Physical Culture Drills and Alberta Girls Stepping Together Across Time

in Girlhood Studies
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Abstract

By embodying movement vocabulary and physical culture drills drawn from a 1911 textbook of physical exercises, in this girl-centred research project we examined how Alberta girls (aged 7 to 22) during the COVID-19 pandemic challenged ideas about Alberta settler girls who lived 100 years ago. Using performance-based historiography as a methodology, participants explored what embodying physical culture movement vocabulary could reveal about archives, past girls, and themselves. Debriefing led to insights concerning relevant social issues, such as gender equity, and current experiences like a growing appreciation for pre-pandemic community-oriented life. In asking provocative questions about the past, these girls demonstrated their potential to shift perceptions of how historically located and contemporary girls are imagined.

Contributor Notes

Heather Fitzsimmons Frey (ORCID: 0000-0003-0595-1158), an Assistant Professor of Arts and Cultural Management at MacEwan University, conducts research on past and present performance for, by, and with young people. Previous girl-centred performance research has been published in Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (2016), Jeunesse (2018) and Journal of Childhood Studies (2019) and is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture. Email: fitzsimmons-freyh@macewan.ca

Jenna Kerekes (ORCID: 0000-0003-3615-8945), a second year Arts and Cultural Management student at MacEwan University, is majoring in Fine Arts and Communications. She has performed in many musical theatre shows at Stageworks Academy of the Performing Arts and has dabbled in many different physical activities including gymnastics and dance. Email: kerekesj3@mymacewan.ca

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