Isadora Duncan

Angela Isadora Duncan (May 26, 1877 or May 27, 1878[a] – September 14, 1927) was an American and French dancer who performed to acclaim throughout Europe. Born in California, she lived in Western Europe and the Soviet Union from the age of 22 until her death at age 50, when her scarf became entangled in the wheels and axle of the car in which she was riding.[1]

Isadora Duncan
Isadora Duncan portrait cropped
Angela Isadora Duncan

May 26, 1877[a]
San Francisco, California, U.S.
DiedSeptember 14, 1927 (aged 50)[a]
Nice, France
NationalityAmerica, French, Soviet
Known forDance and choreography
MovementModern/contemporary dance
Sergei Yesenin
(m. 1922; separation 1923)
Partner(s)Edward Gordon Craig
Paris Singer
Romano Romanelli
Mercedes de Acosta

Early life

Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco, the youngest of the four children of Joseph Charles Duncan (1819–1898), a banker, mining engineer and connoisseur of the arts, and Mary Isadora Gray (1849–1922). Her brothers were Augustin Duncan and Raymond Duncan;[2] her sister, Elizabeth Duncan, was also a dancer.[3][4] Soon after Isadora's birth, her father was exposed in illegal bank dealings, and the family became extremely poor.[2]

Her parents divorced when she was an infant,[5] and her mother moved with her family to Oakland, California, where she worked as a seamstress and piano teacher. From ages six to ten, Isadora attended school, but she dropped out, finding it constricting. As her family was very poor, she and her three siblings earned money by teaching dance to local children.[2]

In 1896, Duncan became part of Augustin Daly's theater company in New York, but she soon became disillusioned with the form and craved a different environment with less of a hierarchy.[6] Her father, along with his third wife and their daughter, died in 1898 when the British passenger steamer SS Mohegan ran aground off the coast of Cornwall.[7]


Isadora Duncan (grayscale)
Photo by Arnold Genthe of Duncan performing barefoot during her 1915–1918 American tour
Brooklyn Museum - Isadora Duncan 29 - Abraham Walkowitz
Abraham Walkowitz's Isadora Duncan #29, one of many works of art she inspired.

Duncan began her dancing career at a very early age by giving lessons in her home to neighbourhood children, and this continued through her teenage years.[8] Her novel approach to dance was evident in these early classes, in which she "followed [her] fantasy and improvised, teaching any pretty thing that came into [her] head".[9] A desire to travel brought her to Chicago, where she auditioned for many theater companies, finally finding a place in Augustin Daly's company. This took her to New York City where her unique vision of dance clashed with the popular pantomimes of theater companies.[10] In New York, Duncan took some classes with Marie Bonfanti but was quickly disappointed in ballet routine.

Feeling unhappy and unappreciated in America, Duncan moved to London in 1898. She performed in the drawing rooms of the wealthy, taking inspiration from the Greek vases and bas-reliefs in the British Museum.[11][12] The earnings from these engagements enabled her to rent a studio, allowing her to develop her work and create larger performances for the stage.[13] From London, she traveled to Paris, where she was inspired by the Louvre and the Exposition Universelle of 1900.[14]

In 1902, Loie Fuller invited Duncan to tour with her. This took Duncan all over Europe as she created new works using her innovative technique,[15] which emphasized natural movement in contrast to the rigidity of tradition ballet.[16] She spent most of the rest of her life touring Europe and the Americas in this fashion.[17] Despite mixed reaction from critics, Duncan became quite popular for her distinctive style and inspired many visual artists, such as Antoine Bourdelle, Auguste Rodin, Arnold Rönnebeck, and Abraham Walkowitz, to create works based on her.[18]

Duncan disliked the commercial aspects of public performance, such as touring and contracts, because she felt they distracted her from her real mission, namely the creation of beauty and the education of the young. To achieve her mission, she opened schools to teach young women her philosophy of dance. The first was established in 1904 in Berlin-Grunewald, Germany. This institution was the birthplace of the "Isadorables" (Anna, Maria-Theresa, Irma, Liesel, Gretel, and Erika[19]), Duncan's protégées who would continue her legacy.[20] Duncan legally adopted all six girls in 1919, and they took her last name.[21] After about a decade in Berlin, Duncan established a school in Paris that was shortly closed because of the outbreak of World War I.[22]

In 1910, Duncan met the occultist Aleister Crowley at a party, an episode recounted by Crowley in his Confessions.[23] He refers to Duncan as "Lavinia King", and would use the same invented name for her in his novel Moonchild. Crowley wrote of Duncan that she "has this gift of gesture in a very high degree. Let the reader study her dancing, if possible in private than in public, and learn the superb 'unconsciousness' — which is magical consciousness — with which she suits the action to the melody."[24] Crowley was, in fact, more attracted to Duncan's bohemian companion Mary Dempsey (a.k.a. Mary D'Este or Desti), with whom he had an affair. Desti had come to Paris in 1901 where she soon met Duncan, and the two became inseparable. Desti also appeared in Moonchild, as "Lisa la Giuffria" She joined Crowley's occult order, helping him to write his magnum opus Magick (Book 4) under her magical name of "Soror Virakam"; she also co-edited four numbers of Crowley's journal The Equinox, and contributed several collaborative plays to the journal. Desti wrote a memoir of her experiences with Duncan that includes some autobiographical material.[25]

In 1911, the French fashion designer Paul Poiret rented a mansion — Pavillon du Butard in La Celle-Saint-Cloud — and threw lavish parties, including one of the more famous grandes fêtes, La fête de Bacchus on June 20, 1912, re-creating the Bacchanalia hosted by Louis XIV at Versailles. Isadora Duncan, wearing a Greek evening gown designed by Poiret,[26] danced on tables among 300 guests; 900 bottles of champagne were consumed until the first light of day.[26]

Portrait photograph of Isadora Duncan
Duncan c.1916–1918

Duncan, said to have posed for the photographer Eadweard Muybridge,[27] placed an emphasis on "evolutionary" dance motion, insisting that each movement was born from the one that preceded it, that each movement gave rise to the next, and so on in organic succession. Her dancing defined the force of progress, change, abstraction and liberation. In France, as elsewhere, Duncan delighted her audience.[28]

In 1914, Duncan moved to the United States and transferred her school there. A townhouse on Gramercy Park was provided for its use, and its studio was nearby, on the northeast corner of 23rd Street and Fourth Avenue (now Park Avenue South).[29] Otto Kahn, the head of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., gave Duncan use of the very modern Century Theatre at West 60th Street and Central Park West for her performances and productions, which included a staging of Oedipus Rex that involved almost all of Duncan's extended entourage and friends.[30] During her time in New York, Duncan posed for a number of studies by the photographer Arnold Genthe.

Duncan had been due to leave the United States in 1915 aboard the RMS Lusitania on its ill-fated voyage, but historians believe her financial situation at the time drove her to choose a more modest crossing.[31] In 1921, Duncan's leftist sympathies took her to the Soviet Union, where she founded a school in Moscow. However, the Soviet government's failure to follow through on promises to support her work caused her to return to the West and leave the school to her protégée Irma.[32] In 1924, Duncan composed a dance routine called Varshavianka to the tune of the Polish revolutionary song known in English as Whirlwinds of Danger.[33]

Philosophy and technique

Isadora Duncan 1
Duncan in a Greek-inspired pose and wearing her signature Greek tunic. She took inspiration from the classical Greek arts and combined them with an American athleticism to form a new philosophy of dance, in opposition to the rigidity of traditional ballet.

Breaking with convention, Duncan imagined she had traced dance to its roots as a sacred art.[34] She developed from this notion a style of free and natural movements inspired by the classical Greek arts, folk dances, social dances, nature and natural forces as well as an approach to the new American athleticism which included skipping, running, jumping, leaping and tossing.

Duncan's philosophy of dance moved away from rigid ballet technique and towards what she perceived as natural movement. To restore dance to a high art form instead of merely entertainment, she strove to connect emotions and movement: "I spent long days and nights in the studio seeking that dance which might be the divine expression of the human spirit through the medium of the body's movement."[35] She believed dance was meant to encircle all that life had to offer—joy and sadness. Duncan took inspiration from ancient Greece and combined it with an American love of freedom. Her movement was feminine and arose from the deepest feelings in her body. This is exemplified in her revolutionary costume of a white Greek tunic and bare feet. Inspired by Greek forms, her tunics also allowed a freedom of movement that corseted ballet costumes and pointe shoes did not.[36] Costumes were not the only inspiration Duncan took from Greece: she was also inspired by ancient Greek art, and utilized some of its forms in her movement (see image).[37]

Duncan wrote of American dancing: "let them come forth with great strides, leaps and bounds, with lifted forehead and far-spread arms, to dance."[38] Her focus on natural movement emphasized steps, such as skipping, outside of codified ballet technique. Duncan also cited the sea as an early inspiration for her movement.[39] Also, she believed movement originated from the solar plexus, which she thought was the source of all movement.[35] It is this philosophy and new dance technique that garnered Duncan the title of the creator of modern dance.

Photo gallery

Isadora Duncan studies 1
Isadora Duncan studies 4
Isadora Duncan studies 5

Personal life

Isadora Duncan and her children
Duncan with her children Deirdre and Patrick, in 1913

In both professional and private life, Duncan flouted traditional mores and morality. She was bisexual[40] and an atheist,[41] and alluded to her communism during her last United States tour, in 1922–23: she waved a red scarf and bared her breast on stage in Boston, proclaiming, "This is red! So am I!"[42]

Duncan bore two children, both out of wedlock. The first, Deirdre Beatrice (born September 24, 1906), by theatre designer Gordon Craig, and the second, Patrick Augustus (born May 1, 1910),[43] by Paris Singer, one of the many sons of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer. Both children drowned in the care of their nanny in 1913 when their runaway car went into the Seine.[43]

Following the accident, Duncan spent several months recuperating in Corfu with her brother and sister. She then spent several weeks at the Viareggio seaside resort with the actress Eleonora Duse. The fact that Duse had just left a relationship with the rebellious and epicene young feminist Lina Poletti fueled speculation as to the nature of Duncan and Duse's relationship, but there has never been any indication that the two were involved romantically.[44]

1923. Esen duncan
Duncan and Sergei Yesenin

In her autobiography, Duncan relates that she begged a young Italian stranger, the sculptor Romano Romanelli,[45] to sleep with her because she was desperate for another baby. She became pregnant by him, and gave birth to a son on August 13, 1914; the infant died shortly after birth.[46][47]

In 1921, after the end of the Russian Revolution, Duncan moved to Moscow where she met the acclaimed poet Sergei Yesenin, who was 18 years her junior. On May 2, 1922, they married, and Yesenin accompanied her on a tour of Europe and the United States. However, the marriage was brief, and in May 1923 he left Duncan and returned to Moscow. Two years later, on December 28, 1925, Yesenin was found dead in his room in the Hotel Angleterre in St Petersburg in an apparent suicide.[48]

Duncan had a relationship with the poet and playwright Mercedes de Acosta, as documented in numerous revealing letters they wrote to each other.[49] In one, Duncan wrote, "Mercedes, lead me with your little strong hands and I will follow you – to the top of a mountain. To the end of the world. Wherever you wish."[50]

Later life

By the late 1920s, Duncan's performing career had dwindled, and she became as notorious for her financial woes, scandalous love life and all-too-frequent public drunkenness as for her contributions to the arts. She spent her final years moving between Paris and the Mediterranean, running up debts at hotels. She spent short periods in apartments rented on her behalf by a decreasing number of friends and supporters, many of whom attempted to assist her in writing an autobiography. They hoped it might be successful enough to support her. In a reminiscent sketch, Zelda Fitzgerald wrote how she and F. Scott Fitzgerald, her husband, sat in a Paris cafe watching a somewhat drunk Duncan. He would speak of how memorable it was, but what Zelda recalled was that while all eyes were watching Duncan, Zelda was able to steal the salt and pepper shakers from the table.[51]

In his book Isadora, an Intimate Portrait, Sewell Stokes, who met Duncan in the last years of her life, describes her extravagant waywardness. Duncan's autobiography My Life was published in 1927. The Australian composer Percy Grainger called Isadora's autobiography a "life-enriching masterpiece."[52]


AX Isadora Duncan Tomb crop
Duncan's tomb at Père Lachaise Cemetery

On the night of September 14, 1927, in Nice, France, Duncan was a passenger in an Amilcar CGSS automobile owned by Benoît Falchetto, a French-Italian mechanic. She wore a long, flowing, hand-painted silk scarf, created by the Russian-born artist Roman Chatov, a gift from her friend Mary Desti, the mother of American film director Preston Sturges. Desti, who saw Duncan off, had asked her to wear a cape in the open-air vehicle because of the cold weather, but she would only agree to wear the scarf.[53] As they departed, she reportedly said to Desti and some companions, "Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire!" ("Farewell, my friends. I go to glory!"); but according to the American novelist Glenway Wescott, Desti later told him that Duncan's actual parting words were, "Je vais à l'amour" ("I am off to love"). Desti considered this embarrassing, as it suggested that she and Falchetto were going to her hotel for a tryst.[54][55][56]

Her silk scarf, draped around her neck, became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and rear axle, pulling her from the open car and breaking her neck.[1] Desti said she called out to warn Duncan about the scarf almost immediately after the car left. Desti brought Duncan to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.[53]

As The New York Times noted in its obituary, Duncan "met a tragic death at Nice on the Riviera." "According to dispatches from Nice, Duncan was hurled in an extraordinary manner from an open automobile in which she was riding and instantly killed by the force of her fall to the stone pavement."[57] Other sources noted that she was almost decapitated by the sudden tightening of the scarf around her neck.[58] The accident gave rise to Gertrude Stein's mordant remark that "affectations can be dangerous".[59] At the time of her death, Duncan was a Soviet citizen. Her will was the first of a Soviet citizen's to be probated in the U.S.[60]

Duncan was cremated, and her ashes were placed next to those of her children[61] in the columbarium at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.[62] On the headstone of her grave is inscribed École du Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris ("Ballet School of the Opera of Paris").


Duncan is known as "The Mother of Dance". While her schools in Europe did not last long, Duncan's work had impact in the art and her style is still danced based upon the instruction of Maria-Theresa Duncan,[63] Anna Duncan,[64] and Irma Duncan,[65] three of her six adopted daughters. The adoption process was never verified, but all six of Isadora's dancers did change their last name to Duncan. Through her sister, Elizabeth, Duncan's approach was adopted by Jarmila Jeřábková from Prague where her legacy persists.[66] By 1913 she was already being celebrated. When the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées was built, Duncan's likeness was carved in its bas-relief over the entrance by sculptor Antoine Bourdelle and included in painted murals of the nine muses by Maurice Denis in the auditorium. In 1987, she was inducted into the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame.

Anna, Lisa,[67] Theresa and Irma, pupils of Isadora Duncan's first school, carried on the aesthetic and pedagogical principles of Isadora's work in New York and Paris. Choreographer and dancer Julia Levien was also instrumental in furthering Duncan's work through the formation of the Duncan Dance Guild in the 1950s and the establishment of the Duncan Centenary Company in 1977.[68]

Another means by which Duncan's dance techniques were carried forth was in the formation of the Isadora Duncan Heritage Society, by Mignon Garland, who had been taught dance by two of Duncan's key students. Garland was such a fan that she later lived in a building erected at the same site and address as Duncan, attached a commemorative plaque near the entrance, which is still there as of 2016. Garland also succeeded in having San Francisco rename an alley on the same block from Adelaide Place to Isadora Duncan Lane.[69][70]

In medicine, the Isadora Duncan Syndrome refers to injury or death consequent to entanglement of neckwear with a wheel or other machinery.[71]

In popular culture

Duncan has attracted literary and artistic attention from the 1920s to the present, in novels, film, ballet, theatre, music, and poetry.

Duncan has been portrayed in novels including Aleister Crowley's Moonchild (as 'Lavinia King'), published in 1923,[72] and Upton Sinclair's World's End (1940) and Between Two Worlds (1941), the first two novels in his Pulitzer Prize winning Lanny Budd series.[73] She is also the subject of Amelia Gray's novel Isadora (2017).[74] Two characters in the A Series of Unfortunate Events series of novels are named after her, Isadora Quagmire and Duncan Quagmire.[75]

Among the films featuring Duncan are:

Ballets based on Duncan include:

On the theatre stage, Duncan is portrayed in:

Duncan is featured in music in:

In the poem Fever 103 by Sylvia Plath, the speaker alludes to Isadora's scarves.[87]

See also


  1. ^ a b c While Duncan's birth date is widely given as May 27, 1878, her posthumously discovered baptismal certificate records May 26, 1877. Any corroborating documents that might have existed were likely destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. See Stokes, Sewell. "Isadora Duncan". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 28 May 2015.


  1. ^ a b Craine, Debra; Mackrell, Judith (2000). The Oxford Dictionary of Dance (First ed.). Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press. p. 152. ISBN 9780198601067. OCLC 45663394.
  2. ^ a b c Deborah Jowitt (1989). Time and the Dancing Image. University of California Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-520-06627-4.
  3. ^ Genthe, Arnold (photographer). "Elizabeth Duncan dancer". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2017-10-07.
  4. ^ Lilian Karina; Marion Kant (January 2004). Hitler's Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third Reich. Berghahn Books. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-57181-688-7.
  5. ^ Duncan (1927), p. 17
  6. ^ International encyclopedia of dance : a project of Dance Perspectives Foundation, Inc. Cohen, Selma Jeanne, 1920-2005., Dance Perspectives Foundation. (1st paperback ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. 2004. ISBN 9780195173697. OCLC 57374499.CS1 maint: others (link)
  7. ^ Ean Wood, Headlong Through Life: The Story of Isadora Duncan (2006), p. 27: "They...would all be drowned, along with 104 others, when the S.S. Mohegan, en route from London to New York, ran aground on the Manacle Rocks off Falmouth, in Cornwall."
  8. ^ O'Connor, B. (1994). Barefoot Dancer: The Story of Isadora Duncan. Carolrhoda Books. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-87614-807-5. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  9. ^ Duncan (1927), p. 21
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  11. ^ Duncan (1927), p. 55
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  13. ^ Duncan (1927), p. 58
  14. ^ Duncan (1927), p. 69
  15. ^ Duncan (1927), p. 94
  16. ^ Jowitt, Deborah. Time and the Dancing Image. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989. p. 71
  17. ^ Kurth (2001), p. 155
  18. ^ Setzer, Dawn. "UCLA Library Acquires Isadora Duncan Collection", UCLA Newsroom, last modified April 21, 2006
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  23. ^ Abridged ed, p. 676.
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  • De Fina, Pamela. Maria Theresa: Divine Being, Guided by a Higher Order. Pittsburgh: Dorrance, 2003. ISBN 0-8059-4960-7
  • Duncan, Anna. Anna Duncan: In the footsteps of Isadora. Stockholm: Dansmuseet, 1995. ISBN 91-630-3782-3
  • Duncan, Doralee; Pratl, Carol and Splatt, Cynthia (eds.) Life Into Art. Isadora Duncan and Her World. Foreword by Agnes de Mille. Text by Cynthia Splatt. Hardcover. 199 pages. W. W. Norton & Company, 1993. ISBN 0-393-03507-7
  • Duncan, Irma. The Technique of Isadora Duncan. Illustrated. Photographs by Hans V. Briesex. Posed by Isadora, Irma and the Duncan pupils. Austria: Karl Piller, 1937. ISBN 0-87127-028-5
  • Duncan, Isadora. My Life. New York: Boni and Liveright, 1927. OCLC 738636
  • Duncan, Isadora; Cheney, Sheldon (ed.) The Art of the Dance. New York: Theater Arts, 1928. ISBN 0-87830-005-8
  • Kurth, Peter. Isadora: A Sensational Life. Little Brown, 2001. ISBN 0-316-50726-1
  • Levien, Julia. Duncan Dance: A Guide for Young People Ages Six to Sixteen. Illustrated. Dance Horizons, 1994. ISBN 0-87127-198-2
  • Peter, Frank-Manuel (ed.) Isadora & Elizabeth Duncan in Germany. Cologne: Wienand Verlag, 2000. ISBN 3-87909-645-7
  • Savinio, Alberto. Isadora Duncan, in Narrate, uomini, la vostra storia. Bompiani,1942, Adelphi, 1984.
  • Schanke, Robert That Furious Lesbian: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta. Carbondale, Ill: Southern Illinois Press, 2003.
  • Stokes, Sewell. Isadora, an Intimate Portrait. New York: Brentanno's Ltd, 1928.
  • Sturges, Preston; Sturges, Sandy (adapt. & ed.) (1991), Preston Sturges on Preston Sturges, Boston: Faber & Faber, ISBN 0571164250

Further reading

External links

Archival collections


AXIS Dance Company

AXIS Dance Company is a professional physically integrated contemporary dance company and dance education organization founded in 1987 and based in Oakland, California. It is one of the first contemporary dance companies in the world to consciously develop choreography that integrates dancers with and without physical disabilities. Their work has received nine Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and nine additional nominations for both their artistry and production values.

Abraham Walkowitz

Abraham Walkowitz (March 28, 1878 - January 27, 1965) was an American painter grouped in with early American Modernists working in the Modernist style.

Amilcar CGSS

The Amilcar CGSS (or CGSs) was a sporting car made by the Amilcar company from 1926 to 1929. The second S stood for surbaisse and the car was a lowered version of the CGS.

Isadora Duncan, the American dancer, died in a CGSS when her silk scarf became entangled around the open-spoked wheels.

Dancer in a Café

Danseuse au café (also known as Dancer in a Café or Au Café Concert and Danseuse) is a large oil painting created in 1912 by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger (1883–1956). The work was exhibited in Paris at the Salon d'Automne of 1912, entitled Danseuse. The Cubist contribution to the 1912 Salon d'Automne created a controversy in the Municipal Council of Paris, leading to a debate in the Chambre des Députés about the use of public funds to provide the venue for such 'barbaric' art. The Cubists were defended by the Socialist deputy, Marcel Sembat. This painting was realized as Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger, in preparation for the Salon de la Section d'Or, published a major defence of Cubism, resulting in the first theoretical essay on the new movement, Du «Cubisme». Danseuse au café was first reproduced in a photograph published in an article entitled Au Salon d'Automne "Les Indépendants" in the French newspaper Excelsior, 2 Octobre 1912. The painting is now located at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo New York.

Free dance

Free dance is a 20th-century dance form that preceded modern dance. Rebelling against the rigid constraints of classical ballet, Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis (with her work in theater) developed their own styles of free dance and laid the foundations of American modern dance with their choreography and teaching. In Europe, Rudolf Laban, Emile Jaques-Dalcroze and François Delsarte developed their own theories of human movement and methods of instruction that led to the development of European modern and Expressionist dance.

Free dance was prolific in Central and Eastern Europe, where national schools were created, such as the School of Musical Movement (Heptachor), in Russia, and the Orkesztika School, in Hungary.

Josh Owings added much to the style of Free Dance in North America. His style revolved around swift body movements combined with passionate facial expressions.

Another pioneer of the sport was Andrew Saah. He created the "flying chinaman" move that introduced a distinct sect of Asian males to free dance liberation movement.

Interpretive dance

Interpretive dance is a family of modern dance styles that began around 1900 with Isadora Duncan. It used classical concert music but marked a departure from traditional concert dance. It seeks to translate human emotions, conditions, situations or fantasies into movement and dramatic expression, or else adapts traditional ethnic movements into more modern expressions.The effect of interpretive dance can be seen in many Broadway musicals as well as in other media. While it was—and most often, still is—thought of as a performing art, interpretive dance does not have to be performed with music. It often includes grandiloquent movements of the arms, turns and drops to the floor. It is frequently enhanced by lavish costumes, ribbons or spandex body suits.


Isadora (also known as The Loves of Isadora) is a 1968 biographical film which tells the story of celebrated American dancer Isadora Duncan. It stars Vanessa Redgrave, James Fox, and Jason Robards.

The film was adapted by Melvyn Bragg, Margaret Drabble, and Clive Exton from the books My Life by Isadora and Isadora, an Intimate Portrait by Sewell Stokes. It was directed by Karel Reisz.

It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress (Vanessa Redgrave). The film was also nominated for the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival, where Redgrave won Best Actress.

Isadora (ballet)

Isadora is a ballet created for the Royal Ballet by Kenneth MacMillan to music by Richard Rodney Bennett with a scenario by Gillian Freeman, based on the life and dance of Isadora Duncan.

In following the life of Isadora Duncan, the title role is taken jointly by a ballerina and by an actress, whose spoken text is drawn from sections of the memoirs of Duncan. Following the initial run at Covent Garden and performances New York, the ballet was not seen until revised in consultation with MacMillan's widow, and revived by the company in 2009. The scenario in the ballet concentrates on the dramatic events in Duncan's personal life and her relationships with four of her partners.The first performance of Isadora was at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 30 April 1981 with Merle Park in the title role. Designs were by Barry Kay.The ballet was featured in the 50th anniversary BBC programme 'Right Royal Company', in May 1981 and was filmed by Granada Television with the original cast and broadcast in 1982, subsequently being issued on DVD in 2011 by Odeon Entertainment, as the accompaniment to the 1968 feature film Isadora.In 1976 Frederick Ashton had created a short solo dance sequence entitled Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan for Lynn Seymour of the Royal Ballet, in which "Ashton fused Duncan's style with an imprint of his own"; Marie Rambert claimed after seeing it that it was exactly as she remembered Duncan dancing.

Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World

Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World is a BBC TV film based on the life of the American dancer Isadora Duncan first broadcast on 22 September 1966. The film was directed and produced by Ken Russell and written by Sewell Stokes and Russell. It starred Vivian Pickles and Peter Bowles.

Isadora Duncan Dance Awards

The Isadora Duncan Dance Awards or Izzies honor San Francisco Bay Area dance artists for outstanding achievements in a range of categories including: choreography, sustained achievement, individual performance, company performance, costume design, and set design. The awards are presented annually and named in honor of Isadora Duncan. The awards began in 1986 and were revitalized in 2004 via a partnership with Bay Area National Dance Week after a slump due, in part, to a perceived lack of credibility.


The Isadorables were a group of six young girls, Anna Denzler, Maria-Theresa Kruger, Irma Erich-Grimme, Elizabeth Milker, Margot Jehl, and Erica Lohmann, who danced under the instruction of Isadora Duncan. Their nickname was given to them by the French poet Fernand Divoire in 1909. They were all later given the Duncan last name when Isadora adopted them.

The girls, mostly German, danced in modern style (they were known as "Barefoot" and "Aesthetic Dancers") between 1905 and 1920. They emerged from Duncan's established schools, then had careers with Duncan herself. Later, they separated from their mentor to dance as their own group before they disbanded.

Julia Levien

Julia Levien (October 9, 1911 – September 3, 2006) was an American dancer, dance teacher, and choreographer. She was an expert on the dances of Isadora Duncan and taught Duncan's style of dance. She was a dance pupil of Anna Duncan, Isadora's daughter, and founded the Duncan Dance Guild in the 1950s and the Duncan Centenary Company in 1977. She died at the age of 94 at her home on Roosevelt Island. One of her pupils was dancer Annabelle Gamson.

Modern dance

Modern dance is a broad genre of western concert or theatrical dance, primarily arising out of Germany and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Modern dance is often considered to have emerged as a rejection of, or rebellion against, classical ballet. Socioeconomic and cultural factors also contributed to its development. In the late 19th century, dance artists such as Isadora Duncan, Maud Allan, and Loie Fuller were pioneering new forms and practices in what is now called aesthetic or free dance for performance. These dancers disregarded ballet's strict movement vocabulary, the particular, limited set of movements that were considered proper to ballet, and stopped wearing corsets and pointe shoes in the search for greater freedom of movement.

Throughout the 20th century, sociopolitical concerns, major historical events, and the development of other art forms contributed to the continued development of modernist dance in the United States and Germany. Moving into the 1960s, new ideas about dance began to emerge, as a response to earlier dance forms and to social changes. Eventually, postmodern dance artists would reject the formalism of modern dance, and include elements such as performance art, contact improvisation, release technique, and improvisation.American modern dance can be divided (roughly) into three periods or eras. In the Early Modern period (c. 1880–1923), characterized by the work of Isadora Duncan, Loie Fuller, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and Eleanor King, artistic practice changed radically, but clearly distinct modern dance techniques had not yet emerged. In the Central Modern period (c. 1923–1946), choreographers Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Katherine Dunham, Charles Weidman, and Lester Horton sought to develop distinctively American movement styles and vocabularies, and developed clearly defined and recognizable dance training systems. In the Late Modern period (c. 1946–1957), José Limón, Pearl Primus, Merce Cunningham, Talley Beatty, Erick Hawkins, Anna Sokolow, Anna Halprin, Paul Taylor introduced clear abstractionism and avant-garde movements, and paved the way for postmodern dance.Modern dance has evolved with each subsequent generation of participating artists. Artistic content has morphed and shifted from one choreographer to another, as have styles and techniques. Artists such as Graham and Horton developed techniques in the Central Modern Period that are still taught worldwide, and numerous other types of modern dance exist today.

Moonchild (novel)

Moonchild is a novel written by the British occultist Aleister Crowley in 1917. Its plot involves a magical war between a group of white magicians, led by Simon Iff, and a group of black magicians, over an unborn child. It was first published by Mandrake Press in 1929 and its recent edition is published by Weiser.

In this work, numerous acquaintances of Crowley appear as thinly disguised fictional characters. Crowley portrays MacGregor Mathers as the primary villain, including him as a character named SRMD, using the abbreviation of Mathers' magical name. Arthur Edward Waite appears as a villain named Arthwaite, and the unseen head of the Inner Circle of which SRMD was a member, "A.B." is theosophist Annie Besant. Among Crowley's friends and allies Allen Bennett appears as Mahatera Phang, the dancer Isadora Duncan appears as Lavinia King, and her companion Mary D'Este (who helped Crowley write his magnum opus Magick: Book 4 under her magical name 'Soror Virakam') appears as Lisa la Giuffria. Cyril Grey is Crowley himself, while Simon Iff is either an idealized version of an older and wiser Crowley or his friend Allen Bennett.


Oneonethousand is the third full-length studio album by American post-hardcore band Burden of a Day. The album was released on May 12, 2009. It is their second album with Rise Records, and the first with lead singer Kyle Tamosaitis.The album debuted at #21 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart and #25 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart.

Plaza Hotel (Havana)

The Plaza Hotel (aka Hotel Plaza) is a four-story historic hotel located in the Old Havana section of Havana.

The Plaza Hotel was founded by Captain Walter Fletcher Smith, and was built from an existing colonial building. It was designed by Ricardo Galbis Abella, and constructed by the New York firm of Purdy and Henderson, Engineers. The hotel opened in 1906 and was inaugurated in 1909. The hotel was renovated in 1919 with a roof garden that included a ballroom and restaurant. Guests at the hotel included Albert Einstein, Babe Ruth, Isadora Duncan, and Ana Pavlova.A casino was opened in the hotel during the 1950s. It was owned by Philadelphia crime family member Angelo Bruno, along with Joseph "Hoboken Joe" Stassi and his son Joe Stassi Jr. Stassi was an associate of mobster Meyer Lansky. The casino was destroyed by mobs in early January 1959 as Fidel Castro's rebel army overtook Havana.During the 1980s the hotel was restored and it was reopened in 1991 and became part of the Gran Caribe hotel group.

The Marriage-Go-Round

The Marriage-Go-Round is a 1958 play written by Leslie Stevens. The 1961 film adaptation of the same name, written and produced by Stevens, stars Susan Hayward, James Mason and Julie Newmar.

The play was inspired by a suggestion that dancer Isadora Duncan supposedly made to playwright George Bernard Shaw: The two of them should have a child because "with your mind and my body, think what a person it would be!" The play, a sex comedy, was a Broadway theatre success with a run of over 700 performances; it did poor box office .

Up to Now (autobiography)

Up to Now is the autobiography of the British composer, conductor and theatre producer Martin Shaw (1875–1958). It was published by Oxford University Press in 1929, when Shaw was 53. His reminiscences cover the early period of his life, his family and upbringing, his early career working with Gordon Craig, Isadora Duncan and Ellen Terry, his marriage, and the development of his work in church music, especially his collaborations with Percy Dearmer and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The book contains many anecdotes, largely about Shaw's friends and colleagues in the theatre and music world but also ones relating to other prominent figures such as the British statesman Viscount Grey.Shaw's book was the first of two autobiographies published in 1929 with the title Up to Now. The second was by the American politician and four-time Governor of New York, Al Smith. As The Times Literary Supplement pointed out, the title promised more to come, but although Shaw lived on for another thirty years, he never published a sequel. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Up to Now continued to be used as a source for biographical works on Gordon Craig, Isadora Duncan and Ellen Terry. Eighty years after its publication, the author's grandson, theatre director Robert Shaw, adapted Up To Now as a 45 minute monologue which was performed at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Yesenin (TV series)

Yesenin (Russian: Есенин) is a 2005 Russian biographical eleven-episode television miniseries, directorial debut of Igor Zaitsev. It outlines the conspiracy version of the death of the Russian poet Sergei Yesenin. The series is based on the novel "Yesenin. Story of a Murder" by Vitali Bezrukov and the main role was played by his son Sergey Bezrukov.

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