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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although there was no explicit discourse about dance and wellbeing during the early decades of the twentieth century, modern dance artists and educators were nevertheless considering this topic in ways that contributed to twenty-first-century discussions. Hanya Holm, Doris Humphrey, Diana Jordan, and Mary Wigman—key figures in dance performance and education in Germany, Britain, and the United States during this period—each argued in different ways that dance was more than just a form of healthy exercise because it responded to deeper needs and enabled a greater fullness of life. Close analysis of Wigman’s solo Pastorale (1929) reveals the way by which dance at the time expressed individual wellbeing through presenting the self as a vibrant human being. Humphrey’s group work New Dance (1935) used dynamic movement to bring individuals together into a group, showing how the individual’s sense of wellbeing contributed to the greater good of society as a whole.

Keywords: dance analysis, dance performance, Diana Jordan, Doris Humphrey, Hanya Holm, Mary Wigman, modern dance

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