We are sorry to report the passing of long-standing BSA member, Gordon Curl, aged 93. Gordon was a tutor and writer on the aesthetic qualities of dance, and was very recently appointed President of the Laban Guild for Movement and Dance.
Following service in the Royal Navy in WW2, Gordon trained at Culham (Oxon) and Carnegie College (Leeds) from 1948-1951, where he read Combined Arts, Physical Education and Dance. Following teaching at Kingham Hill School (Oxon), in 1954 he was appointed to the staff of Bretton Hall College of Music, Art and Drama in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where he taught Dance, Aesthetics and some instrumental music. Over many years he attended Summer Schools in Dance with Rudolf Laban.
In 1960 Gordon was appointed Principal Lecturer in Combined Arts (including Dance) at Chelsea College Eastbourne. Whilst there, he invited Kurt Jooss and his Ballet Company from Germany to perform The Green Table to capacity audiences in the Congress Theatre Eastbourne in 1966.
Gordon acquired an MEd with a Critical Study of Rudolf Laban’s Theory and Practice of Movement and an MA (with Distinction) in Aesthetics at London University. In 1969 he was appointed to take charge of degree studies at Nonington College Dover and later as part-time tutor to the MA Course in Expressive Arts at Canterbury Christ Church University. He became External Examiner in Dance at Sussex University, De Montfort University and The Royal Academy of Dance and Chaired the London University Movement Studies Panel in the 70s. He was Chair of NATFHE Dance for 20 years, organising large-scale conferences in London, Warwick, Aberystwyth and Bath Universities. Among his guest presenters were Martha Graham, Alwin Nikolais, Robert Cohan and Dame Beryl Grey, as well as National Dance Critics. For six years Gordon chaired the Laban Guild Council and for a further six years edited their Magazine Movement, Dance and Drama – to which he has been a contributor – not least with regular reviews of Michael Platt’s vibrant productions of Suffolk Youth Theatre.
Former Editor of the British Journal of Aesthetics, Terry Diffey, recollects, “Towards the end of Harold Osborne’s editorship of the BJA, arts specialists in Colleges of Education took an interest in what they called ‘aesthetic education’. Conferences under this heading were held at several of the colleges. It was in this context that I came across Gordon Curl. . . [In the late 70s] the Society had quite a strong membership base from people in art education and dance. I didn’t know Gordon personally but anyone who googles his name will come across at least 10 entries: a profusion of riches.”