how to use the components weight, time, and flow effectively, what is involved in a movement, where a movement can go in the space around the body, what shapes the body can make, and how to use their own movement experiences and ideas in arranging free-flowing movement sequences. They learn how a movement feels when it is heavy or light, quick, slow, sustained in time, or continuous or interrupted in flow. Anatomical and physiological development is considered a natural and incidental consequence of good movement.

In each lesson the teacher pursues a specific objective or theme. Themes for elementary school children may deal with learning to receive the weight, lifting and lowering, curling and stretching, body shapes, twisting, symmetry and asymmetry. More advanced themes are provided for secondary school girls such as rhythm and phrasing, circling and swinging, the use of momentum, successive and simultaneous movement, losing and recovering balance. A number of movement tasks, related to the theme, outline the scope of the task and develop the required strength and skill. Each child moves in his own way and his own rhythm. Classes are organized in small groups, the children move continuously, and they are guided by the teacher in their movement explorations. The pupils' movements are self-directed and the children are made aware of what the body should do to accomplish the task. A new movement terminology has developed and children are taught to think in terms of movement.

Tasks related to the theme are first worked out on the floor, so that the children may learn to manage and control the whole body. The task is then performed with the weight on the arms in order to develop the strength needed to balance the body on the arms and shoulders and to travel in different ways on the floor on hands and feet. The leg work consists of movements which propel the body into the air and stresses elasticity in landing, and the landing often leads into a curl and roll. [42] Such movement experiences are fundamental to safety on apparatus.

Apparatus work is the climax of the lesson. However, the apparatus which are used for children differ from the standard apparatus. A variety of obstacles such as hoops, boxes, inclined planes, ropes, bars, and ladders and combinations of apparatus units give wide scope for natural creative movements. There are two approaches to apparatus work: the "action task" and the "movement task." The "action task" specifies certain procedures through which the pupil learns to familiarize himself with the apparatus and discover the most effective and safest way of handling the body. In the "movement task," the pupil freely utilizes his own movement ideas while travelling on the apparatus. [43] Primary consideration is given to safety on apparatus, for which the children have been prepared in the movement training on the floor.

The English method of movement education in educational gymnastics is not only an imaginative application of Laban's theories of movement but it also has a biologically and psychologically sound basis and it follows clearly defined objectives, both in movement education and in physical development.  [44] In addition, the movement training is a basis for the dance, games, and athletics.


In the United States, where formal gymnastics constituted the basic physical training in the early twentieth century, three outstanding pioneers led the way to natural physical education. These educators and humanitarians were Luther Halsey Gulick, M.D. (1865-1918), Thomas Denison Wood, M.D. (1865-1951), and Dr. Clark Hetherington (1870-1942). While school authorities were introducing various gymnastic systems, these progressive leaders began to promote natural activities and to emphasize the social objectives of physical education. They are also known as the founders and leaders of many organizations for health, physical education, recreation, and social welfare.

Luther Halsey Gulick, who studied at Oberlin College and Sargent School, earned a medical degree at New York University. A man of vision and high spiritual ideals, he regarded bodily activities as natural experiences which influenced not only the body, but also the mind and spirit. [45] Gulick was a vigorous and challenging leader, a speaker, author, and executive who had a marked influence in "shaping public opinion and policies" for health, physical education, and recreation. Due to his ceaseless efforts, school programs were broadened to include natural activities, play, games, and folk dancing.

Starting his career in physical education at the turn of the century at Springfield College, Gulick held, in succession, the positions of principal of Pratt High School, director of physical training, New York Public Schools, and playground executive, Russell Sage Foundation. He was a noted lecturer on the philosophy of play, and one of the founders of the Playground Association of America and the Boy Scouts. He organized the Athletic League of the Young Men's Christian Association, the Public Schools Athletic League, the Gulick Camps and the Camp Fire Girls, [46] and his approach to natural living in the natural environment is still evident in the American philosophy of outdoor education and camping.

Thomas Denison Wood, a contemporary of Gulick, formulated a philosophy of natural physical education which had a far-reaching influence on modern physical education in the United States. A medical doctor, scientist, and educator, he opposed the artificial gymnastic systems. Basing his theories on the nature of the human being, he stated in 1893 that "there is a science of physical education based, with the other human sciences, upon a philosophy of human life" and that "the great thought in physical education is not the education of the physical nature, but the relation of physical education to complete education, and then the effort to make a physical education contribute its full share to the life of the individual. .. ." [47]

When Stanford University was founded in 1891, Wood became head of the department of physical education, and introduced natural gymnastics as well as sports and athletics for men and women. After he became professor of physical education at Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1901, he was influenced by the educational psychology of Edward Thorndike and the philosophy of John Dewey, and he developed a new approach to physical education. [48] Wood defined a good physical education as "the education of the child by means of natural physical activities which have mental, moral and social content; which are biologically sound and healthful; and which prepare the individual for efficient living in the present day civilization." [49]

In the new physical education, Wood, and his associates at Teachers College, especially Jesse Feiring Williams, Helen Frost, and Gertrude Colby, developed a program consisting of natural activities of daily life, free play and games, sports and athletics, dramatic expressions (dancing, festivals, pageants), social service, self-testing, corrective, and recreational activities. [50] Wood believed that experiences in all these activities would lead to an education through the physical, rather than an education of the physical, provided that they were guided by teachers who understood the nature of the human being and the nature of society. [51]

Explaining natural movement, Wood and Cassidy pointed out that efficiency of movement and rhythm are apparent in the movements of animals and of children who had "not learned artificial movements." Natural movement is not wasteful of energy nor uniform in action; it is oppositional, and it is based on rhythm. [52]

Clark Hetherington, who started his work as assistant to Wood at Stanford University, had an impressive career as a teacher and administrator in four American universities [iv] and as state director of physical education in California. A student of the sciences, psychology, and sociology, Hetherington analyzed the problems of physical education and developed generalized concepts for the many facets of physical education. He opposed the medical approach to physical education, maintaining that physical education was part of the whole process of education. Influenced by Dewey's philosophy, Hetherington was a strong advocate of education through play, and the Hetherington philosophy of the nature and function of play was a classic course in many teacher-training institutions. He, like Dewey, saw the child as a growing and developing entity, and he regarded play activities as natural learning experiences. He maintained that the spontaneous big-muscle activities of children contributed not only to the "organic vitality" and "fundamental strength and skills" which were necessary to "carry the burdens of strenuous living," but also to the development of the competences necessary for effective living in adult life. [53]

Since the order of growth and development from the fundamental to the accessory capacities was biologically determined, he believed that a physical education should follow the order of nature. The natural, big-muscle activities, Hetherington said, arise out of children's growth needs and play tendencies. They were "educationally more valuable than gymnastic drills," since they gave "a certain development of the intellectual, emotional, nervous and organic powers not given in the same degree by any other kind of activity in child life .... " [54]

Hetherington maintained that activities must be guided by qualified teachers if educational results were to be reached. The curricula which he organized for the professional training of teachers, and the requirement of a sound foundation of natural and physical sciences, became accepted precedents for professional education in physical education. [55]

Jesse F. Williams, M.D. (1886-1966), and Dr. Jay B. Nash (1886-1965) continued the opposition against formal gymnastics and fought for natural programs and modern scientific foundations for physical education. Both were renowned scholars, educators, professional leaders, and orators who had an indelible influence on physical education in the United States.

Williams, who had been Wood's associate at Teachers College, became a full professor there in 1923. Following Wood's theory of education through physical education, Williams disputed the intangible values which were traditionally attributed to physical education and established "precise, exact and realizable" objectives. His principles of physical education were based on biological, psychological and sociological foundations, [56] and he also applied many of Dewey's ideas to physical education.

In the Journal of Higher Education, May 1930, Williams presented "a new view of physical education based upon the biologic unity of mind and body." From this point of view, life is regarded "as a totality," physical education as "a way of living," and as a means for the physical, mental, social, and spiritual growth of the whole person. [57] He maintained that natural activities, play and sports, athletics, and the dance provide infinite situations where young people can acquire skills and information, effect social and moral judgements, and develop attitudes which contribute to "finer living." [57] In an address on "Interest and Effort in Physical Education," published in 1924, Williams stated that "children have a natural interest in activities which involve throwing, climbing, hanging, leaping, running, because they exercise connections already present and ready in the nervous system ... " and that "the individual is organized to take an interest in, and to enjoy, a wide variety of physical activities which are related to his social life." [58]

Jay B. Nash, who had successfully introduced a natural program of recreation and physical education in Oakland, California, became Hetherington's assistant and, in 1930, head of the department of physical education at New York University. On the basis of Hetherington's philosophy, Nash developed his own interpretations of the developmental needs of the individual as a biological and social entity. In his book Physical Education: Its Interpretations and Objectives, he writes that the biological concept which is generally accepted today acknowledges the organic unity of the various innate potentialities of the individual personality. He further recognized the individual's need of social integration and the spiritual interplay between the individual and the group. [59] He maintained that both physical and social skills were therefore imperative, not only for successful experiences in play and recreation, but also for the child's normal physical and social development and for adult-adjusting competences. Nash emphasized naturalness in the simplicities of living in the natural environment, the value of sports and art for leisure time, and the importance of physical skills for living a full and rich life in the modern world.

In the 1920's and 1930's all of these philosophies revolutionized physical education. Formal gymnastics were discarded; indeed the emotional controversies over the "formal versus informal" approaches created a kind of stigma about the very word gymnastics. Play programs emphasizing skill and social objectives were developed, and free play, often unrestricted, became a popular "informal" method.

At the same time, the influence of the pioneers of the new American dance flowered in a wide variety of methods of natural rhythmic and dramatic activities for children. Walking, running, and other fundamental locomotor activities were taught in conjunction with music along the lines of Jaques- Dalcroze's rhythmic education. The influence of Wood, Cassidy, and Colby continued in the growth of school programs of natural rhythms and dances. In addition, Margaret H'Doubler's philosophy of movement as a biologically innate and naturally creative expression was influential in the development of methods of basic movement skills and activities, generally known as rhythmic movement, creative rhythms, or just rhythms.

A recognition that the child creates his own movements to function effectively, and that he moves in his own way and with his own rhythm, is evident in the method of Elizabeth Waterman, University of Wisconsin. Her Rhythm Book, published in 1936, dealt with the development of the child's inherent sense of rhythm and an awareness of his own body rhythm. She developed body rhythm in connection with the rhythm of music, percussive sounds, vocalization, drawing, and modelling, and she related movement to the basic elements of body motion: time, dynamics, and space. [60]

In subsequent years, movement education grew in importance as a result of the wealth of national and international influences from educational philosophies, scientific research, dance, music, and other arts. Although movement education suffered a setback during the war years, the human organism and its motions have become an increasingly vital subject for study and exploration, and this study continues in an ever growing effort up to the present. Research in the behavioral sciences revealed the influence of natural movement on the harmony of the biological processes of growth and development, and the importance of motor learning for physical as well as mental development.

Progressive methods of movement education are centered on the nature of the child's inherent movement motivations. In the modern approach, the elementary school teacher sets up learning situations for a great variety of movement experiences which lead naturally to the mastery of movement. Movement experiences with basic locomotor and nonlocomotor activities, the use of balls and other objects, and the challenges of overcoming obstacles are utilized for the development of movements which are functional in life, games, and dance.

There is a belief that when the child is given natural movement tasks, has freedom to move, and has an understanding of how the body makes use of force, space, and time he will find his own solutions to movement problems. In the modern approach, the teacher guides the children in improving the quality of their movements for physical as well as for developmental purposes. Furthermore, under this method children acquire a vocabulary of movement terms and learn to think and speak in the language of movement.

Movement training for adolescent girls and women is generally approached from three points of view:

1. Body training and exploration of natural body movements for the study of dance.

2. Exploration of the application of mechanical principles of body motion to physical skills.

3. Body training in natural movement and rhythm.

In the dance education approach, movement training serves the purpose of developing the art of movement as the dancer's medium of expression. Preparatory body training for modern dance consists of exercises known as warm-ups [v] as well as ballet techniques. The aim of these exercises is to develop flexibility, to loosen and stretch tense muscles, to increase the range of movement, and to develop strength, elasticity, balance, and posture.

Movement in modern dance is taught in relation to the time and dynamic factors of body rhythm and musical rhythm. Movement sequences in place and in locomotion are developed with regard to spatial factors. The characteristics of different movements, such as pendular, sustained, undulating, and percussive, are studied. These movement experiences are amplified by explorations in different styles of movement, and by the study of dance forms. The ultimate goals are dance composition and the dance as a creative art form.

The second approach, which applies mechanical principles to body movement, is founded on biomechanics. The mechanical principles of bodily actions are analyzed in relation to the application of the physical laws of motion, and the relevance of these laws to effective, coordinated moving is explored. The influence of sense organs on voluntary and involuntary movements and the effect of sensory functions on equilibrium, expenditure of energy, and development of muscular power are studied. This approach is based on the fundamental principles of body mechanics, and the muscular and sensory functioning of the body; the rhythmic quality and living flow of movement is not involved in this method.

The third approach to body training in natural movement and rhythm starts with the exploration of the body's natural ways of moving. Mechanical functioning and the body's reaction to gravity is taken into account, but the attention is focused on organic movements which arise from inner impulses. The flow of movement is developed with regard to body energy, time, and space, and awareness of the relationship of body rhythm to the rhythm of sound is stressed. The teacher of natural movement and rhythm provides a great variety of learning situations in order to enrich the students' movement resources and to stimulate creative moving. Balls and other objects, partner and group activity, the sounds of percussive instruments, all provide unlimited opportunities for the exploration of the free expression of natural movement.

The phenomenal development of transportation and communication after the Second World War expanded opportunities for an international exchange of ideas about physical education. Mobility of peoples, international organizations and associations, study abroad, teacher and student exchange, have all facilitated the sharing of ideas and influences. The English approach to movement education has been studied in two Anglo-American seminars [vi] in England, and is demonstrated by visiting teachers in workshops in the United States. Mrs. Diem's "Who Can" method has been widely demonstrated, and the English and German approaches, usually modified, have been introduced into some American school programs. The fluid whole-body movements with or without objects, stressed in European gymnastics and often shown by Scandinavian teams, have had an effect on American physical education for girls and women. Furthermore, American athletics and dance styles have had a worldwide influence, and Asian systems, such as Yoga and Judo, have spread internationally.

In addition to these new approaches to body training in movement, a revival of gymnastics took place in the United States, a revival which was largely due to the exigencies of the Second World War (1939-1945). The Victory Corps program included exercises for the preparatory military training of high school boys, as well as body training for girls. [61] After the war, physical fitness became a national concern, and in 1956 President Eisenhower established a Council on Youth Fitness. With the cooperation of the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, vigorous exercise activities for school programs were nationally promoted. It was recommended that "all students spend at least fifteen minutes per day in sustained conditioning exercises and developmental activities designed to build vigor, strength, flexibility, agility, endurance, and balance." [62]

The renaissance of gymnastics is also evident today in the growing popularity of artistic gymnastics in school and college programs. This style of gymnastics is used in the Olympic Games. Gymnastics are an established sport in international competition, and the four events approved for girls are: a calisthenic composition, a routine on the balance beam, one on uneven parallel bars, and vaulting over the horse. In 1963, the Division for Girls and Women's Sports, American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, published its first Gymnastics Guide for intramural and extramural competition in these four events. [63] The Division has always insisted that girls' and women's sports should be taught and officiated by qualified women, and more recently it has established standards and administrative procedures for the conduct of intercollegiate competition in athletics, including gymnastics. [64]

Competitive gymnastics, generally identified as artistic gymnastics, consist of highly technical skills in complex compositions. These difficult exercises have been broken down into components which have become the fundamental materials for gymnastic programs in schools and colleges. This training is focused on the performance of specific gymnastic skills. Yet, from the point of view of an international judge of gymnastics, it can be said that perfection in gymnastic skills is evident only in a body which either naturally possesses or has been trained in natural movement and rhythm. [vii]


The nature of movement is as broad and as deep as the nature of man and it is being studied in relation to every facet of life. Never before have the expressive and communicative qualities of movement in the arts, and the functional purposes of movement in life, work, and sports been studied and applied to such an extent.

In physical education, the science of human movement has expanded beyond body mechanics and muscle function to the dynamics of movement. The study of living anatomy gives promise of more knowledge about the natural interplay of muscles in movement. Great advances in knowledge about the nervous system and brain, the sensory systems, and the reactivity of the motor neurone have been made by neurophysiologists. Medicine has shed light on the interrelationships of movement and the mind-body-social maturation of the human organism. The significance of these factors in perceptual motor learning and human behavior has been recognized in physical and mental therapy.

In private practice and in hospitals, psychologists and physiotherapists are using movement, and particularly movement with music, in the treatment of the emotionally disturbed and even mentally deranged patients. The effect of inner emotions on movement, and of movement on emotions, has brought about a realization of the therapeutic values of movement for emotional stability. Spontaneous and uninhibited movement experiences are used for sublimating emotional conflicts, repressed hostilities, and aggressions.

Psychologists have long recognized the organismic or Gestalt quality of human responses to environmental stimuli and the same principle applies in movement education. When movement is regarded as an organic expression of the whole personality, then the science of movement must be reconciled with the humanistic concept of the education of the whole man.


The preceding historical overview of the various theories, methods, and materials of bodily exercises shows that modern methods in natural movement education represent an evolution from the influences of their historical past. Substantiated by current knowledge in the sciences, and by progress in education and the arts, these past influences have been crystallized into modern approaches to movement education. This historical review is designed to give the reader a better understanding of the practical application of the theories and methods presented in the following part of the book.



i. According to Elna Kopponen, Jalkanen's official title  was "First Teacher of Pedagogical Gymnastics, Department  of Physical Education, University of Helsinki." In  1957, she was named "Counselor of Teaching."
ii. CE. the Hellerau-Laxenburg method, pp. 55-56.
iii. Age 5-11.
iv. Missouri, Wisconsin, New York, Stanford.
v. The term "warm-ups" is inadequate, since these exercises  are actually a body training for the dancer.
vi. 1956 and 1966.
vii. Margaret C. Brown was a member of the United States  Women's Olympic Committee from 1936-1956; manager  of the 1936 team, delegate to the International Federation  of Gymnastics, 1936, 1938, 1948, 1952; judge of gymnastics,  Olympic Games, London, 1948.

1. Bjorksten's gymnastics, first demonstrated by a group of Finnish women at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, excited keen interest.

2. Anna Lisa Nasmark, instructor, Royal Central Gymnastic Institute, letter of April 11, 1964 and personal interview, August 1965; Elna Kopponen, head teacher, Department of Physical Education, University of Helsinki, questionnaire, February 18, 1966; P. C. Mcintosh et al., op. cit., p. 99.

3. Cecily Read, "New Theories in Gymnastics," Journal of Scientific Physical Training, XXIII (Spring, 1921), pp. 27-30. This was the official magazine of the former Ling Association of Teachers of Physical Education in England.

4. Johannes Lindhard, M.D., The Theory of Gymnastics (London: Methuen and Company, Ltd., 1932), pp. 38-40.

5. Elna Kopponen, op. cit.; Jalkanen's gymnastics were observed at the Olympic Games in Helsinki in 1952 by Margaret C. Brown, and at a demonstration at Panzer College by both Dr. Brown and Professor Sommer.

6. Elna Kopponen, "The Aim and Methods of Ladies' Gymnastics in Finland," Finngymnasts, tour booklet, University of Helsinki, 1964, pp. 8-9; "Modern Finnish Gymnastics for Women," from Finn Gymnasts 1967 Tour, Mademoiselle Gymnast, II (January-February, 1968), pp. 10-11.

7. Cicely M. Read, op. cit., p. 29.

8. Maja Carlquist and Tora Amylong, Balance and Rhythm in Exercise (New York: The Viking Press, 1951), p. 7.

9. Tour booklet, Sofia Girls, U.S. Tour, September- October, 1967, p. 5. The "Sofia girls" gave demonstrations at the Olympic Games in Berlin, 1936, and on six tours in the United States since 1938.

10. Anna Lisa Nasmark, "Teenage Gymnastics and the Swedish School Reform," The Adolescents of Today, Report of the Fifth International Congress on Physical Education and Sports for Girls and Women, Deutsche Sporthochschule Koln, August 1965 (Schorndorf bei Stuttgart, Verlag Karl Hoffman, 1966), pp. 150-151.

11. The "Idla girls" performed at the Fourth International Congress on Physical Education and Sports for Girls and Women, Washington, 1961. Swedish women gymnasts have competed in the Olympic Games since the London Games in 1948.

12. Lindhard, op. cit., p. 12.

13. Emanuel Hansen, Sports in Denmark (Copenhagen: Det Danske Selskab, 1956), pp. 37, 102-105.

14. Lindhard, op. cit., pp. 250-253.

15. Ibid., pp. 55-65, 43.

16. Hansen, op. cit., pp. 92-94.

17. Bruno Saurbier, Geschichte der Leibesubungen (Frankfurt/M.: Wilhelm Limpert-Verlag GMBH, 1963), p.142.

18. Lindhard, op. cit., pp. 34-37.

19. Ibid. pp. 41, 150-152, 242-243; Hansen, op. cit., pp. 104-105, 107.

20. Ole Rash, teacher of physical training, Teachers College of Denmark, Copenhagen, personal letter, March 1966. Permission to quote secured.

21. Miroslav Tyrs, "Telocvik v ohledu estetickem," Sokol, Prague, 1873.

22. Marie Provaznik and Norma Zabka, Gymnastics With Hand Apparatus for Girls and Boys (Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Company, 1965), pp. 2-3. Marie Provaznik was formerly director for women, Czechoslovakia Sokol Organization; Norma Zabka, department of physical education, Hunter College, is director of women's activities for the Eastern District of the American Sokol Organization and an approved international judge of gymnastics.

23. Margarete Streicher, "The Problem of Natural Movement," The Adolescents of Today, pp. 106-107; personal interview, August 3, 1965; personal correspondence.

24. Karl Gaulhofer and Margarete Streicher, Naturliches Turnen, collection of articles, 5 vols. (Wien: Deutscher Verlag fur Jugend und Volk, 1931.)

25. Karl Gaulhofer, "Uber die Lehrweise der Leibesubungen," Leibesubungen und Leibeserziehung, V (October 1951), p. 15; K. Gaulhofer and M. Streicher, Kinderturnstunden, No. 70 (Vienna, 1927), pp. 3-57; Dr. Margarete Streicher, Madchen und Frauenturnen (Vienna, 1925), pp. 9-101. These two authorities published a series of manuals of natural gymnastics for state schools.

26. Karl Gaulhofer, System des Schulturnens, ed. Hans Groll (Wien: Osterreichischer Bundesverlag fur Unterricht, Wissenschaft und Kunst, 1966); Margarete Streicher, "Systematik und Bewegungslehre," Festschrift fur Carl Diem (Frankfurt/M: Wilhelm Limpert-Verlag, 1962).

27. Stuart Schulberg, producer, script of "Russian Sports Revolution," National Broadcasting Television Program (Washington, D.C., May 22, 1966). Jim Simpson, NBC Sports, reports on personal interviews with Russian authorities on Soviet sports.

28. Andrei Batashov, "Beauty and Motion," Soviet Life (Washington, D.C.: 1706 Eighteenth Street, N.W., December 1965), p. 57.

29. As delegate to the International Federation of Gymnastics, at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, 1952, Margaret C. Brown observed Russian training methods, and also their performances in subsequent Games.

30. Alexander Svetov, "How Science Helps Sports," No Limits to Strength and Skill (Washington, D.C.: Novosti Press Agency Publishing House, Press Department, Embassy of the USSR, n.d.), pp. 43-47.

31. Schulberg, op. cit., pp. 21-29.

32. "Scanning Sports with Victor Kuprianov," Soviet Life, July 1966, pp. 56-57.

33. "Exercise as a Path to Health," The Secret of Long Life (Washington, D.C.: Press Department, Embassy of the USSR, n.d.), p. 14; "Children's Sports School," Soviet Life, August 1967, pp. 61-64.

34. Schulberg, op. cit., p. 15.

35. Alexander Svetov, "Tens of Millions on the Start," No Limits to Strength and Skill, p. 35; "Exercise as a Path to Health," The Secret of Long Life, p. 17; Yuri Mashin, "Athletes by the Millions," Soviet Life, August 1967, pp. 58-60. Yuri Mashin is currently Chairman, Central Council, Union of Sports Societies of the USSR.

36. P. C. McIntosh et al., op. cit., p. 205; Margaret C. Brown experienced this method as a student of Ethel Mary Cartwright and her English assistant at the McGill School of Physical Education, Montreal, in 1921. Natural movement was stressed in the exercises, a tree trunk was used for balance beam, yet the gymnastics remained within the context of the Swedish day's order.

37. James Kerr, "Fundamental Considerations in Physical Exercises," Journal of Scientific Physical Training, XIII (Spring, 1921), p. 45.

38. Education Act 1944, The Ministry of Education, London; P. C. McIntosh, statement in personal letter, August 26, 1968.

39. McIntosh, loc. cit.

40. Educational Gymnastics (London: The County Hall, 1963), p. 4.

41. Marjorie Randall, Basic Movement (London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., 19(3), pp. 5-8, 15. For an explanation of body awareness in physiological terms, see pp. 14-15.

42. Educational Gymnastics, pp. 23-45, 4-6.

43. Ibid., p. 17.

44. Notes taken by Margaret C. Brown during observation of movement education classes in London County Schools in 1963. See "The English Method of Movement Education," The Reporter, New Jersey Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, XXXIX (January 1966), pp. 9-10, 18-19.

45. Ethel Josephine Dorgan, Luther Halsey Gulick (Doctoral dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1934), pp. 35-36.

46. Ibid., pp. 126-146.

47. T. D. Wood, "Some Unsolved Problems in Physical Education," Proceedings of International Congress of Education, National Education Association, 1894, pp. 621-623.

48. William Cromartie Burgess, The Life of Thomas Denison Wood, M.D., and His Contributions to Health, Education and Physical Education (unpublished doctoral study, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1959), pp. 71, 115-116.

49. Thomas Denison Wood and Rosalind Frances Cassidy, The New Physical Education (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1927), pp. 86-87.

50. Ibid., pp. 10-11, 89.

51. Burgess, op. cit., pp. 112, 122.

52. Wood and Cassidy, op. cit., p. 48.

53. Alice Oakes Bronson, Clark W. Hetherington: Scientist and Philosopher (Doctoral dissertation, University of Utah Press, 1958), p. 129.

54. Clark W. Hetherington, School Program in Physical Education (Yonkers-on-Hudson, New York: World Book Company, 1922), pp. 53-54.

55. Bronson, op. cit., pp. 107-122.

56. Jesse F. Williams, The Principles of Physical Education (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company, 1948), pp. 51-151.

57. Jesse Feiring Williams, "Education through the Physical," Journal of Higher Education, I (May 1930), pp. 279-283.

58. Jesse Feiring Williams, "Interest and Effort in Physical Education," The American Physical Education Review, XXIX (June 1924), p. 336. In a footnote, Williams acknowledged that the name and general plan of his paper were based on John Dewey's book, Interest and Effort, ed. by Henry Suzzallo (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913).

59. Jay B. Nash, Physical Education: Its Interpretations and Objectives (Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Company, 1963), p. 264.

60. Elizabeth Waterman, The Rhythm Book (New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1936), pp. 8-82.

61. Physical Fitness through Physical Education for the Victory Corps (Washington, D.C.: United States Office of Education, 1943), pp. 27-44, 53-67.

62. Youth Physical Fitness (Washington, D.C.: President's Council on Youth Fitness, 1961), p. 8.

63. Gymnastics Guide 1963-1965, ed. by Dorothy Mac- Lean (Washington, D.C.: The Division for Girls and Women's Sports, American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 1963).

64. Katherine Ley, "National Intercollegiate Athletic Championships for Women," Journal of Health· Physical Education Recreation, XXXIX (February 1968), pp. 24- 27.
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Re: Movement Education: Its Evolution and a Modern Approach

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Part II: Theory and Methods of Natural Movement Education

6. Basic Concepts


Man's characteristic ways of moving have developed naturally in innumerable years of evolution and man's movements are rooted in the very structure of his body. The body has its own intuition, the muscles work in response to stimulations and sensations, and man, like every living creature, moves in accordance with his own motivations and capacities. The child, like the animal, is born with a natural drive for movement and he gradually expands his capacities for effective movement through inner impulses and repetitious attempts.

The movements of a normal infant are truly natural. They involve the whole organism, the body from head to toe, as well as the inner self. As social restrictions multiply, the child's mental and physical tensions grow and his naturalness decreases. The uninhibited and naturally coordinated movement quality of the child is often lost in the process of becoming an adult. In the course of growth and development, movement learned through trial and error too often results in faulty movement habits and mannerisms. The purpose of the following method of movement education is to improve the students' movements through a great variety of movement experiences which utilize inner as well as outer movement stimulations.

In this method, the term natural movement is synonymous with organic movement. It is used to indicate a movement which is natural in quality and biomechanically, biologically, and rhythmically consistent. Good movement is considered a movement which conforms with the laws of human motion and which displays naturalness, ease of motion, and rhythm. When all factors which create movement are consistently applied, movement will be truly natural, correct, and effective, and it will appeal to the mover's as well as the spectator's sense of aesthetics.

The movements of the individual arise from inner feelings and drives, from the desire to fulfill a purpose, from emotional impulses and from other sources and motivations. Movements are curtailed by the body's limitations, by physical, mental, and emotional tensions, and they are hampered by gravity, social codes, and by other environmental factors. A harmony between one's own movement impulses and the hampering forces requires an understanding of cause and effect of movement and practical experimentation in the ways the body naturally moves in space, how it expends energy, and how a good movement feels.

Movement is a live and fleeting action, its flow cannot be dissected for exact scrutiny, and graphic figures can only show arrested positions. Movement, however, is the action which occurs between positions. Even more important is the fact that movement is a creative process and that it cannot be fully grasped, because it is not fully tangible. Pictures and explanations are only poor substitutes for a living process which involves the whole organism. The purpose of the drawings in the text is to help the reader understand the exercise examples and to clarify the verbal explanations of the movements presented in Part III. Movement, however, cannot be learned by merely reproducing visual impressions or by carrying out verbal explanations alone. In order to be learned and mastered, movement must be experienced physically, mentally, and intuitively as well.


The rhythm of body movement is the flow of movement which is created by energy and which progresses in time and space. The International Cyclopedia of Music states that "one may define rhythm as the order in movement, a never ending flow of motion, which through human experience has been regulated in time patterns perceptible to the senses." [1] Rhythm, however, is not regulated by time alone. Rhythm is created by the coordinated interplay of dynamics or energy, time, and space. In its broadest sense, rhythm is the order which regulates the movements or sequences of events in nature, life, and the arts. In its specific sense, the rhythm of body movement is the order which regulates the movements of the whole organism.

The term dynamics deals with energy, or force. The body expends more energy when it has to maintain balance and more energy yet when moving while maintaining balance. Performing a movement, the body uses less energy when allowing gravity and momentum to assist the movement. Dynamics refers to strong and soft or heavy and light phases of movement, similar to forte and piano in musical terms. Dynamics means accent, or stress, increase or decrease in tension, which are synonymous with crescendo or diminuendo; it also refers to abrupt or continuous motions, which are comparable to staccato and legato in music.

Time is the element which exemplifies speed or dura tion of movement. It refers to the pace or tempo of movement, to fast and slow phases within a movement, to increase and decrease of speed, or acceleration and retardation, and to the many augmentations and divisions of counts or beats, pauses, rests, measures, and any combinations of time patterns.

The term space as related to body movement refers to where a motion starts and where it ends and what happens spacewise during this process. Space refers to directions of body movement (forward, backward, sideward, diagonal, up, and down), and to the lines (curved, straight) on which parts of the body or the whole body travels. It entails the various body shapes and space designs created by movement, and it refers to the range (large or small, wide or narrow) of movement. The term space also pertains to the different planes (the horizontal, the sagittal, the frontal planes shown in Fig. 1), and the levels (high or low) through which a motion passes.

A parallel is often drawn between the natural rhythm of body movement and the free motions of nature such as the waves of the ocean or the moving weeds in the wind. The rhythm of human motion is also compared with the movements of animals, such as the graceful motions of the cat or the flight of the bird. Actually, the natural rhythm of man and animal alike bear great resemblance. The heartbeat, the pulse, the nerve impulses and reflexes, the contraction and relaxation of muscles are common to all living creatures. The rhythm of these inner motions as well as the rhythm of visible motions of man and animal alike progress in contin uous flow in three phases, action, release of action, and repose. [2] Due to the continuity of movement, the borderline between these three phases is extremely delicate, and a feeling for the natural rhythm of movement requires, therefore, great sensitivity. The impulse for each movement comes from different sources. During each motion some muscles are contracting while others are relaxing and the degree of activation in the muscles which participate in the motion varies. It is this polyrhythmical play of organs, nerves, and muscles which creates the rhythm of body movement.

Rhythm is perceivable by the aural, visual, or kinesthetic senses, and harmonious rhythm or flow can be readily recognized. Each individual has a particular rhythm of his own, as well as an innate drive to carry out his actions rhythmically for practical and aesthetic reasons. Rhythmic sensitivity varies in each person, it can be improved through movement education, and good rhythm will contribute to better functioning in life.




Fig. 1 Movements in the Different Planes.

The specific use of force, time, and space will determine the nature of a movement. Some movements start slowly, grow to maximum efIort, and recede gradually to rest again. Other movements start with a sudden impulse, use little force and space, and end abruptly. Any change of dynamics, time, and space will change the character or the effect of a movement. For instance, a consistent gathering of momentum for a jump requires a gradual increase of force, scope, and speed. An effective release of force in landing will result in a diminishing space pattern and retardation. Interruption of the flow or wrong utilization of force, time, or space will mar the effect of the jump. Likewise, any change of dynamics, space, or time will result in a different motion. A consistent rhythm of body movement means compliance with its purpose, the achievement of the purpose with ease, the expenditure of not more and not less energy, space, and time than necessary, and the participation of the whole organism. 1t is mainly the rhythm of a movement which creates the delicate fluctuations between accord and discord, coordination and awkwardness, efficiency and inefficiency, and a pleasing and displeasing effect.


Movement education differs from conventional gymnastics in its basic approach and philosophy. It is not a training for skills in gymnastics, athletics, dance, or any other specific activity, but it is an education for the improvement of all innate organic movements. It will contribute, therefore, to effective and harmonious movement in every activity and so benefit the student's physical, mental, and emotional development. The immediate goals are the cultivation of finer sensitivity and creativity, as well as efficiency and beauty of motion.

Since the human organism is an inseparable unity of body, mind, and spirit, this fact is taken into account by the teacher of modern movement education. The concept of the mind-body unity in the education of man has existed since the very beginnings of body training, and today the philosophy of a simultaneous re-education of body and mind is evident in a number of modern approaches, particularly in the field of movement therapy. Movement may be conscious or unconscious, willed or automatic, deliberate or spontaneous, but the improvement of the quality of all movement requires conscious moving which implies awareness or the perception of how the movement "feels." The importance of kinesthetic perception in rehabilitation has been advocated by many authorities.

The late Australian actor F. Matthias Alexander (1887-1955) developed in London a technique which aims to liberate the individual from wrong movement habits and faulty automatic reactions, and to improve the use of his own organism. Alexander's book, The Use of the Self) describes his method and basic philosophy of self-improvement by learning to intensify kinesthetic perception. [3] His theories and approach are extensively studied and applied in progressive methods of movement therapy.

Moshe Feldenkrais, psychiatrist at Tel Aviv, Israel, developed a technique for rehabilitating both normal and mentally sick persons by teaching them to develop a keener perception of each part of the body and its relation to the whole. He bases his work on the concept that lasting physical and mental improvement requires a simultaneous reeducation of physical and mental processes. He states that "finer and finer performance is possible only if the sensitivity, i.e. the ability to feel the difference. is improved." He also points out that "when learning is completed, the action may become automatic and even unconscious." [4]

In his article "Your Muscles See More Than Your Eyes," Arthur H. Steinhaus elaborates on the pre-eminence and indispensability of the muscle sense for man's competent functioning in life. From his analysis of man's sensory perceptions, he concludes that neuromuscular experiences are of immediate influence on learning abilities and that muscular relaxation can improve health, contribute to the relief of pain, counteract emotional stress, and improve mental efficiency. [5]

Body-mind relationships are also being explored by Carl H. Delacato and his associates at the Institute of Human Potentials, Philadelphia. These therapists base their theories on the concept that there is a connection between the natural physical behavior of young children and their intellectual development. They experiment in improving mental capacities of children by having them reenact series of natural movement patterns such as creeping and crawling, and also perform exercises for the development of sense perception. [6]

The two briefly summarized methods which follow are also based on the concept of the relationship of body and mind. They are Gerda Alexander's "Eutonie" [7] and Rosalia Chladek's "Principles of Body Movement." [8] Gerda Alexander has a well-known school of eutonie in Copenhagen, Denmark, and she gives courses in her method in many parts of the world. [i] A graduate of the Blensdorf- Dalcroze school in Germany, she taught eurhythmics for many years. She studied extensively the relation of body and mind and the influence of breathing on body movement. Her "eutonie" evolved through her efforts to free her stud en ts from physical and mental tensions and to teach them good natural movement.

Eutonie is a compound word, "eu-tonia" (good tonus), which refers to the development of a balance of tonus of all muscles, the agonists as well as the antagonists. It is a therapeutic body training for the improvement of posture and body behavior, for re-education of functional movements as well as for the treatment of certain physical and mental disturbances. In eutonie, stress is laid upon relaxation of undue tensions, as well as on increase of tonus of habitually slack muscles. An increased awareness of the entire body, a feeling for the body's muscular tensions and functions, the improvement of equilibrium, circulation, neuro-vegetative actions, and unconscious breathing are the main objectives. These objectives as well as many eutonie exercises bear some resemblance to Hatha Yoga, [9] which has been recently incorporated in many methods of movement education.

Eutonie starts with the development of the body image. While the students are lying on the floor in a completely relaxed state or while moving very slowly, they focus their attention on the joints and muscles, and different sections of the body, the inner organs, the whole body, and the space within the body. In addition, by sculpturing with clay and by drawing human figures, the students' capacity for developing a body image is tested.

Furthermore, moving slowly through a series of extreme body positions, called "control" or "tension testing" positions, the students become aware of undue tensions of the antagonists and they learn to relax and extend these muscles to their normal length. Teacher and students also learn to feel and treat tensions through certain techniques called "permeation" and "contact technique," which are followed by natural stretching exercises. In addition, passive movements are used to test the students' reflexes, and improvisation is encouraged for the development of spontaneity and naturalness. [10] Eutonie is used extensively in movement therapy and in movement education. With the permission of Gerda Alexander, some eutonie exercises will be presented in Chapter VIII, section on relaxation.

Rosalia Chladek's "principles of body motion" [11] stress awareness of the effect of gravity and body energy on movement, and the method presented in this book is based on the same concept. Rosalia Chladek, who with Marianne Pontan formulated the Hellerau-Laxenburg method of movement education, was director of the school's gymnastic and dance departments and the Hellerau-Laxenburg dance company. [12] She became a prominent dancer and choreographer, a scholarly teacher of movement, and a dance educator who teaches internationally. Since 1952 she has been head of the dance department of the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts, Austria.

Rosalia Chladek's theory and methods of teaching dance technique through an awareness of the proper utilization of body energy and gravity is pertinent to all motion and applicable, therefore, in any movement education. She differentiates three basic forms of body behavior:

1. "An equalized body behavior in which gravity and expended energy are balanced." This, she calls normal tension or posture.

2. "An intensified body behavior caused by an increase of energy which creates decrease in the effect of gravity," brings about a feeling of lightness, and "the body begins to rise." This, she calls activation.

3. "A diminished body behavior caused by a decrease of energy which creates increase in the effect of gravity," brings about a feeling of heaviness, and "the body begins to sink." This is relaxation.

Chladek states that stable, energy-resisting body behavior produces a different kind of movement than does a labile attitude where the body conforms to gravity. She points out that "a change of tension can affect the entire body or certain parts of it" and that "the expenditure of energy determines the range of movement." She finds that a continuous weight shifting forward will result in continuous locomotion forward, an increased rate of weight shifting will result in acceleration from walking to faster walking and running, and a decreased rate of weight shifting will cause retardation. She distinguishes between central and peripheral movements according to the location where the movement starts. Thus each specific body attitude, together with the influence of the change of the body's center of gravity, will cause the most diversified movement qualities and expressions which originate in a genuine body rhythm. [13] Rosalia Chladek's basic principles of body movement have been followed by many progressive teachers of movement, rhythm, and the dance.

For an effective teaching of movement the teacher must realize that the mind must be involved in any process of learning. Teacher and student should explore the influence of the physical laws of motion upon body movement, an influence which has been well explored and established in sport skills and applied particularly in the teaching of athletics in the United States. These physical laws of motion apply to efficiency in performance of all movements and movement teachers should teach and students should learn how these principles apply to natural body movements.

The teacher of movement should be aware of the effect of gravity on body behavior and on muscular energy and rhythm in movement and posture. For example, the teacher should understand that good balance requires stabilizing efforts in different parts of the body; that good movement makes use of a minimum of energy; that falling motions are aided by gravity; that in swinging or bouncing motions gravity and momentum must be effectively utilized in order to conserve energy. The teacher should be aware of the correct handling of the weight of the body and know that a movement of one part of the body will cause other parts to move. This organic reaction to initial movements can be well utilized for the development of natural movement. However, organic reactions of parts of the body to movements of other parts can also cause balance problems which call for stabilizing efforts.

Basic concepts of natural movement and rhythm are fundamental principles of all human motion. The method presented in this book, however, is oriented mainly to a movement education for girls and women. The materials, especially the suggestions for creative explorations. can also be used for young children of both sexes, provided they are presented in conformance with their stage of maturity and with their readiness for learning. During the growth and development of the human being, physical and mental capacities and motivations for movement vary. The young child develops rudimentary movements and skills through persevering explorations, and his unhampered movement expressions are closely linked with his sense of rhythm. Later, children become increasingly interested in challenge, a higher level of skills, and in learning specific stunts. The more mature individual gets satisfaction in developing better body control and coordination through conscious movement exploration.

The approach for young children is, therefore, through play and intuitive exploration of movement and rhythm, which is often amplified by the use of music. For older children, more difficult movements and efficient performance of specific skills may be stressed as well. However, whatever the plan and procedure of a children's lesson may be, the situations and tasks are such as to promote creativity, sensory perception of movement, fast reaction, dexterity, and rhythm. Through a variety of rhythmical games, play with objects, and movement explorations with or without music, the teacher awakens the children's movement awareness, and by raising questions or by helpful suggestions she guides the children toward ease and naturalness in moving.

The methods of movement training for older girls and adults stress an increasingly conscious movement exploration. The students learn to consciously employ their own energy and to deliberately take advantage of gravity and momentum. They are guided in developing a feeling for the interrelationship of all parts of the body and an awareness of the body's relation to gravity and space. They discover the difference between stable and labile body behavior, between simultaneous and successive movements, where and how a movement starts, where it naturally proceeds and how the body and its parts naturally move in any action.

However, the intent here is not to minimize at any age spontaneous moving, emotional involvement, and functional drives. Intangible motivations and creative as well as functional moving are also considered, and a great variety of movement improvisations, exploration of movements which fulfill specific tasks, and impulsive movement experiences are also an integral part of movement education of girls and women.

Human motion is a complex and fascinating phenomenon, and it is a fundamental and indispensable human function. The child's love for movement and his abundance of energy and joy in moving yield gradually to a less agitated and more sophisticated way of life. Yet the desire and zest for movement can be kept alive through a meaningful movement education. The inhibited youngster, the shy adolescent, and the insecure adult can gain self-confidence and improve their self-image by discovering potentialities which they never thought of possessing. The realization that they are not clumsy, but able to move in a satisfactory and effective way, brings about an improvement of appearance and a new self-evaluation. Movement can be a stimulating and happy experience when teacher and student alike discover the amazing ways of nature through exploring the innate movement potentialities of the human body.



i. Betty K. Sommer studied with Gerda Alexander at the  Dalcroze Institute summer session, Geneva, 1965, and  with two of her graduates at the National Music Camp.  Interlochen, Michigan, in the summers of 1966 and 1967.

1. International Cyclopedia of Music, p. 1543.

2. Dore Jacobs, Die menschliche Bewegung (Ratingen: A. Henn Verlag, 1962), pp. 88-90.

3. F. Matthias Alexander, The Use of the Self, intro. by John Dewey (Manchester, England: Re-Education Publications Limited, 1955), pp. vii-xxxi.

4. Moshe Feldenkrais, "Mind and Body," Eutonie (Ulm-Donau: Karl F. Haug Verlag, 1964), p. 24. Lecture given at the First International Congress for Release of Tension and Functional Movement under the auspices of the Danish l\I inistry of Education, 1959.

5. Arthur H. Steinhaus, "Your Muscles See More Than Your Eyes," Journal of Health Physical Education Recreation, XXXVII (September, 1966), pp. 38-40.

6. Carl H. Delacato, The Diagnosis and Treatment of Speech and Reading Problems (Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas. Publisher, 1967).

7. Gerda Alexander, "Release of Tension and Eutonie," Eutonie, pp. 50-75.

8. Rosalia Chladek, "The Laws of Body Movement as a Foundation for Dance Education," Eutonie, pp. 93-96.

9. Seharajan Yesudian and Elizabeth Haich, Yoga and Health (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers (Perennial Library), 1965), pp. 8-16: Swami Kuvalayananda, Asanas (Bombay, India: Published by G. R. Bhatkal for the Popular Prakashan, 1964), pp. 32-36. Hatha Yoga begins with the purification and control of the body, leads consciousness into every part of the body and the Yogi strives to reach higher mental and spiritual levels.

10. Alexander, op. cit., p. 50.

11. Chladek, op. cit., pp. 93-96.

12. Gerda Alexander and Hans Groll, Tanzerin, Choreographin, Padagogin: Rosalia Chladek (Wien: Osterreichischer Bundesverlag fur Unterricht, 1965). Betty K. Sommer was a student of Rosalia Chladek at the Hellerau-Laxenburg School and at the Dalcroze Institute Summer Session, Geneva, in 1965.

13. Rosalia Chladek, op. cit., pp. 93-96.

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Re: Movement Education: Its Evolution and a Modern Approach

Postby admin » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:09 am

7. Teaching Techniques


Each lesson should have a clearly defined objective and the exercises should lead logically and systematically toward the predetermined goal. The lesson starts with a few lively whole body movements for "warm-up" purposes, such as running, jumping, swinging, and the like. The "warm-up" period is followed by the actual core of the lesson which deals with the specific objective. Objectives are described in logical order in the exercise manual, Part III, and the selection of each objective will depend on the previous experience and capacities of the students. The objective of a specific lesson could be, for example: flexibility in curling and stretching the lumbar spine, dexterity, jumps or a specific jump, and the like. These, and many other objectives, are specified in the exercise material, Chapters 8, 9, and 10.

The teacher will give the students a variety of detailed exercises which pertain to the objective of the lesson, and will also have the students explore and create movements which serve the same purpose. The lesson may end then with some free style whole body movements similar to those used at the beginning.


Starting positions are the body positions which the students consciously assume before exercising. Stationary positions are more tangible than movements and they are valuable aids for the teaching and learning of movement. There is a general tendency to rush into action without physical or mental preparedness and this attitude is often detrimental to efficient performance in any activity. In terms of movement, a consciously assumed starting position will promote preparedness for movement and contribute to better performance.

The most favorable starting positions are those which cause as few balance problems as possible. The broader the base of support and the lower the center of gravity, which is the point of balance, the easier it is to maintain balance. In the standing position, the weight rests on a small base, the feet, and the center of gravity is in the pelvic region, a comparatively high location. Therefore, positions such as lying, sitting, kneeling, or squatting with hand support are preferable, wherever possible. The following drawings (Fig. 2) are examples of favorable starting positions, especially for the beginner.


Fig. 2 Starting Positions.


Basic position is a well aligned, naturally balanced, erect, standing position. Correct alignment is fundamental for good balance and posture in both standing and in moving. By a frequently practiced awareness of body alignment and balance in basic position a good posture can become habitual.

In basic position the body forms a straight line, leaning very slightly forward (Fig. 3). The head, chest, and pelvis are balanced one above the other, and all three segments are balanced on the legs and supported by the feet. The weight is carried by the heels and the balls of the feet, and the soles touch the floor at three points in a triangular shape (heel, ball of the big toe and ball of the little toes). The feet are slightly apart, the toes are pointing straight ahead, and the arches of the feet are raised. The knees are straight, but not over-stretched, and the hip joints are stretched. The pelvis should be on a slight angle in a position which is neither tilted extremely backward nor tucked extremely forward.


The chest is held high but it is not hyperextended. The head is held with ease and the chin and neck form a right angle. The whole body is kept in balance with a minimum effort. Rigidity, slackness, or hyperextension of any part should be avoided.

The following explorations can help the students to discover the various muscular actions which are necessary for a correct basic position.


Fig. 3 Positions of the Pelvis.

1. Starting Position

Basic position; the feet about one inch apart facing forward; the arches of the feet are raised; the legs are straight but not over-stretched; the spine is erect; the chest is high but not tense; the abdominal wall will naturally flatten; the shoulders are reo laxed; the back of the neck feels long; the arms are relaxed, palms facing the body.

Movement Experiments

Return slowly to basic position after each of the fol· lowing experiments:

a) Let all parts of the body slacken in the vertical.

b) Turn the feet outward or inward.

c) Tuck the pelvis forward or tilt it backward.

d) Push the pelvis forward, backward, or sideward.

e) Drop the head forward, backward, or sideward.

f) Lift the right or left shoulder or curl the shoulders forward.

g) Drop the chest forward or sideward, or hyperextend it backward.


2. Starting Position

Basic position.


a) Sway the straight body forward toward the toes, backward toward the heels and sideward from foot to foot.

b) Circle the straight body forward, to the side, backward and to the other side in a slow motion.

c) Balance a flat object such as a book on the head.




3. Starting Position

Basic position, hands in front of the body, elbows slightly bent. Stand at a distance of a small step from the wall, facing it.


a) Shift the weight of the straight body forward toward the wall; use the hands as buffers and push the body away from the wall to the vertical.

b) Repeat (a) sideward standing with the side to the wall and push the body to the vertical with one hand.



An exploration of how the body correlates weight and movement and how the different parts are interrelated while moving will give the students an understanding of certain principles of natural body motion. To accomplish this, let the students solve certain movement problems themselves, without disclosing the solution in advance. Let them discover for themselves where the weight is located in certain positions. For instance, let them find out which part of the body carries the weight when they are lying on the back. They will soon realize that the parts which carry the weight are the ones which touch the floor. Let them discover what the body must do in order to achieve a certain task. For example, have the students touch the floor with the lumbar spine in the back lying position. Let them discover for themselves how they can accomplish this by a simple direct movement. Let them find out that they will have to tuck the pelvis forward and that this motion will cause a natural curling of the spine and a bending of the knees (Fig. 4). Let them find other ways of touching the floor with the lumbar spine, such as lifting the legs (Fig. 5).

Fig. 4 Curling the Spine by Tucking Pelvis Forward.

Fig. 5 Curling the Spine by Lifting Legs.

Let the students determine for themselves what the body has to do when they begin to walk, run, jump, and the like. Let them analyze the difference between walking and running. While running in circles, let them discover that the body will naturally lean toward the center. Give them the opportunity to find out that one can also initiate circles or curves while the body is tending toward the outside of the circle. Let them find out how the movement of one part of the body affects other parts. For example, what effect will the following movements have on the rest of the body?


Starting Position

Relaxed back lying position.


a) Bend the knees and lift the legs toward the chest and return to original position.

Effect: The pelvis will tilt forward, the lumbar spine curls and touches the floor, the chest and shoulders bend slightly forward, and the head slides backward. When returning to the original position all parts of the body stretch.

b) Raise the arms overhead; touch the floor with the elbows and wrists and lower the arms to original position.

Effect: The chest will rise, the spine will arch slightly, the head will bend somewhat toward the chest, stretching the back of the neck. The legs will stretch more. When returning, each part moves back to the original position.

c) Starting with the arms overhead, lower the arms and perform (a) and (b) simultaneously; repeat the movement several times without stopping.

Effect: The combined action of all parts of the body becomes more evident.

d) Simulate now the interrelated actions of the different parts of the body without the initial leg and arm movements.

A variety of movement tasks can be explored in such a way. Through suc.h exercises the students can become aware of the interdependent effects of movement on all parts of the body.



Every person has the capacity to create. Man constantly produces thoughts and movements in order to function in the activities of life. The purpose of any effective teaching is to make the students aware of their creative potentialities and to show them a way of using these abilities.

The following considerations may help the teacher in guiding the students to create their own movements.

1. What kind of movements can the body make? It can bend, stretch, turn, circle, curl, arch, swing, kick, pull, push, rock, slide, crawl, rise, sink, fall, walk, run, wiggle, flop, undulate, shake, relax, bounce, jump, skip, gallop, hop, leap.

2. In what positions can movement be started? In the starting positions shown on page 93; standing on either foot; in step position, on the soles or on the toes; standing, kneeling, lying, squatting, legs together or apart with or without hand support; the body stretched, curled or twisted, and the arms held in different positions.

3. In what directions can movement progress? Forward, backward, sideward, upward, downward, on the diagonal, around; simultaneous or consecutive movements can proceed in parallel, oppositional, or different directions.

4. On what planes and levels and in what lines can movement progress? On the horizontal, frontal, sagittal, or on diagonal planes; high or low; in straight or angular lines; in curves, circles, "eight" or spiral lines, and in combinations of such planes, levels, and lines.

5. How can a movement be executed? Parts of the body may move while the rest of the body is kept in a stabilized position, or while it is labile conforming to the initial motion and to gravity; a peripheral area of the body or a central part can initiate a movement and other parts can continue successively; several parts of the body can participate simultaneously in a motion.

6. How can movement be varied dynamically? By combining soft and strong movements or by changing from soft to strong intensity within one movement; by starting with a strong impulse and by letting it die out; by a sudden attack sharply halted; by combining sustained slow movements with abrupt accents or pauses; or by repeating the same movement in different dynamic qualities.

7. How can movement be varied in timing? By combining slow with fast movements; by starting to move slowly and gaining- momentum and speed; by starting fast and gradually slowing down; or by repeating the same movement in a different speed or time pattern.

8. How can one achieve continuity and succession? By creating movement sequences, letting one movement flow into the other; by repeating the same movement in a different or reverse direction, on a different level or on a different plane; by combining contrasting motions, jumps with falling, curling with arching, round with straight movements, narrow with wide, or small with large movements.

9. In what other ways can the teacher help the students create their own movements? By having the students imitate a demonstrated movement and continue it in their own way; by having the students improvise a movement from a specific position or area in space to another position or place; by suggesting that they create different shapes with their bodies; by having them play a percussion instrument while moving freely; by having them improvise movements while balancing light objects or moving them in space; by having them create movements to rhythmic patterns, songs, poems or any music, poetry, or prose.

10. What other suggestions may help the students to create their own movements? Suggest dramatic situations to them. For example, they could imagine that they are confined in a small enclosure trying to free themselves; that they are walking in deep mud, on sand, or barefoot on sharp pebbles; that they are walking on a moving surface or on a tig-ht rope; that they are wandering through the woods or walking in heavy traffic; that they are performing a specific sport; that they are in a hurry, or searching, or walking a dog; that they are trying to catch a butterfly, or fighting with an opponent, or dancing with joy after receiving good news; that they are a blind man, a fastidious woman, a naughty child; that they are in a certain state of mind, tired, anxious, furious, worried, docile, afraid, fidgety. Suggest that they act out stories or move with certain mannerisms.

There are practically limitless opportunities for stirring the students' imagination by utilizing their own personal experiences for the creation of movements. Movements can also be evoked through other auditory, visual, and kinesthetic stimuli, some of which will be described later. By using a great variety of motivations the teacher can help the students to create a great wealth of unprecedented spontaneous movement expressions.


Accompaniment organizes and regulates movements into time patterns and synchronizes the students' motions in the class. Accompaniment should not be used all the time. because there are many movements which do not justify time regulation and because each student should be given the opportunity to discover her own genuine body rhythm. When no accompaniment is used, exploration of movement is facilitated by moving slowly, because progression can be traced more easily with slow movements than with fast ones.

The accompaniment should conform to the natural flow of movement. Body movement is not as strictly regulated as the beat of a clock. The accompanist should, therefore, bear in mind that rigid, mechanical, and monotonous time patterns will conflict with the natural flow of movement. Although it is difficult to establish appropriate time patterns for the natural rhythm of movement, through constant practice an effective method to relate movement through sounds can be developed.

It is often helpful to let the students begin to move in their own individual timing. Then, select a performer whose movements seem coordinated and use her rhythm for the whole group. When the teacher adds sound to the movement, she must participate, if only through inner motion, in order to sense the correct timing and dynamic progression for her accompaniment.

A skilled use of the voice is the simplest way to accompany movement. Counting or verbal explanations of the actions of the body spoken in rhythmic patterns which conform to the rhythm of the movement can be effective. For example, if a forward-backward movement calls for a rhythmic pattern such asImage, the accompanist might say "forward and backward" or "one-two-three-four-five". With words or counts, pace and intensity can be changed easily. Through voice inflection, change of tempo, or by prolonging or diminishing certain words or syllables, the appropriate rhythm of the movement can be expressed. In addition, the accompanist or the class may clap their hands or snap their fingers to underline important accents of the movements. It is imperative to always give the student a preparatory upbeat for the start of a movement.

A most stimulating accompaniment for movement can be provided by a skilled pianist who is able to improvise and who can spontaneously follow the movements of the students. However, few musicians who have this ability are available. Although some excellent piano improvisations for movement have been recorded, these recordings may present some problems, because the music, created for specific movements, may not be suitable for the movements which the teacher has in mind. Conventional records or sheet music from the classical or jazz repertoire may also be used occasionally as a variation. It is, however, not advisable to use readymade music constantly for accompaniment because the students continually follow the meter, move at a predetermined pace, and subordinate the natural rhythm of their movements to musical regularity. Ready-made music cannot be changed for each movement. nor can it be adapted to the needs of the moment.

The student can, of course, adjust her movements to any accompaniment. All too often, exercises are performed to a strict, unyielding, militaristic beat which is contrary to the natural rhythm of movement. In fact, the rhythm of some movements is of such irregularity that it can hardly be time regulated, and accompaniment should be omitted.

A practical and satisfactory way of accompanying movement is by improvisation on percussion instruments. Percussive sounds have been used for the accompaniment of movement since the time of primitive man, long before there was melody and harmony. The various contrasting sound effects created on percussion instruments can be extremely movement-inspiring and stimulating. Percussion instruments are comparatively easy to handle, and they permit the player to venture into a great variety of sounds and rhythmic patterns. They not only make the teacher independent of an accompanist, but they also give her the invaluable opportunity to improvise in continuous flow. The teacher should explore the sound possibilities of the instruments before using them. Even the simplest drum offers an astonishing variety of sound effects which can be used to great advantage. In addition, there are many other percussion instruments which can produce a variety of sound effects for accompanying movements. Illustrations of different percussion instruments and techniques for using them appear on pages 198-199. The simplest instruments [or the accompaniment of movement are the hand drums or tom-toms which are commonly used [or modern dance exercises.

A hand drum can be played with the hand or with a mallet. Preferably, it should be of the tuneable variety since a tuneable drum is of better quality and will produce a better tone. Tom-toms, as used by Orientals, will also produce pleasant sounds. Two tom-toms of different pitch, placed on the floor and played with one or two mallets or with the hands, offer ample opportunity for free improvisation. Since the sounds on the drum or tom-tom are created by a very limited vibration of the skin, neither the mallet nor the hand should dwell on the instrument but strike it by bouncing off with a staccato stroke. By touching the drum in contrasting ways or by playing varied rhythmic patterns, the accompaniment can become lively and interesting. When the drum is played with a mallet, it can be struck with the felt covered head and the sound can be varied by beating the rim with the wooden handle.

When played with the hand, the drum or tom-tom can be beaten in the following ways.

1. With a light drop of the loose fingers

2. With a light, rotating motion of the hand, touching the drum successively with the finger tips, starting with the thumb and ending with the little finger

3. The closed fist, palm down, with a staccato stroke

4. The closed fist, palm up, hitting the drum with the knuckles

5. A light, brushing motion with the back of the fingers

6. A lateral drop of the loose hand on the little finger

7. The rigid fingers of the open hand

8. The knuckle of the middle finger

9. Alternate fingers, as in playing the piano

10. A dampening beat of the flat hand, stopping the vibration to a flat sound for an occasional contrast

The following rhythmic phrases are examples for the accompaniment of various movements. The upbeat before each phrase indicates the inner motion which precedes the actual exercise.

1. Walking



2. Running in straight lines

Light and staccato


3. Running in curves



4. Even swings



5. Uneven swings



6. Sustained movements

Slow, restrained, and legato


7. Straight, short, and abrupt movements


The tempo of the preceding rhythmic phrases will depend on the speed of the movements-in general, the smaller a movement, the faster the pace; the larger the scope, the slower the timing. The dynamic progression of the rhythmic patterns will conform to the force exerted in the movements. The stronger the movements, the more tension is displayed by the accompaniment; the softer the movements, the lighter the accompaniment. Basically it can be said that round movements have usually an uneven count of three, five, or seven, while straight movements like kicks or bounces have even counts of two, four, or eight. Uniform swinging motions are best performed in waltz rhythm.

It is not advisable to repeat the same rhythmic pattern continuously nor to play without pausing. The accompaniment should be occasionally interrupted for short intervals even when the students are continuing to move. Once they have arrived at a certain pace, they are able to continue for a while without accompaniment. It is well to avoid the monotonous, repetitive pounding out of every single accent in motion.

One important aspect in playing a drum needs consideration. A drum's capacity for loud accents is limited. Hitting it too hard will result in a harsh and unpleasant sound. To effect marked accents for a sudden stress 10 movement, short rhythmic patterns such as


will be more appropriate. Another factor must also be considered. A slow movement is of much longer duration than a single drum sound. Conforming with the dynamic quality of the motion, slow movements can be effectively accompanied by a rapid succession of beats similar to a drum roll, by subdividing the duration of the movement into several even beats or by playing a rhythmical phrase which will start and end with the movement as shown on page 101, number 6.

Other instruments can be used in addition to the drum. A gong or hanging cymbal played with a mallet will produce the necessary long lasting sounds for slow movements. Wooden blocks are suitable for short abrupt movements, and using a variety of such instruments for accompaniment will provide contrasting sounds and stimulating effects.

The preceding methods and patterns are but examples to show ways of accompanying movement. There is an unending variety of possibilities which can be discovered by anyone who will take the time for serious exploration and practice. [i]


The most satisfactory outfit is a leotard, since it is elastic enough to provide the student with adequate freedom of movement in all directions. Any other close fitting and elastic garment may also be adequate. The customary gymnasium uniform does not stretch and may be restrictive. Furthermore, the material hides the contours of the student's body, which makes observation and judgement of movement difficult.

The feet should be bare to permit full freedom of action, for muscular development and coordination, and for the purpose of developing the sense of touch. If this is not feasible, a soft suede sandal or any pliable non-skid footwear may be used. Sneakers are too confining and moving in socks is hazardous, because the students may slip on the floor, and the fear of falling will inhibit free moving.

A spacious gymnasium is necessary for freedom of movement and the organization of the available space is an important factor in effective teaching.

Staggered rows are most advantageous for exercises performed in place. In this case, all students should be facing in the same direction, unless they are working with partners and facing each other. Exercises performed in the forward or backward direction can be best observed from the profile, while those done sideward should be seen with the students facing the teacher. Locomotor movements, such as walking, running, leaping, skipping, can proceed on the diagonal from one corner to the other or in rows from wall to wall. The group may also move in one or more circles, or in single files with the first student leading the way in order to avoid collision.  



i. For techniques of playing percussion instruments for  movement, see Henrietta Rosenstrauch, Percussion,  Movement and the Child (Far Rockaway, New York:  Carl van Roy Company, 1964).
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Re: Movement Education: Its Evolution and a Modern Approach

Postby admin » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:00 am

Part 1 of 2

Part III Exercise Manual

8. Beginners' Work

In the following chapters, methods and materials for the improvement of body behavior, and suggestions for creating movements are presented. Teaching is a creative process and every conscientious teacher will explore and experience natural movement in her own body and mind in order to be able to create her own exercises and develop a personal approach.

The exercises are organized into beginners', intermediate, and advanced work, and they are listed according to purpose. Although the general order of the exercises has proved effective in the past, the outline is flexible since the selection of the objectives depends on the specific needs of the students. With a particularly slow and lethargic class, it may be advisable to start with some stimulating quick reaction exercises. Slow movements with deep concentration need occasional interruptions with lively movements and with stretching, while vigorous and strenuous movements should be followed by relaxation exercises.

The purpose of the detailed description of exercises in the text is to contribute to a clearer understanding of the presented method. These exercises are but typical examples which should be used by the reader as a guide for developing movements of her own. Illustrations are coupled with the text in order to clarify the progression of the movements. In simple movements, the initial position or movement is shown in full black figures and the subsequent motion is drawn in dotted contours (ghost figures). In complex movements, the motion is shown in a series of full black figures. The arrows show the path and the direction of the various motions.

In beginners' work the student develops a feeling for naturalness and an awareness of the body; she experiences the body as a whole unit and becomes aware of the relationship of its different parts to each other, to gravity, and to space. Relaxation for the release of tension is stressed, wrong movement habits are corrected, strength and pliability are developed, and the students learn to move with ease.


In beginners' work, the warm-up period consists mainly of walking and running. The students may move in their own timing, develop their own space patterns, and create their own walking and running step variations. The teacher may suggest that the students walk or run in the following ways:

1. Mingling freely with each other or moving around obstacles

2. Balancing an object on hands or head

3. In partners

4. Forward, backward, sideward, or on the diagonal, in straight lines

5. In curves, circles, or "eight" formations

6. Combining straight and curved lines

7. Lifting the legs high with the knees bent or stretched

8. On the heels or toes

9. With a crouched or over-stretched body

10. Low, such as almost crawling, and high, such as almost suspended in air

11. Gliding or sliding

12. Forcefully then softly, heavily then lightly

13. With bouncing steps emphasizing either the upward or the downward phase of the bounce

14. Increasing or decreasing in range

15. Increasing or decreasing in speed

16. Combining short with long or slow with fast steps

Techniques of correct walking and running forward and backward, sideward, on the diagonal, and in curves and circles are explained and illustrated in Chapter 10, "Advanced Work."


The detrimental influence of inner tensions on the physical and mental development of the human being had been recognized in early civilization, long before these facts were substantiated by scientific discoveries. Today, many authorities in the field of neurophysiology and psychophysiology stress the importance of neuromuscular relaxation for the improvement of human functions. [1]

Relaxation exercises help develop an awareness of the natural actions of the body and rid the students of undue tensions which restrict freedom of motion. The ultimate aim, however, is not total relaxation. As the German scientist Dr. Fritz Winckel points out, "Balance of tension is the goal. All muscular tensions of the organism should be antagonistically balanced and should produce a normal tension which prevents strain during performance."  [2]


Among new relaxation techniques, Gerda Alexander's eutonie, which is based on scientific research, is one of the most progressive approaches in movement training. Three important procedures in eutonie are described in the following pages.

1. Deep body awareness

2. Relaxing and stretching the antagonists

3. Moving with a minimum of energy

Deep body awareness.

It is difficult for the individual to conceive of all parts of the body at the same time. The lack of perception of some segments of the body is often the cause of inefficient movement. The purpose of exercises for deep body awareness is to develop a keener perception for the body as an interrelated entity of separate units.

In these exercises the students are completely relaxed or moving very slowly. They first focus their attention on specific parts of the body and eventually on the body as a whole. To begin exercises without movement or with very little movement may seem illogical, because teacher and student have been accustomed to a vigorous program of exercise. However, exercises for deep body awareness can be of great benefit for better moving.

The students lie on the floor in a completely relaxed state. The teacher, placid and relaxed herself, speaks softly to create an atmosphere of calm· ness. She suggests to the students that they focus their attention on specific parts of the body, and analyze and verbalize the sensations they experience. The part of the body which has been under deliberate attention may feel strange, foreign, or "different" than the other parts. A sensation of warmth may be felt in this part; it may tingle somewhat, or a "pumping" may be felt. Gerda Alexander has found that a deliberate attention to the specific part of the body will automatically increase blood circulation in this part, regulate breathing, and that such exercises will improve the student's total self-image, a basic factor for good movement.3 Deep body awareness exercises will also be beneficial for relaxing after excessive physical, mental, and nervous strain. Following are a few examples of exercises for deep body awareness.

Back Lying

Make the following observations:

a) Observe the body and determine where the different parts of the body touch the floor.

b) Observe one leg. Feel the toes, the heels, the calf, the thigh, the joints and muscles. Become aware of the shape and position of the leg. Try to feel its weight and pulse, and observe where it touches the floor.

c) Observe the other leg and discover how the sensation in this leg compares to the feeling of the rest of the body.

d) Observe both legs at the same time.

e) Observe one arm and then both arms.

f) Observe trunk and head.

g) Observe all parts from the waist down simultaneously.

h) Observe all parts from the waist up simultaneously.

i) Observe the whole body.

2 Back Lying

Without any previous indication, the teacher tells the students to sit up, to remain motionless, and to observe and analyze the positions of the different parts of the body. Let them find out whether the position is comfortable; if it is not, let them change to a more comfortable one and let them observe the new position they assumed.

3 Back Lying

Very slowly turn the head from side to side as far as possible. Observe which muscles contract and which are passively stretched.

Similar observations can be made by slowly raising and lowering the head, arm, or leg, by turning limbs or pelvis, raising or lowering the pelvis or trunk, or by other simple, very slow motions. Interrupt these exercises occasionally by stretching the whole body slowly in the same manner as the body stretches naturally after sleep. Or use the following stretching exercise:

4 Starting Position

Relaxed back lying, arms at the sides or overhead, or legs and arms apart.


Starting in the center of the body and extending toward the periphery, slowly stretch the whole body to the extreme, stretch the trunk in the direction of the head, the legs in the direction of the toes, and the arms in the direction of the fingers.

Relaxing and stretching the antagonists.

Young children and some adults whose muscles and ligaments have their normal length are able to assume all kinds of positions with ease and without strain. For many individuals, however, some positions are extremely difficult, painful, and even impossible to execute, because certain antagonists, shortened due to physical and mental tensions, contract and resist the movement. The degree of the resistance of the antagonists varies from individual to individual, and some people will have more difficulties than others in reaching different positions. By assuming certain extreme positions, the students learn to prevent the antagonists from contracting by relaxing and stretching them to their normal length. These "control" or "tension-testing positions" (Fig. 6), when practiced correctly, will help the student to feel, test, and loosen the tensions which prevent maximal flexibility and full range of movement.

Fig. 6 Tension-testing Positions.

Stretching exercises for certain muscles are commonly used in dance techniques and other exercise activities, and they are known as "limbering exercises". However, these vigorous repetitive motions are limited predominantly to specific muscle groups. In eutonie, the exercises are performed slowly and they aim to comprise all muscles which need relaxing and stretching. The students should reach the tension testing positions gradually and should concentrate on those muscles which cause the pain. The body should not be pushed forcefully into the desired position. It should move slowly as close as possible to the desired position and should remain there until the muscles relax and the pain subsides. The tense muscles will relax and stretch farther and farther, and the final position will be reached eventually without difficulties. A few tension testing positions practiced before each lesson will limber up the student for class work. Examples of various tension- testing positions follow.

1 Kneeling

a) Kneeling and sitting on heels, trunk erect and toes stretched.

b) Repeat (a) with flexed feet-all flexed toes bracing the floor.

c) Repeat (a) with legs apart sitting on the floor between the lower legs.

d) Repeat (c) lying on the back.

2 Sitting

a) Sitting, folded legs in front of body, both knees and feet on floor, soles facing upward.

b) Repeat (a) with straight body bent forward.

3 Sitting

a) Sitting, crossed and folded legs in front of body, one foot on groin of the other leg with the sole facing upward, both knees on floor.

b) Repeat (a) with both feet.

4 Sitting

a) Sitting, bent knees apart, touching the floor, soles together.

b) Repeat (a) with head touching feet.



5 Sitting

Sitting between the lower legs, knees crossed, one knee on floor, upper knee touching the lower knee.

6 Sitting

a) Sitting, knees bent, one leg turned inward, the 5 other outward, the whole pelvis and both knees on floor.

b) Repeat (a) lying on back, both shoulders on floor.

c) Repeat (b), one leg crossed over the other, both knees on floor.

7 Sitting

a) Sitting, one leg abducted, the other leg bent and turned outward, knee and whole pelvis on floor, body straight.

b) Repeat (a) with trunk bent forward touching the straight leg with forehead.

c) Repeat (b) with side of trunk touching the straight leg.

d) Repeat (a), (b), (c), with the bent leg turned inward.

e) Sitting, legs far apart, trunk bent forward, and head on floor.

f) Repeat (e) with straight trunk on floor.

g) Repeat (e), (f), with straight legs together, head or trunk touching legs.

8 Back lying

a) Back lying, lower arms and wrists on floor.

b) Lower arms and palms on floor.

c) Straight arms overhead, wrists and elbows touching the floor.

9 Sitting

a) Sitting, balancing on pelvis, hands holding sales inside.

b) Legs together holding sales outside.

10 Back lying

Weight on shoulders, head and feet, hip joints stretched.

11 Back lying

Lying on shoulders, knees at side of ears on the floor.

12 Kneeling

Kneeling, arms and sternum on floor, thighs upright.

13 Standing

Standing, legs apart, feet facing forward, trunk turned, both arms in a vertical line.





14 Standing

a) Standing erect, holding heel of bent leg, trunk and supporting leg straight.

b) Repeat (a), holding straight leg in front.

c) Hold bent leg sideward, both legs turned outward.

d) Repeat (c), holding straight leg sideward.

e) Hold bent leg backward near the ankle.

f) Repeat (e), holding straight leg backward.

15 Standing

a) Standing, trunk bent forward, legs straight, soles and palms on the floor.

b) Repeat (a), head touching leg.

16 Kneeling

a) Kneeling, trunk bent backward, head on floor.

b) Repeat (a), hands on floor.

17 Backbend

Backbend position, hands and feet supporting body, hip joints stretched.

Moving with a minimum of energy.

A movement is most natural and harmonious when the amount of applied energy is proportionate to the desired results. People, however, rarely use their strength sparingly. In the following exercises the student will experiment with moving very slowly from position to position with the least amount of energy. At first the student will be inclined to take the most direct and fastest way which usually requires more strength. She will have to restrain her actions and let her body find the way of least resistance. Each student should solve the same problem in her own individual way and should be encouraged to rely on her own judgement and to avoid copying others, because there are different ways of solving such movement problems.

1 Slow movements

Move slowly and leisurely with a minimum of energy from

a) A relaxed back lying to a side lying position, and return in the same manner to the original position.

b) Back lying to front lying and return.

c) Back lying to sitting, legs bent to one side, and vice versa.

d) Sitting to kneeling on one knee, and return.

e) Sitting to kneeling on both knees, and back to sitting.

f) Back, front or side lying to standing, and vice versa.

g) One tension-testing position to another.

2 Experimental slow movements

Experiment in moving slowly from place to place with the least expenditure of energy. The students will thus discover many unusual ways of moving, such as rolling, crawling, and the like.


Passive movements are those movements which are brought about by an outside force. They can be brought about by another person, in which case the student is being moved without her own volition. For example, a student keeps the arms relaxed and a partner lifts, shakes, or drops them. A passive movement of a part of the body can also be prompted by oneself through an active impetus in another part of the body. For example, a jerky motion of the shoulder will provoke a passive movement of the relaxed arm. Quick vibrating motions will also cause passive movement reactions. These passive movements should not be confused with the reaction of a proximal part of the body to the action of another, such as the curling of the lumbar spine when the pelvis is tilted forward.

The passive reaction of the body to different movements will make the student aware of the interaction of all parts of the body. When passive movements are alternated with activation, the interplay of action and release of action becomes apparent. Passive movements are grouped into those which are elicited by a helper, and those which are self-provoked.

Passive movements elicited by a helper.

In these exercises certain procedures must be observed. The starting position of the student who will be moved must assure complete relaxation. The best starting position for relaxing is lying on the floor; closing the eyes is helpful. The student is completely relaxed and suppresses her own volition to move. She may imagine that she is a rag doll or that she is asleep or unconscious.

Fig. 7 Reactions of Passive Body to Actions of Helper.

In order to relax completely, the passive partner must have full confidence in her safety. Therefore, the manner in which the relaxed student is held and moved by the helper is of extreme importance. First an appropriate starting position of the passive partner, and a safe grasp and hold by the helper should be clearly defined and required. The movements of the helper should be slow and gentle. The teacher may illustrate passive moments with a rag doll or demonstrate them occasionally herself with the help of a student.

The helper will gently lift and shake the relaxed arms of the partner. When the arms are completely relaxed, they will react like the empty sleeves of a coat. Then, the helper will continue by testing the legs, the trunk, the pelvis, the entire body, cautiously turning, pulling, shaking or dropping the different parts of the body. Both partners should thus gain an understanding of the natural interactions of the human mechanism.

However, excessive laxity may result in habitual slackness. Therefore, after complete passivity is experienced, exercises for the interchange of passivity and activation should follow. Balance of tension rather than complete passivity is the ultimate goal of these exercises. For example, the helper pulls a body section of the passive partner to a suspended position. The passive partner then activates the limp part of the body, stretches it to achieve proper alignment and relaxes and stretches in repetitive motion. Some illustrations of the natural passive reaction of the body to the actions of the helper appear in Fig. 7.

Examples of passive movements elicited by a helper follow. They are grouped into motions of

1. Arms

2. Trunk

3. Legs

4. Pelvis with legs

5. Entire body


1 Starting Position

Partners, the relaxed partner back lying; the helper stands astride the body facing her head.


a) The helper will gently pick up one hand by the fingers, raise the lower arm to the vertical and drop it. Elbow remains on the floor. Pick up the hand again, pull the arm higher, circle it around lightly, shake it forward and backward, and drop it gently. Pick up the hand, pull the arm until it stretches in vertical position, palm facing inward, and let it slide out of the hand to a complete fall. The arm will fall to the side, the upper arm will reach the floor first, the hand will fall toward the shoulder and will then bounce off to the side.

b) Pick up both arms, lift them to vertical, shake them forward and backward in parallel or in counter- motion; drop them gently either together or successively.

c) Grasp one shoulder and roll it forward; let go. The arm will turn inward, and return and stretch passively to the original position when the grip is released.



d) Turn the partner gently onto the front; grasp one shoulder turning it outward. The arm will turn passively outward. Release the grip and alternate.


2 Starting Position

The passive partner lies on her back; the helper stands astride her body facing her head.


a) The helper will pick up both hands of the passive partner and pull them high enough to cause the shoulders to curl forward; let the shoulders slide to the floor without dropping the arms. Head remains on floor. Repeat, pulling and dropping the shoulders in faster pace; drop arms gently.

b) Bending forward, grasp both shoulders, pull them forward to rounded position; let them slide back onto floor. Head remains on floor.

c) The helper holds the passive partner's hands with the following grip: turn her hands palms down, slide own hands, palms up, under her hands; place her thumb between the helper's index and the middle fingers; grasp her hands with all fingers. Pull her trunk high enough so that her head hangs freely above the floor; bounce her lightly up and down (be sure that the head is high enough not to hit the floor); let the head gradually stop bouncing on its own accord; lower the head to the floor, let the shoulders slide to the floor, and drop the arms from the vertical.

d) Pick up both hands, pull the passive partner's trunk to sitting position, walking backward toward her feet (the relaxed trunk and head will fall forward over her legs); bounce the trunk gently; walk swiftly forward and let her trunk fall backward (be sure to hold her trunk high enough so that the head does not hit the floor); let the head touch the floor gently, let the shoulders slide to a stretched position, drop the arms from the vertical.

3 Starting Position

The passive partner is back lying; the helper is standing astride her body facing her head.


Pull the passive partner by both hands into a half-sitting position and hold her; the passive partner will now become active by stretching her trunk from the hips upward, raising her chest and opening the arms to a rounded position; relax into the original slouched position; repeat stretching and relaxing several times and finish in relaxed position; the helping partner will then lower her head to the floor, let her shoulders slide to the floor, and drop her arms from the vertical.


4 Starting Position

Passive partner kneeling and sitting on heels, legs somewhat apart, relaxed trunk resting on thighs, arms overhead on floor.


a) Helper, facing her, grasps the passive partner's hands and pulls her trunk and pelvis to kneeling position, thighs vertical (the trunk will arch passively); push her to original position and pull and push in continuous flow. Arms of passive partner remain straight. If she is pulled too far she may fall forward.

b) Pull her to kneeling position holding her by the elbows; throw her trunk slightly up, and catch it as it comes down, in light repetitive motion.


5 Starting Position

Passive partner is back lying; helper standing astride her body, facing her head, bends forward and slides her hands under the shoulder blades.


a) Helper pulls the passive partner's chest to arched position, leaving her head on the floor; let the chest slide to its original position.

b) Pull the trunk higher to arched half-sitting position; bob her chest up and down; throw the chest up lightly and catch it by the shoulder blades; lower the trunk onto the head; let it slide onto the shoulders.

c) Repeat (a) and (b) while relaxed partner's arms are overhead.


6 Starting Position

The passive partner is back lying, arms at the sides; the helper is squatting astride her feet facing her head and holding her hands.

Pull the hands of the passive partner alternately downward at the sides of her body to cause side motion of chest. The arms remain on the floor. Repeat motion in quick repetitive pace.

7 Starting Position

Passive partner is lying on the side with the head resting on one straight arm, palm facing the floor; helper, facing her head, is standing astride holding her pelvis with the legs.


a) Grasp her top arm near the elbow with both hands, pull her chest off the floor to the side; bounce her gently up and down; give her trunk a slight jerk so that the head will bob up higher; reo lease the pull, let the head and the chest slide to the floor, and drop the top arm from the vertical.



b) Grasp the side of her rib cage, pull it up to cause a passive side bend of the trunk, lower the chest to original position. Head and pelvis remain on floor.


8 Starting Position

Passive partner back lying, arms at the sides, helper stands astride facing her head.


a) Lift both arms of passive partner to vertical; pull the right and left hand alternately upward to cause rotation of trunk; drop arms together or subsequently. The head remains on the floor.

b) Pick up one hand and pull passive trunk to half-sitting position (the trunk turns slightly); lower trunk gently onto the head, then the shoulder, and drop the arm from vertical.


9 Starting Position

Passive partner is back lying; helper stands astride facing her feet.


a) Grasp one leg under the knee joint, pull it off the floor (the knee bends, the foot remains on floor), drop the knee; pull up both knees and drop them; pull up each knee alternately. Change the time pattern unexpectedly to check whether the partner is completely relaxed.

b) Pull up both knees high enough to have the feet dangle; hold the calves with the palms; bob the lower legs up and down; drop both legs together or subsequently.



10 Starting Position

Passive partner back lying; helper stands astride her legs, facing her feet.


a) Grasp passive partner under the knees with a firm grip of both hands; pull her pelvis off the floor while her lower legs are dangling; bounce it up and down, lower it to the floor, drop legs.

b) Pull her pelvis off the floor and hold it in this position (the lower legs are hanging limply); the relaxed partner now stretches hips, lower legs, and feet, simultaneously extending the whole body obliquely forward. Relax and stretch pelvis and legs in repetitive motion. Make sure to relax the legs while relaxing the pelvis. Helping partner then lowers her gently onto the pelvis and drops the legs.



11 Starting Position

Passive partner front lying, arms at the sides; helper, standing astride, holds her by the hip joints.


a) Pull the passive partner upward into a slightly curled position; head, shoulders and legs remain on the floor; let her slide slowly to original position.

b) Repeat (a) with arms overhead.



12 Starting Position

Passive partner back lying, arms at the sides; helper, standing astride and facing her head, holds her pelvis with both hands.


a) Pull her pelvis up to an overstretched position, (head, hands and feet remain on floor); lower her to original position.

b) Repeat (a) with passive partner's arms overhead.



13 Starting Position

Passive partner back lying, arms at the sides; helper, standing astride facing her head, holds her pelvis on each side with her hands.


a) Roll her pelvis from side to side to cause a forward rotation of the whole body. Head, one shoulder, hands, and feet remain on floor.


b) Repeat (a) with passive partner's arms overhead.

c) Repeat (a) and (b) with passive partner in front lying position.

14 Starting Position

Passive partner back lying, arms overhead; helper, standing at her side, reaches across her body and holds the side of her pelvis with both hands.


Roll the passive partner slowly over to front lying position; reach over and grip the other side of the pelvis; roll her to back lying position, and continue rolling her to front and back lying positions.

15 Starting Position

Passive partner back lying, one arm overhead; helper, standing astride her body, grasps the other arm with both hands.


Pull the arm across her chest, rolling the whole body slowly onto the front without dropping the arm; pull the arm backward across her shoulder, rolling her slowly onto the back, and repeat.

16 Starting Position

Passive partner back lying, both arms overhead; helper, standing astride facing her head, holds one straight leg with one hand at the ankle and with the other hand somewhat higher, and raises the leg to the oblique.


Rotate her leg inward and roll the whole body gently onto the front, holding the leg high; rotate the leg outward and roll her onto the back. Repeat several times, finish in starting position, and lower the leg gently.


Self-provoked passive movements.

Self-provoked passive movements are caused when the student throws, shakes or loosens the arms, legs, or trunk in various directions. After strenuous exercises, such loose motions will be particularly beneficial, since they bring about a release and regeneration of fatigued muscles. The throwing, shaking and loosening motions should be localized, and the rest of the body should remain in good alignment and should not participate in the motion. Examples of self-provoked passive movements follow.



1 Starting Position

Standing, relaxed trunk bent forward, arms hanging limply.


Lift the right and left shoulder in fast alternate motion, shaking the arms.

2 Starting Position

Optional sitting, loose arms at the sides.


a) With a shoulder circle down, back, and upward, throw the limp arms loosely forward.

b) Repeat (a) involving the trunk in the motion.

c) Holding the arms at shoulder height, shake them in quick vibrating motion.

d) Arms at shoulder height, shake the hands up and down, sideward, or in a circular motion.


3 Starting Position

Sitting with straight legs, arms raised at shoulder height.


Bend and stretch knees lightly in quick alternating motion. The knees make a clapping sound on the floor.

4 Starting Position

Back lying or sitting, with hand support, legs raised, knees slightly bent.


Shake legs in quick vibrating motion.

5 Starting Position



a) Grasp one leg above the ankle with both hands at the inner side of the leg, and shake the foot sideways.

b) Grasp one foot with both hands above the ankle, and shake foot up and down.

c) Grasp right heel with right hand, thumb inside, and shake tip of foot sideways.

6 Starting Position



Alternately hopping on the right and left foot, throw the free leg loosely forward, backward, or sideward.

A loosening motion is a continuous interchange between an active and passive motion. The movement starts with an active pulling in a central location of the body and it is immediately followed by a dropping motion of limbs or trunk in a continuously repeated pulling-dropping sequence.




7 Starting Position

Standing, relaxed trunk bent forward, arms limp.


Contract the shoulder muscles and adduct the shoulder blades; pull the arms sideward in successive motion (upper arm, lower arm, hand); drop the arms quickly before they reach an active sideward stretch. Repeat the motions in a continuous flow. The arms travel on a circular path. Do not lift the shoulders. The accent is on the downward motion.


8 Starting Position

Standing with weight on one foot, the free leg slightly bent, toes on the floor.


a) Tilt the pelvis forward and in successive motion contract the abdominal and thigh muscles and pull the free leg successively forward and upward (upper leg, lower leg, foot); drop the leg quickly before it reaches an active forward stretch; repeat in continuous flow. Keep the weight on the supporting foot and hold the body erect.

b) Start as in (a), add one or more steps, and repeat.


9 Starting Position

Standing, relaxed trunk bent forward.


a) Tuck the pelvis slightly forward, activating the central muscles of the body; pull the trunk upward in successive motion and drop and raise it in continuous active-passive interchange. The loose arms will bounce.

b) Repeat (a) backward.

c) Repeat (a) sideward.

d) Repeat (a), (b), (c) holding the arms overhead. The arms will join in the circular motion of the trunk.


Mobility exercises are based on the body's mechanics, and their purpose is to improve the actions of the joints. By bending and stretching movements and by turning and circling motions, the joints are mobilized within their structural potentialities. The joints are moved passively by motions of proximal parts of the body or by the limbs which are connected with the proximal parts. For instance, the lumbar spine is moved by an action of the pelvis or legs, the hip joint by a movement of the leg, the thoracic spine by a motion of the chest or arms, and so on.

Mobility exercises follow the structure of the body and they are arranged into

1. Bending forward (curling) and stretching, also called flexion and extension

2. Bending backward (arching), also known as hyperextension

3. Curling and arching the whole body in successive forward-backward motion

4. Bending sideward, or lateral flexion

5. Turning, or rotating

6. Circling, or circumduction

Starting with actions of certain specific joints, the exercises progress to collective actions of all joints of the body. Most of the following examples are mobility exercises for collective joint actions rathet than for isolated joint actions. Bending or turning the cervical spine by a head motion, the shoulder joints, hip joints, ankles, and wrists, and bending elbows and knees are self-evident motions and therefore omitted. Not as obvious are the actions of the lumbar and thoracic spine, and since both often show a considerable lack of mobility, some exercises for the isolated actions of the lumbar and thoracic spine are included. The different joints and different regions of the spine are illustrated in Fig. 8.

Fig. 8 Side View of Joints and Regions of the Spine.

Mobility exercises are repetitive motions and they are conducive to regular mechanical counting. With such counting, the exercises can become monotonous and stereotyped. In order to make the movements more "alive" and natural, they should be presented with time, dynamic, and space variations. Slow, fast, accelerating, or retarding movements can be interchanged, and different phases of the motion may be accentuated. Starting positions can be varied and partial movements can be performed while the rest of the body is deliberately stabilized or relaxed, and the exercises can be practiced in locomotion or in place. Examples of mobility exercises follow.




1 Starting Position

Back lying, knees bent, soles on floor, arms at the sides.


a) Tuck pelvis forward, touching the floor with the lumbar spine.

b) Repeat (a) with legs straight and relaxed and let the knees bend passively conforming to the motion.

c) Raise the bent knees and bounce them against the chest.


2 Starting Position

Back lying, arms at the sides, straight legs raised to vertical.


Bounce both heels toward seat and, utilizing the rebound, stretch the legs to vertical; point the toes and flex the ankles after each bounce in alternating repetition.

3 Starting Position

Sitting, arms raised sideward at shoulder height, back straight, straight legs apart.


Tuck the pelvis forward, bending the knees and feet simultaneously, and stretch to original position.

4 Starting Position

Back lying, arms at the sides.


Bicycle, as in the treading of a pedal. The feet, knees, hips, and lumbar spine bend and stretch in continuous slow successive motion. Keep pelvis on floor.


5 Starting Position

Sitting with bent legs crossed, back straight, hands touching the back of the neck, elbows held back and wrists in line.


a) Close elbows around face and bounce the trunk several times forward touching the floor with the elbows; bounce to original position and repeat.

b) Start as in (a), keeping elbows back and wrists in line and bounce forehead lightly to floor.

6 Starting Position

Sitting, arms overhead, back straight, bent legs crossed.


a) Flex chest, head, elbows, and fingers, curling the trunk, and stretch to original position.

b) Bend the straight trunk forward and, curling the spine, return to original position in continuous successive motion.


Be particularly aware of curling the lumbar spine in the following whole body bends.


7 Starting Position

Back lying, arms overhead, elbows and wrists on floor.


a) Bend and lift elbows and knees, making them touch each other in front of the body (the trunk curls, the head bends backward). Stretch to original position.


b) Lift the head, the straight arms, and the straight legs at the same time, sitting up and touching the back of the foot with the hands. The body closes like a jackknife, balanced on the pelvis. Return to original position, landing simultaneously on the back and legs.

8 Starting Position

Back lying, arms at the sides.


Raise the head, trunk, and the straight arms slowly forward and upward, bending and lifting the knees simultaneously; the head touches the knees while the body is balancing on the pelvis. Return to original position, starting with the central part of the body.
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Re: Movement Education: Its Evolution and a Modern Approach

Postby admin » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:01 am

Part 2 of 2

9 Starting Position

Balanced on the pelvis in curled position, arms in front at shoulder height.


Stretch the back and the legs simultaneously opening the arms slightly. Bend and stretch in repetitive motion. The legs remain off the floor.

10 Starting Position

Back lying, arms at the sides.


Bend the knees, raise the pelvis, stretch the legs overhead and touch the floor behind the head with the pointed toes; roll slowly back to original position, curling the entire spine.

11 Starting Position

Sitting, knees bent, grasp upper legs with the hands, trunk curled.


Rock backward on the rounded spine; rocking forward, stretch the legs obliquely forward and upward, lower them to the floor sitting up (the relaxed trunk and head fall forward). Repeat in continuous flow holding the legs.


12 Starting Position

Kneeling and sitting on heels, limp arms at the sides.


a) Starting with the head, curl the spine and roll slowly forward to sitting position; stretch legs and back; bend the legs and roll backward to original position.

b) Repeat (a) with arms raised sideward to shoulder height; roll forward on the head; roll backward to original position. Keep arms at shoulder height throughout the entire motion.

13 Starting Position

Standing in step position, arms at the sides.


Starting with the head, bend the whole body forward; roll forward on the curled spine without using the hands, and stand up and stretch the body to standing position; curling the whole body, roll backward on the rounded spine and return to original position.

14 Movement

Starting off with a few running steps, make a forward roll and continue running.




1 Starting Position

Kneeling on one knee with hand support, spine and one leg stretched, pointed toes touching floor.


Kick straight leg backward. Do not turn the leg outward, and keep chest and head stationary.

2 Starting Position

Kneeling with hand support.


Tilt the pelvis as far backward as possible and return to original position.


3 Starting Position

Sitting, bent legs crossed, arms raised sideward, palms facing forward.



Adduct the shoulder blades raising the chest to the extreme and return to original position.

4 Starting Position

Kneeling and sitting on heels, arms raised forward at shoulder height.


Throw arms overhead and backward and return to original position. Avoid raising the shoulders and keep the pelvis stationary.

5 Starting Position

Partners, one partner sitting, legs bent, arms overhead; helper, standing behind her, holds her wrists and places one knee between her shoulder blades.


a) The helper pushes her knee gently forward, pulling her partner's arms backward. Shoulders remain low. Turn the pushing knee inward in order to prevent hurting the partner with the point of the knee.

b) Hold the partner's lower arm near the elbows and circle her arms backward, sideward, forward, and upward.


6 Starting Position

Kneeling and sitting on heels, body bent forward, chest on thighs, arms overhead and somewhat apart, palms on floor, head slightly raised.


a) Keeping the arms straight and the chest near the floor, slide forward on the palms; end in kneeling position with the thighs vertical and the chest close to the floor; bounce the chest several times toward the floor and slide back to original position.

b) Start as in (a); after reaching the kneeling position walk on the knees with small steps forward, bouncing the chest toward the floor.

c) Start as in (a) and slide to front lying position; return to original position without the help of the hands, and repeat.


7 Starting Position

Front lying, hold the bent legs by the ankles.


Pull the legs upward, raising the trunk and legs backward, and return to original position.

8 Starting Position

Front lying with hand support under chest, head and trunk raised.


Rock forward and backward, and increase the momentum of the rocking by bending and stretching the legs.

9 Starting Position

Partners kneeling, facing each other; one partner's arms at the sides, legs apart; helper holds her pelvis.


a) While the helper holds the partner's pelvis, the partner, starting with the head, bends backward and tries to touch the feet with the head; the helper pulls her to original position (pelvis, chest, and head follow in succession).

b) Repeat (a) with the arms overhead, start the backbend with the hands, and try to touch the floor near the toes with the fingers.



1 Starting Position

Front lying, arms at the sides, palms up.


Contract the body by tucking the pelvis forward, curling the lumber spine, and bending the knees slightly. The shoulders touch the floor and the head bends backward. Arch the body and circle the shoulders backward, raising the chest slightly; lower the chest and shoulders to floor; pull the pelvis and the legs toward the trunk, curling the back; repeat the motion, inching slightly forward in the contracting motion. The movement is continuous and similar to the crawling of a snake.


2 Starting Position

Kneeling and sitting on heels, body bent forward, chest on thighs, arms overhead, palms on floor.


a) Tuck the pelvis forward, raising it; curl the spine, raise the rounded chest, and shift the weight onto the knees and the stretched arms, tilt and lower the pelvis backward, arch the spine, lower the arched trunk, bending the elbows, and return to original position. Repeat in continuous flow. Pelvis and trunk move in successive motion on a circular path.

b) Reverse motion (a). Tilt the pelvis backward, arch the spine, bending the elbows, and shift the weight onto the hands and knees while the chest is close to the floor; tuck the pelvis forward, curling the spine, stretch the elbows, and repeat in continuous flow.

c) Repeat (a) and (b), increasing the movement to a front lying position, and continue the motion, which alternates between kneeling and front lying.

3 Starting Position

Balanced on the pelvis with hand support behind the body, fingers facing forward, spine curled, head bent backward, feet, knees and hip joints flexed, legs slightly raised.


Stretch the legs obliquely forward and upward; lower them to the floor, arching the back; let the relaxed trunk fall forward onto the straight legs (the relaxed pronated arms fall forward). Return to original position, curling the back, flexing the elbows, knees, and feet and repeat the motion in continuous flow.

4 Starting Position

Back lying.


a) Bending the knees swing the legs overhead; stretch them and touch the floor with the pointed toes; rolling forward on the rounded spine move the straight legs forward; sit up arching the back, let relaxed trunk fall forward onto the straight legs (the relaxed pronated arms fall forward), and repeat in continuous flow. The body curls while lying down and it arches while sitting up.

b) Repeat (a) with arms overhead. As the trunk falls forward, utilize the rebound, bouncing the trunk and arms off the straight legs. Keep the arms overhead throughout the entire motion.

5 Starting Position

Partners, one partner back lying, bent legs apart, feet facing forward, arms raised to vertical. Helper is standing behind her holding her hands to assist her in the following motion.



Lying partner raises the pelvis and arches the back, shifting the weight onto the feet; passing through a backbend position, she raises the chest and head subsequently and rises to a standing position with the arms overhead. The helper assists by pushing her forward and releasing her grip when she is secure on her feet. While standing, the partner tucks her pelvis forward and, curling the spine and bending the knees, she stoops without lifting the heels, sits down, and returns to back lying position with arms in vertical. The movement is continuous and flowing. It proceeds from back lying to back bending, to standing, curling, stooping, sitting, and back lying in continuous repetition.




1 Starting Position

Back lying, arms at the sides.


Overextend each leg in alternate motion.

2 Starting Position

Back lying, hands under the head, elbows and wrists on the floor, bent legs raised.


a) Kick the knees alternately toward the chest (the pelvis moves passively from side to side).

b) Move the pelvis actively from side to side in the same starting position.

3 Starting Position

Partners, one partner side lying, head on the straight arm, other arm bent with hand support in front of chest; the helper stands astride her body facing her legs.


Helper grasps partner's straight legs by the knees and raises and bounces them sideward.


4 Starting Position

Sitting with bent legs crossed, arms overhead.


a) Overextend each arm alternately (the rib cage bends passively from side to side). Keep the shoulders down.

b) Arms raised sideward, push the rib cage from side to side without lifting the shoulders.


5 Starting Position

Partners, one partner side lying, head on one arm, other arm at the side; the helper stands astride her pelvis, facing her head. She holds her pelvis with the closed legs and grasps her free hand.


Pull and bounce the lying partner's trunk sideward and lower it slowly to the floor.

6 Starting Position

Kneeling and sitting on heels, arms raised sideward at shoulder height.


a) Shift the pelvis sideward to sit on one side of bent legs; change to the other side and alternate from side to side.

b) Repeat (a) while swinging the arms in oppositional pendular swings on frontal plane.

7 Starting Position

Side sitting to the right of bent legs with right hand support, left arm overhead.


a) Bounce the left arm and trunk to the right, reverse position, and repeat to other side.



b) Repeat (a) with reverse arm posItlOn, bounce the right arm and trunk to the left, and reverse the motion.

8 Starting Position

Sitting with bent legs crossed, arms at the sides.


a) Starting with the head, bend the trunk sideward; and starting with the chest, stretch it to original position.

b) Bend the trunk sideward starting with the chest; continue from side to side in flowing wavy motion.


9 Starting Position

Kneeling on left knee, right leg stretched sideward, inside of foot on the floor, left arm overhead, right arm at the side.


Bounce the trunk and left arm toward the right, sliding the right arm along the right leg; reverse the motion.

10 Starting Position

Partners, one partner side lying, arms overhead; helper stands astride her body and holds her pelvis with the closed legs.


Lying partner raises arms, trunk, and legs sideward and returns to original position.

11 Starting Position

Kneeling with hand support, fingers facing forward.


a) Walk forward on hands and knees starting with the right hand and left knee. The movement is similar to the walk of a four legged animal, hand and knee move in opposition. Reverse after several steps.

b) Repeat (a) reaching far forward with the left hand and the right knee; lowering the trunk to the right thigh and touching the seat with the right heel turn the head over the left shoulder to look at the left foot.

12 Starting Position

Partners, one partner in basic position, right arm overhead; helper, facing her, stands in step position at her left and holds her left wrist firmly with both hands.


Partner in basic position pushes pelvis to the right and bends the whole body to the left, hanging in a side bend position. Helper bounces her sideward and, utilizing the rebound, pulls her to basic position.

13 Starting Position

Side sitting to the left of the bent legs, relaxed trunk curled forward; left hand support at the side, right pronated arm hanging loosely at the side.


Swing the right arm across the body and overhead, raising the pelvis, turning the trunk, and stretching the right leg to a side bend position, kneeling on the left knee with left hand support. Relax to original position, repeat, and reverse the motion.


14 Starting Position

Side lying, head on right arm, right leg bent, left leg extended, left hand support in front of chest.


a) Tilt the pelvis sideward shifting some weight toward the left knee bending it. The relaxed trunk moves slightly upward and sideward. The left arm slides on the floor toward the pelvis. Slide to original position, repeat and reverse the motion.

b) Repeat (a) and increase the motion, raising the trunk slowly, to sit at the side of the bent legs. The chest and head rise successively and the right arm rises sideward and overhead following the bend of the trunk; return to the original position, starting with the pelvis, and continue sequentially with the chest and head. Repeat in continuous flow. Reverse the position.


Partner in basic position shifts her pelvis to the right and lets the chest and the head bend successively to the left. Passing through the side hanging position, she pushes the pelvis, chest, and head successively to basic position, and continues the movement in a side waving motion.



1 Starting Position

Sitting, straight legs together, arms raised forward at shoulder height.


Turn the pelvis from side to side, inching forward on the seat. Keep chest and arms stationary.

15 Starting Position

Partners, one partner In basic position; helper stands in step position at her left and holds her left hand firmly with both hands.



2 Starting Position

Back lying, bent legs apart, feet on floor facing forward, arms apart at shoulder height, palms on floor.


a) Turn knees from side to side touching the floor with both knees. Keep both shoulders on the floor.

b) Repeat (a) in sitting position, arms raised sideward at shoulder height, trunk facing forward.

3 Starting Position

Back lying, arms apart at shoulder height, bent legs raised.


a) Turn both legs from side to side, touching the floor with the bottom leg. Keep shoulders on floor.

b) Turn legs to one side, stretch them, swing them from side to side in a semi-circle on the floor. Both shoulders remain on the floor.

4 Starting Position

Back lying, left leg raised to vertical, arms apart at shoulder height, palms on floor.


Drop the left leg across the body to the right, touch the floor with the inner side of the leg, and bounce the leg off to original position.

5 Starting Position

Sitting, straight legs apart, arms raised sideward at shoulder height.




Rotate one hip joint inward and the other outward, turning the pelvis from side to side. Trunk faces forward.


6 Starting Position

Partners, both partners sit with bent legs crossed, facing each other; one partner crosses arms and partners join hands.


Move the shoulders alternately backward and forward, turning the trunk in continuous, repetitive motion.


7 Starting Position

Kneeling with hand support, fingers facing each other.


Lift the right and left arm alternately sideward and backward to the vertical, turning the head in the same direction as the trunk. Both knees remain on floor.

8 Starting Position

Partners, both partners sit facing each other, legs apart, right hands joined and feet touching.


Both partners circle the left arm forward, overhead, as far backward as possible and forward. Repeat with the right arm.

9 Starting Position

Sitting, straight legs apart, right hand holding left ankle.


Squeeze the left arm, shoulder and head between the left leg and right arm; reach as far forward as possible and return to original position. Repeat with the right arm.

10 Starting Position

Sitting, straight legs apart, left hand holding left ankle, trunk relaxed forward.


Starting with the right shoulder, turn the chest and head successively outward and backward; stretch and turn the trunk as far backward as possible, turning the head toward the right shoulder; relax to original position, repeat and alternate. Hold the ankle throughout the whole motion.


11 Starting Position

Back lying, legs apart, arms overhead and apart, palms up.


a) Turn the right arm and the trunk to the right and touch the left leg with the right hand. The sternum touches the floor in an extremely twisted position. Return to original position, repeat and alternate.

b) Start as in (a), sit up while turning, and touch the left foot with the right hand.


12 Starting Position

Back lying, legs apart, arms overhead.


a) The turn of the body starts with one leg. Swing the right leg across the body, touching the floor with the inner side of the foot at hip height, and turn pelvis, chest, and head successively to front lying with legs apart; swing left leg across rear of the body and turn pelvis, chest, and head backward to back lying with legs apart; continue swinging the right leg across the front and the left leg across the rear of the body. The legs proceed in a large circle on the floor. They turn the body from place to place, while the arms revolve around each other in a small circle. Continue the leg swings until the body is in its original place of departure.

b) Raise the right leg to the vertical and keep it high; turn it inward and turn pelvis, chest, head, and arms successively into front lying position; rotate the leg outward turning the body (pelvis, chest, head, and arms) successively to original position; repeat and alternate. The leg remains high throughout the motion.

c) The turn of the body starts with one arm. Swing right arm sideward, downward, and across the trunk, turning chest, pelvis, legs, and head successively to front lying, arms overhead; reverse the arm swing and turn the chest, pelvis, legs, and head successively to back lying.

d) The turn of the body starts with the pelvis. Turn the pelvis to the left and let the legs, chest, head and arms turn successively to front lying; reverse the pelvic motion turning the legs, chest, head and arms successively to back lying. Head and arms will turn last.

13 Starting Position

Stooping with hand support, knees, feet, and fingers facing forward.



Raise the bent left leg backward and turn it outward, raising and turning the pelvis; shift the weight onto the left foot, turn the trunk successively, raise the left arm, touch the floor with the left hand and end in back support position. The body has made half a turn and is facing upward, the pelvis is high. Cross the right arm in front of the body, turn the trunk, shift the weight onto the right hand, turn the pelvis raising the right bent leg, end in original stooping position facing the floor. Continue turning successively the leg, pelvis, chest, and arm in the backward turn, and the arm, chest, pelvis, and leg in the forward turn. The pelvis remains high. Change direction.

14 Starting Position

Front lying with hand support near chest, elbows bent.


Bend and raise the right leg; turning it outward, cross it backward; turn the trunk to sitting position with the inner side of the right bent leg on the floor, left leg straight, legs apart, and arms raised sideward. From this position, turn the pelvis to the left, and turn the trunk successively to the front lying position. Repeat and reverse the motion.

15 Starting Position

Sitting, straight legs apart, arms raised sideward at shoulder height.


In this exercise, the first movement is small and each subsequent movement increases degree by degree. Turn the right hip joint outward and the left hip inward, turning the pelvis slightly to the right; return to original position; increase the rotation of the legs, turning pelvis and trunk farther to the right; return to original position; repeat, turning pelvis, trunk, and arms farther to the right, and touch the floor behind the pelvis with the right hand; return to original position; repeat, increasing the turn, and touch the floor with both hands; return to original position; increase the turn and touch the floor with the sternum, bending the elbows in extremely twisted position; return to original position; repeat and kick the right leg backward in the twisted position, return to original position, and reverse the motion.



Circling is a combination of bending, stretching, and rotating. Circles can be executed by the head, trunk, pelvis, shoulder, the whole arm, the lower arm, the hand, the hip joint, lower leg, and foot. Shoulder and pelvic circles and circles of the hip joint cause successive smaller circling in the adjoining peripheral parts. The students should explore the circling potentialities of all parts of the body in different planes, with a slow sustained motion. When two limbs are circling at the same time, they can proceed in parallel or oppositional directions. Starting positions which allow adequate freedom of motion should be used.


Almost any exercise will strengthen the body to some degree. Most people, however, lack strength in certain muscle groups. Strength exercises are designed to improve the most common muscular weaknesses. They should be taught and practiced with moderation. Excessive muscular strain and repetition to the point of exhaustion are detrimental to the correct functioning of body mechanics and to good movement. A simple exercise, properly executed, is more effective than a difficult one which is done haphazardly. The quality of movement is always of primary importance. Strenuous exercises should be followed by relaxation exercises to provide a balance between strain and rest.

Many strengthening exercises are performed in slow motion, and they require a sensitive accompaniment. To assure a continuous flow, the tempo can be determined in advance by dividing the duration of the movement into a specific number of counts. Starting with the first count and ending with the last, a slow motion should follow the beat in an even flow. Strengthening exercises for the muscles of the abdomen, back, arms and shoulders, legs, feet, and the whole body follow.


1 Starting Position

Partners, one partner back lying, arms at the sides; helper, facing her, kneels behind her and holds her shoulders to the floor.


a) With a central start, slowly pull the legs upward in successive motion (upper leg, lower leg, foot) and lower the straight legs without arching the back.

b) Start as in (a) and turn the pelvis to one side while pulling the legs toward the body; turn the pelvis to the original position, stretching the legs, and lower the straight legs to the floor.

c) Slowly raise and lower the straight legs without arching the back.




The following exercises are different ways of sitting up.

2 Starting Position

Partners, one partner back lying; helper, facing her, kneels at her feet and holds them to the floor.


a) Sit up starting with the head; stretch the back in sitting position; return to back lying with a central start, curling the spine. Keep the arms relaxed.

b) Sit up by tilting the pelvis backward and arching the spine, return to back lying, curling the spine, and continue sitting up and lying down in a waving motion.

c) Sit up, raising and lowering the straight trunk in slow and even motion. Keep the trunk well aligned.

d) Repeat (a), (b), and (c) with the arms overhead, and let them conform to each motion.

e) Repeat (a), (b), (c), and (d), turning the trunk to one side while sitting up, and to the original position while lying down.


3 Starting Position

Back lying, knees bent, soles on floor; hold thighs with hands.


a) Sit up very slowly and return to original position.

b) Repeat (a) without the help of the hands, arms relaxed.


4 Starting Position

Partners, one partner front lying; helper, facing her, holds her feet to the floor.

a) Raise the trunk, starting with the head, and lower it slowly to the floor, starting in the central region.

b) Start with a contraction of the back muscles in the central region of the body, and raise the chest and head in successive motion; lower the trunk slowly in successive flow, and continue.

c) Raise and lower the trunk as one straight unit, keeping it well aligned.

d) Repeat (a), (b), and (c), arms overhead, and let the arms conform to the flow of each motion.

e) Repeat (a), (b), (c), and (d), turning the trunk to one side while raising it, and to the original position while lowering it.

f) Repeat (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e), without the help of a partner, and raise the legs while raising the trunk.

5 Starting Position

Kneeling, arms at the sides.


a) Lower the straight trunk slowly to horizontal position and return slowly to original position. Keep thighs vertical.

b) Repeat (a) with arms overhead.

c) Repeat (a) and (b) in basic position.


6 Starting Position

Partners, standing side by side facing opposite directions, right hands clasped, right feet touching.


Each partner tries to pull the other owr to her side.

7 Starting Position

Partners standing in step position facing each other, palms to palms.


Each partner pushes forward, trying to move the other from her place.

Exercises with the weight on the hands will help strengthen the arm and shoulder muscles and will also prepare the student for hand stands.

8 Starting Position

Front lying with lower arm support, trunk and pelvis slightly raised.


a) "Walk" forward on lower arms, dragging the body with the straight legs and pointed toes.

b) Repeat (a) with hand support, walking on the hands.



9 Starting Position

Partners, one partner squatting with hand support; helper, standing behind her, grasps her feet and lifts them off the floor.


Walk forward on hands until the body and legs are stretched; keeping the body well aligned, continue walking forward on hands while the helper follows, holding the feet (wheelbarrow).

10 Starting Position

Squatting with hand support.


a) Reach forward, shifting some weight onto the hands; jump toward the hands and repeat. The jump is similar to a frog jump.

b) Repeat (a) and lift the pelvis, stretching the back, and shift the whole weight onto the hands for a moment.

11 Starting Position

Standing, trunk bent forward, knees bent, arms raised backward.


Swing the arms forward; jump off both feet for a moment before landing on the hands, and repeat.

12 Starting Position

Facing a wall, squat on the right leg with hand support, left leg stretched backward, toes on the floor.


a) Kick the left straight leg backward and upward, touch the wall with the toes in handstand position (right leg remains bent), return to original position. Repeat and alternate.

b) Start as in (a) and touch the wall successively with the left and right feet; return to original position.

c) Make a handstand, touching the wall with both feet.

d) Make a handstand without using the wall.


13 Starting Position

Standing on one foot, arms raised sideward, hold onto a wall or bar for balance, free bent leg raised forward at hip height.


a) Slowly stretch and bend free leg in horizontal position.

b) Stretch free leg forward, pointed toes on floor; lift it slowly to horizontal, lower it to original position, and continue in repetitive motion.

c) Repeat (b) sideward, legs facing forward.

d) Repeat (a) and (b) sideward, free leg turned outward.

e) Repeat (a) and (b) backward.

14 Starting Position

Kneeling, arms at the sides.


a) Lower the straight body slowly backward to oblique position, keeping the thighs, trunk, and head in a straight line; return slowly to original position and repeat.

b) Start as in (a); while in oblique position turn the trunk to the right and left and return to original position.



15 Starting Position

Squatting, heels on the floor, feet facing forward.


Tuck the pelvis forward curling and raising the trunk, and stretch the body in successive motion (pelvis, chest, and head) to basic position; squat down and repeat in continuous flow.

16 Starting Position

Partners, facing each other, sit balanced on pelvis and supported by lower arms. The bent knees of one partner are raised to the chest, the legs of the other partner are stretched, partners' feet are touching.


a) One partner tries to stretch her legs while the other partner resists her movement. Alternate.

b) Repeat (a) with one leg bent and the other straight, bending and stretching the legs with the resistance of the partner.


17 Starting Position

Basic position.


a) Contract the feet, raising the arches. Do not supinate the feet.

b) Raise the big toes, keeping the other toes on the floor; reverse the motion, holding the big toes on the floor, and raising the other toes. If this proves too difficult, bend forward and hold the four toes on the floor with the hands while raising the big toe, and vice versa.

c) Raise the heels slowly as high as possible, and lower them slowly to the floor.

d) Repeat (c) with legs apart.

e) Repeat (d), shifting the weight from foot to foot.

f) Holding on to a wall for balance, repeat (c) standing on one foot.

g) Raise heels; roll feet onto outside edges; return to original position and repeat in circular motion.

18 Starting Position

Sitting with hand support, fingers facing forward, legs bent.


a) Contract feet; curl the toes and stretch them, spreading the toes.

b) Repeat (a), inching the feet forward on the floor until the knees are almost straight; return to original position with the same movement.

19 Starting Position

Sitting with hand support, knees bent, an opened newspaper sheet lying in front of the body.


a) Grasp the sides of the paper and lift it; hold the paper with the feet, while balancing on the pelvis.

b) Grasp the paper at the top with the feet, and tear it into two pieces.

c) Stand up and place each foot on one piece of paper, grasp each piece with the toes and, lifting the feet high, walk without dropping the paper.

d) Sit down and tear the paper into small pieces with the feet.

e) Stand up, pick up a small piece with one foot, hop to the wastepaper basket, and drop it in the basket. Repeat with the other foot until all pieces are in the basket.




Exercises with a medicine ball of five to eight pounds provide many activities for strengthening the whole body. A medicine ball can be thrown, pushed, and swung with many different whole body movements, and it will fly with considerable speed and force. The catcher should soften the impact of the ball by meeting it with the shoulder before catching it with the arms and hands. Injury to the fingers will thus be avoided.

20 Starting Position

Standing, legs apart, trunk bent forward, hold ball with both hands.


a) Swing the ball in pendular motion forward-upward and downward-backward between the legs.

b) Circle the ball on the horizonal, frontal, or sagittal plane. The whole body joins in the motion.

21 Starting Position

Partners stand, legs apart, facing each other; throw the ball in the following ways:


a) Trunk bent forward, ball near the floor; throw it with both hands forward and upward.

b) Trunk turned and bent to the side, ball near the hip; swing the ball to the partner from the side.

c) Standing, one behind the other; the front partner bends the trunk forward holding ball near the floor; stretching the body and bending backward, toss the ball to the partner behind.

d) Partners facing each other; hold ball overhead and throw it to the partner with a jump.



22 Starting Position

Partners sitting, facing each other.


a) One partner, holding the ball with the hands, lies on her back, brings the ball overhead, and sitting up throws it to the partner.

b) Sitting, throw the ball to the partner with the feet.

23 Starting Position

Partners sitting behind each other.


The partner sitting in front holds the ball with the feet, rolls onto the back, and throws the ball, with the feet, overhead to the partner behind.



1. Arthur Steinhaus, "Facts and Theories of Neuromuscular Relaxation," Quest (Monograph III, December 1964), pp. 3-14; A. Bruce Frederick, "Tension Control," Journal of Health • Physical Education • Recreation, XXXVIII (September 1967), pp. 42-44, 78-80.

2. Fritz Winckel, "Introduction," Eutonie. Ulm Donau: Karl E. Haug Verlag, 1964, p. 8.

3. Gerda Alexander, "Release of Tension and Eutonic," Eutonie, pp. 5-56.
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