Raymond Dart (1893 – 1988) was an Australian anatomist and anthropologist best known for his discovery in 1924 of a fossil of Australopithecus at Taung in Northwestern South Africa. The son of a farmer and tradesman, he was married twice and had two children.
The Dart Procedures, developed by Joan and Alexander Murray, are a series of exploratory poses and movements relating to the sequence of human developmental movement from infant to adult. They correspond to F. M. Alexander’s understanding of human poise and coordination, and are done while applying the Technique. They are based on the work of Professor Raymond Dart, thus the name. While Dart is widely recognized as one of the pre-eminent anatomists, anthropologists and paleontologists of the 20th Century, it is less well known that he had great interest in developmental physiology and human developmental movement as exhibited by infants and young children. Dart was initially introduced to the Alexander Technique in 1943 by Irene Tasker in South Africa. Beginning in 1967, from close readings of several of Dart’s many published papers and personal visits with Dart himself, the Murrays expanded on what they understood from Dart and developed the Procedures as a way of exploring human developmental movement with adults while using the principles of the Alexander Technique.
Dart had a single lesson with Alexander himself in 1949 and maintained that Alexander influenced him for the rest of his life. In March 1970, Dart delivered the F. M. Alexander Memorial lecture titled “An Anatomist’s Tribute to F. Matthias Alexander” to the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique in London. He died in Johannesburg in 1988 at the age of 95.
Read more on the origins of the Dart Procedures:
Beginning From the Beginning:
The Growth of Understanding and Skill
by Marian Goldberg
Think smart, function with ease