100 Dance Treasures

Margaret H'Doubler Menu

Margaret H'Doubler, Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives Pictured: An undated photograph of Margaret H'Doubler, a pioneering dance educator who incorporated the study of anatomy into her dance courses. (Photograph courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives.)

A pioneering dance educator who was the first to make dance part of the American college curriculum, Margaret H'Doubler (1889-1982) was born in Beloit, Kansas. A student of biology, chemistry, and philosophy, she began her career in 1910 as a physical education teacher at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 1917, after a year at Teachers College, Columbia University, she developed a course in dance and formed a student performing group, Orchesis, which inspired institutions throughout the Midwest to incorporate dance into the women's physical education curriculum. H'Doubler developed a sophisticated method and philosophy of dance education based on scientific principles and the belief that each student had potential creativity and abilities that could be developed with careful nurturing. By the time she retired from the University of Wisconsin in 1954, she had taught thousands of students, including many who went on to become professional dancers and choreographers. She was also the author of two influential books, Dance and Its Place in Education (1925) and Dance: A Creative Art Experience (1940).

Learn more in Margaret Newell H'Doubler, an essay by Dr. Janice L. Ross.