Raymond Arthur Dart (1893–1988), Australian-born anatomist and anthropologist. He was the originator of what is now known as the Dart procedures.
Dart, Raymond Arthur (1893–1988) was an Australian-born South African anatomist and anthropologist. He graduated in medicine at Sydney in 1917, and became Professor of Anatomy in Johannesburg in 1923. He achieved international fame as an anthropologist with his discovery of a branch of the human family, Australopithecus africanus, in 1925. It was the first early human fossil found in Africa, and it helped to shift the focus to Africa as the birthplace of mankind.
Connection with the Alexander Technique
Having lessons in the Technique with Irene Tasker in September and October 1943 led Dart to the study of the embryological and neurological origin of the erect posture and the importance of poise for learning. When Irene Tasker left South Africa Dart experimented with a series of ‘developmental’ movements, both for himself and for his son who had had suffered motor damage during birth in 1941. The series of movements became later known as the Dart procedures. The consideration of upright posture, poise, and body symmetry inspired him to write several articles in which the Alexander Technique is mentioned: ‘The Postural Aspect of Malocclusion’ (1946), ‘The Attainment of Poise’ (1947) and ‘Voluntary Musculature of the Human Body: The Double–Spiral Arrangement’ (1950). In 1970 he gave the F. M. Alexander Memorial Lecture, ‘An Anatomist’s Tribute to F. Matthias Alexander’. He continued to write and lecture after his retirement in 1958 and was involved with the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, in Philadelphia, USA.
- A collection of Dart’s articles on or related to the Alexander Technique were published as Skill and Poise.
- Dart also wrote a short Preface to Edward Maisel’s The Resurrection of the Body, which however was not included in later editions.
- A biography, Dart: Man of Science and Grit by Frances Wheelhouse and Kathaleen S. Smithford, was published in 2001.
- A short introduction to Dart and the Alexander Technique is provided in ‘Raymond A. Dart and F. M. Alexander’ by Alex Murray.
See also Dart procedures.