Teaching history and science by dance

Marian Morgan believed that dance could be used to enhance the instruction of just about any subject. And back in 1916, she toured the country with her six dancers, demonstrating how dance-enhanced education would work.

The basic theory was that students would pay more attention if young female dancers performed at the front of the classroom as the lecturer talked. For example, as explained by the Washington Post (Aug 20, 1916):

Picture a fat freshman dosing in the chemistry class. The day before he had said boldly, and unashamed, 'I think I'll cut that beastly class in chemistry. I don't care what those darned atoms do to each other.' The fat freshman enters the class, bored and rebellious. He remains in it sleepy and indifferent. Suddenly he starts, suppressed a yawn, stealthily arranges his tie sheepishly, combs the hair with hurried fingers.

What happened? Has Old Bones (his disrespectful nickname for the professor of chemistry) been rooting around some second-hand store and found Aladdin's lamp?

The freshman's perception, newly acute, pierces his usual mental haze. The scene is a real one and delightful. True, 'Old Bones' is continuing his discourse. He is describing the chemistry of the blood. 'But this war of atoms may be a beneficent one,' he drones. 'The presence of disease-breeding bacilli in the blood is not necessarily destructive. For there are vigilant baccilli who lay hold upon the destroyers and slay them, as you see illustrated by this dance.'

The eyes of the freshmen beam. Never have 'Old Bones'' lectures been rewarded by such rapt and flattering attention. On the platform one lithe young Amazon in short Roman tunic is struggling with another.

Too bad this never caught on. Certainly would have improved a lot of lectures I had to sit through back in my college days.




Morgan's dancers



Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 22, 2014
Category: Education, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia, 1910s, Dance





Comments
So, if I follow the theory correctly... a massive migration of blood from the North to Middle Earth will enhance a male student's ability to learn & retain sufficient images of writhing female flesh to see him safely to his dorm room where he can dawn the tertiary sock and practice his rhythmic movements in private?

Got it!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/22/14 at 10:47 AM
So what was the proposal for female and non-traditional male students?

But I guess in 1916 that didn't matter.
Posted by crc in idaho on 12/22/14 at 12:06 PM
I'm reminded of the old dictum: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

Shake it baby, don't break it! LOL
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 12/22/14 at 02:45 PM
Awake and not paying attention is not much different than asleep and not paying attention in my estimation.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 12/22/14 at 05:52 PM
It occurs to me that perhaps what Expat mentioned above is likely the reason for disappearing socks in the laundry. Can't believe I never thought of it before.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 12/22/14 at 05:55 PM
I wonder if they had a hands-on version for blind students, maybe a shapely young woman whose goosebumps were Shakespeare in Braille.
Posted by Phideaux in in his own little world on 12/22/14 at 09:28 PM
@Patty: The get preggers and are sent away in shame.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/23/14 at 12:18 AM
For several years now Science Magazine, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has sponsored an annual competition titled the "Dance Your Ph.D. Contest," touted as "a dance-off between the major branches of science (very loosely defined): physics, chemistry, biology, and social sciences."
Winners get $500.
http://news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2014/05/announcing-…-2014-dance-your-ph.d.-contest
Posted by tadchem on 12/23/14 at 12:45 PM
Wow! A whole $500!! In one piece, all at the same time??? You know, that's (maybe) enough to take the whole family to Taco Bell's for lunch.

BTW, where you been Tad?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/23/14 at 01:21 PM
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