Friday, January 18, 2013

1913 - Scanty Costume Shocks Husband

The Madison Journal
January 18 1913

Musical Gymnastics Followed by 
Evanston Society Women
Husband is Shocked
Exercises Which at First Called 
Bathing Suits into Use now have Garb
Specially Made--Brown Stockings
and Mauve Underwear

Chicago--An Evanston man who has watched the wife's rapid progress through club life was startled the other day in rummaging about the house to discover a strange costume he never had seen his wife wear.  The costume was scanty.  It consisted of four yards of chiffon, brown stockings, and a trim little suit of of light brown under-wear.  Clutching the evidence in one hand and his spectacles in another he dashed into the library.

"Why--what is all this?" he demanded.

The wife laid down her copy of Henrik Ibsen.

"Why," she said calmly. "that's my eurythmy suit."

After her husband had revived she explained she had become a member of Evanston, society's latest cult.  It is a school of "rhythmic dancing and interpretative art."

Three times a week Evanston women seek "eurythmy."  They hasten to the studio with small bundles and line up for their study class.  The brown suit represents the tanned skin of the ancient Greek, the scarf of chiffon their costume.

At first the classes performed in bathing suits, but "eurythmy" could not be attained in such cumbersome costumes and the inexpensive Greek scarfs draped over union suits were substituted.

"It isn't dancing," said one of the women, when questioned, "It is a serious education theory.  Rhythm is at the bottom of it and rhythm will discipline the minds as well as the body.

"Every movement means a definite beat in the metrical structure of the music.  The actions may be read from music sheets, only we dance the notes instead of playing them."

"Why, I'm just crazy about it," said another.  "It's just the best idea.  It carries out the theory of old Greek harmony, costumes, and everything, and let's you express yourself all over.  I rather like the costume because it's comfortable and there's nothing in the way and it helps the harmony.

"You see one's feet are keeping time different from what the hands are following, and it keeps both sides of one's brain at work. There's really nothing like it.  Isadora Duncan made a start toward it, but this is much more thoughtful than anything she ever tried to do.  After we learn a lot about it we'll be able to dance a symphony, with a chorus for the heavy chords and a little solo work  It expressed just what the composers wanted to express, and much better than a piano can do it."

The pursuit of a dance in which every little movement has a musical meaning all its own has accomplished wonders for still another, who said:

"Why, only last week we were playing that little child's game at the club--what is it?  O, hes, "Simon says thumbs up." And, d'you know, I won every game.  They just couldn't catch me.  That shows how the dance teaches the brain and the muscles to coordinate."


And just for fun....It's not your grandmother's "Eurythmy".

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