ISSN 1652–7224  :::  Published november 30, 2005
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Danish Gymnastics and Sports Culture in North America: How Danish Popular Sports Culture and Gymnastics Settled in North America

Lise Warren Pedersen
Institut for Idræt, Københavns Universitet




Danish sports organizations have a tradition of creating international relations and exchanges. The relations and exchanges are not entirely based on sport but also on other elements of the Danish sports culture such as democracy, volunteerism, the philosophy of Niels Frederik Severin Grundtvig and the Danish folk school. This article discussed one of those relations, started by two women in 1925, and traces the connection to an ongoing relation and exchange with the Danish Gymnastics and Sports Association (DGI) called the ‘Danish American Exchange’, and the creation of ‘Danish Style Gymnastics’ in Berea, Kentucky, USA.

Through an analysis of the history and actions that lead to changes and development, on both the Danish and American side, I have explored the efforts and forces that have lead to the development of the Danish American Exchange and the cultural aspects of importing and exchanging sports culture and ideology. As a direct result of the history, Berea now has a non-competitive and democratic gymnastics club and Berea College has for the last ten years had a Danish American Exchange program teaching Danish Style Gymnastics and introducing Danish sports and movement philosophy. The program has given different perspectives on pedagogy, teaching style and communication especially related to non-verbal communication and kinaesthetic. Body image, healthy active living and physical activities have been subjects of discussion where cultures have met on a personal level.





Copyright © Lisa Warren Pedersen 2005.

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