Atkinson, Madge (1885–1970) By Carter, Alexandra
A dancer, choreographer, educator, and writer, Madge Atkinson worked during the second and third decades of the twentieth century on the development of the dance form known as Natural Movement. Based in Manchester, she was active in the theater, presented her own choreographic work from her studio, established a school, and taught widely. Atkinson was concerned with the systematic development of skill and artistry, based on an extension of the natural functions of the human body. Her work was disseminated nationally and internationally through the teaching of graded syllabi and the craft of choreography. She made a significant contribution to dance in the early twentieth century through her role as a female artist and her privileging of a holistic but skilled approach to movement, from which evolved a new dance language. In accord with the ethos of the times but in her own unique way, she constructed and contested the concept of the “natural” in theater dance.