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Figure Drawing Ebooks

Dora Menzler's
Korper-schulung der Frau
in Bildern und Merkworten - Neue Folge

Body training of the woman in pictures and words - New sequence

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Kniebeugen der Frau - Lehrtafel F
Knee bends.
Twelve poses and drawings in pencil.
95 Cents


More examples from the book.

Brustmuskelubungen der Frau - Lehrtafel G
Chest muscle exercises.
Eight poses and drawings in pencil.
95 Cents


More examples from the book.

Huftubungen der Frau - Lehrtafel H
Ten poses and drawings in pencil.
95 Cents


More examples from the book.

Drehungen der Wirbelsaule der Frau - Lehrtafel I
Turns of the spinal column.
Eight poses and drawings in pencil.
95 Cents


Purchase all four ebooks for

Empire of Ecstasy: Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910-1935 (Weimer and Now: German Cultural Criticism, No 13)

The Cult of Health and Beauty in Germany: A Social History, 1890-1930

Die Schonheit Deines Korpers by Dora Menzler

References to Dora Menzler can be found at the Scholaship edition of Empire of Ecstasy Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910­1935 by Karl Toepfer see and edition of the web here.

Dora Menzler

Giese, Hagemann, and Menzler implied that the most powerful sign of a unique personality is nude dance. Berber's dance did not contradict this implication, but it was "more naked" than nude dance elsewhere in constructing a perception of uniqueness as a condition of stark aloneness, estrangement, and perversity. Nude dance was no cure for cocaine; it was not modern because it had any therapeutic effect. For Berber, nude dance aestheticized her sickness, and by doing so, by aestheticizing the addictions, compulsions, and mechanized rhythms defining the modern body, her dance anticipated postmodern sensibility; it was an almost satiric critique of the pretentions to a healthy, modern identity that both eurhythmic consciousness and Nacktkultur sought to achieve. Pleasure for the modern audience (not just the dancer) depended on aestheticizing, through nude dance, the symptoms of an incurable aloneness that makes the body modern.

Nude dance in Weibliche Korperbildung emerged more as a figment of romantic fantasy than as a serious mode of performance that modern society could accommodate. The intensifying eroticism resulting from the nude performance of dance or dancelike movements could well jeopardize the innocence feminists wished to ascribe to their Nacktkultur . A more sobering view came from Dora Menzler , whose Mensendieck-influenced school in Leipzig went into operation about 1908. Die Schoenheit deines Korpers (1924) linked her teaching to feminist efforts to construct a "new ideal of woman." Menzler thought too much nakedness could dissipate the physical vitality that feminist body culture sought to cultivate: "Nakedness must not lead to apathy" (41). Therefore, it was not necessary for women to perform all gymnastic activities in the nude. Though she did not specify what activities require nudity, the implication, derived largely from the photodocumentation, was that nudity was appropriate only in solo or group stretching exercises. By contrast, Suren, Koch, and Giese linked nudity to performance in sports (such as archery, javelin, rowing, wrestling, and weightlifting) as well as dancing.

Menzler , however, asserted emphatically that "dances and dancelike movements which result in heightened emotion should in no case be performed naked." But who felt this ominous "heightened emotion"?‹the performer? the (female?) spectator? or both? And what sort of dancelike movements actually heightened emotion? Was the power of these mysterious movements independent of the music that normally accompanied them? Virtually all Nacktkultur theorists implicitly assumed that dancelike movements projected a potent erotic significance independent of the narrative or musical contexts that motivated them. Yet the identity of these movements remained obscure, veiled in a rhetoric of ambivalence toward the unnamed consequences of nude dance. On the one hand, the theorists claimed that body culture reached its highest manifestations through dance and through nudity; on the other hand, they discreetly worried that any convergence of dance and nudity would lower the authority of either to construct a modern, liberated identity for humanity. A few representatives of feminist Nacktkultur resolved the paradox by blurring distinctions between dance and gymnastics, and even the photodocumentation in Menzler's book did not make clear the difference between gymnastic and dancelike movements. Although the bodies she depicted performed in untheatricalized, outdoor spaces, the actions were aesthetic in that they focused attention entirely on the bodies performing them, not on the movements themselves (Hagemann's abstractionism) nor on intragroup dynamics (Hagemann's homoeroticism). However, Menzler did include separate photos of men performing the same exercises as the women, suggesting that gymnastics was a way to resolve differences between men and women associated with feminism. With this strategy, nudity, dance, and gymnastics were subordinated to a peculiar image of a healthy, beautiful body that was desirable without being "seductive," without being a calculated assertion of desire, without being an invitation, a promise, a challenge, or a dare. It was a strategy that completely deflected the burden of desire away from the performer and onto the spectator. More precisely, it intimated, in spite of a ceaseless ambition to document it visually, that Nacktkultur innocence needed no spectator, that those who engaged in it were oblivious to the presence of a critical other.

Genevieve Stebbins (1857­1915) studied under MacKaye in New York. In books published in the 1890s, she modified the Delsarte system by incorporating theories of breathing and rhythmic movement to produce what she called "harmonic gymnastics" for female students. Stebbins's emphasis was not on developing a large vocabulary of expressions for use on the stage but on cultivating an ideal convergence of female hygiene and beauty. It was she who first associated the "natural" female body with the wearing of Grecian tunics and chitons. A student of Stebbins, Hedwig Kallmeyer (1881­?), opened a school for girls in Berlin around 1905, and her students included Dora Menzler and Gertrud Leistikow.

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The series "Korperchulung der Frau" used in this e-book and the images in it are believed to be in the public domain based on their age and publishing date. If you have information to the contrary please email me: The new drawings based on the source material are copyright 2005 by

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