The Delsartean philosophy of movement adapted to the currents of modernism because some female disciples of Delsarte succeeded in translating the master’s ideas into a modernist idiom compatible with new political and cultural realities. These disciples grasped an underlying principle of the Delsartean system: a body is “free” to the extent that the meanings of its movements can migrate across contexts, that its movements can determine a context as much as a context defines its opportunities for movement. An especially provocative, successful, and even mysterious integration of Delsartean philosophy into modernist performance culture appeared in the work and pedagogy of the German theorist of movement education Dorothee Günther (1896–1975), whose own system for developing body consciousness through movement awareness operated on behalf of a new, feminist, aristocratic political sensibility that proposed to free female bodies from the constraints of different political contexts by creating an almost autonomous social organization, the “aristocratic city,” capable of preserving its members’ privileged, emancipated status in any political context, even Nazism.
© 2005 Mime Journal, Pomona College, Claremont Colleges
"The Aristocratic City: The Dance Aesthetic of Dorothee Gunther and the Political Legacy of Francois Delsarte,"
Vol. 23, Article 10.
Available at: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/mimejournal/vol23/iss1/10