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Choreographers / Ms. Margaret Morris

 

 

 

Ms. Margaret Morris

(1891-1980)

 

 

Margaret Morris (1891-1980)

Margaret Morris was the first follower of Isadora Duncan in Britain. She was 19 when she was initiated to the revived Greek dance by Raymond Duncan, the younger brother of Isadora Duncan, in 1909. He taught her his six positions of Greek dance which she adapted to form her own technique of creative dance. He also taught her his shorthand system of dance notation which she later expanded to form her own system; published in 1928 and named Danscript it was intended for the universal documentation of human movement.

Morris was also a pioneer of modern Dance Therapy. She worked since 1922 on the medical aspects of movement and in 1925 she launched this part of her method by giving a lecture-demonstration in London to an audience of physicians, then lectured on the same subject in Paris. She lectured to midwives and taught classes in hospitals for convalescents and children with disabilities. Following these conferences Chailley's "Heritage Craft School" for the disabled asked for a resident Margaret Morris Method teacher. Dr. Rollier, director of several tuberculosis clinics in Leysin, witnessed the work done at Chailley and hired teachers of the Margaret Morris Method for his patients who taught there for more than fifteen years. Dr. Rollier's two daughters attended the London School and one of them, Suzanne Chapuis, taught there. Margaret Morris studied physiotherapy at St Thomas Hospital, passed examinations to enter the Chartered Society and introduced movement therapy to her classes.

The extraordinary breadth of her approach to dance is illustrated by the syllabus followed at her schools as of 1925 which comprised:

The Margaret Morris method of physical culture and dancing

Dance composition

Theory of movement: Breathing

Theory of practice of teaching

Paining, design and sculpture

Notation of movement

Property and mask making

Dressmaking

Music training

Class singing

Musical composition

Literature; study of words; writing of plays and poems; essays

Diction and acting

Lecturing and discussion

Stage management, including lighting

Production of play and ballets

General organisation and business management

Swimming

Ballroom dancing

 

 

 

 

 

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