Dance History Quiz | A skeleton in dance class

Fun facts for teachers & students

In the first collegiate dance class in the U.S., the instructor used a human skeleton to demonstrate the anatomical logic behind movements. Who was this instructor?

a. Anna Halprin
b. Martha Hill
c. Doris Humphrey
d. Margaret Newell H’Doubler

d. Margaret Newell H’Doubler

Although she had been a women’s basketball coach rather than a dancer, according to the Dance Heritage Coalition, H’Doubler started the nation’s first collegiate dance class in 1917 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. When H’Doubler began college there, she intended to study biology or medicine, but a physical education class motivated her to change direction. After a year at Columbia University’s Teachers College, she developed a dance curriculum based on scientific principles, and formed a student performance group, inspiring institutions across the Midwest to add dance to women’s physical education departments. Her influence on dance education was extensive: by the time she retired from the University of Wisconsin in the 1950s, she had written two books, Dance and its Place in Education and Dance: A Creative Art Experience, and her students had gone on to lead dance programs in U.S. colleges, universities, and public and private schools.

For more information:
Margaret H’Doubler, Dance Heritage Coalition

 “Margaret Newell H’Doubler,” Dr. Janice L. Ross, Dance Heritage Coalition