Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan
May 26,1877-Sept 14, 1927
"The dancer's body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul. "
"The only dance masters I could have were Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Walt Whitman and Nietzsche. "~Isadora Duncan
"Imagine then a dancer who, after long study, prayer and inspiration, has attained such a degree of understanding that his body is simply the luminous manifestation of his soul; whose body dances in accordance with a music heard inwardly, in an expression of something out of another, profounder world. This is the truly creative dancer; natural but not imitative, speaking in movement out of himself and out of something greater than all selves."Isadora Duncan,The Philosopher's Stone of Dancing, 1920
"Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences." Isadora Duncan

Mercedes de Acosta,

March 1,1893-May 9, 1968


"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.
Isadora June 28th 1926


From a Poem written to Mercedes by Isadora in 1927,(quoted by Hugo Vickers in "Loving Garbo" ".
....A slender body, hands soft and white
For the service of my delight.
Two sprouting breasts
Round and sweet
Invite my hungry mouth to eat.
From whence two nipples firm and pink Persuade my thirsty soul to drink
And lower still a secret place
Where I'd fain hide my loving face....."
"We may not all break the Ten Commandments, but we are certainly all capable of it. Within us lurks the breaker of all laws, ready to spring out at the first real opportunity." ~Isadora Duncan


"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. For hours I would stand quite still, my two hands folded between my breast, covering the solar plexus… I was seeking and finally discovered the central spring of all movement, the crater of motor power, the unity from which all diversions of movement are born, the mirror of vision for the creation of dance."Isadora DuncanMy Life, 1928

"Art is not necessary at all. All that is necessary to make this world a better place to live in is to love - to love as Christ loved, as Buddha loved. "~Isadora Duncan

"It has taken me years of struggle, hard work and research to learn to make one simple gesture, and I know enough about the art of writing to realize that it would take as many years of concentrated effort to write one simple, beautiful sentence."~Isadora Duncan


"Standing with one foot poised on the highest point of the Rockies, her two hands stretched out from the Atlantic to the Pacific, her fine head tossed to the sky, her forehead shining with a crown of a million stars."Isadora Duncan The Art of Dance.

"It seems to me monstrous that anyone should believe that the jazz rhythm expresses America. Jazz rhythm expresses the primitive savage." ~Isadora Duncan

"What one has not experienced, one will never understand in print."~Isadora Duncan

Before I left home, I was given a 'going away' present from my friend Debi. Inside was a VHS tape, Isadora Duncan: Movement from the SoulDocumentary on the life and art of Isadora Duncan. International award-winning documentary, narration by Julie Harris.(1987) and the book, Isadora, A Sensational Life by Peter Kurth.(2001) Thanks Debi, you are and always will be a dear friend!

Both in her professional and her private life, she flouted traditional mores and morality. One of her lovers was the theatre designer Gordon Craig; another was Paris Singer, one of the many sons of Isaac Singer the sewing machine magnate; she bore a child by each of them. Her private life was subject to considerable scandal, especially following the tragic drowning of her children in an accident on the Seine River in 1913.


In 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!". She was bisexual which was not uncommon in early Hollywood circles. She had a lengthy lesbian affair with poet Mercedes de Acosta, and was possibly involved with writer Natalie Barney.

Duncan often wore scarves which trailed behind her, and this caused her death in a freak accident in Nice, France. She was killed at the age of 49 when her scarf caught in the open-spoked wheel of her friend Ivan Falchetto's Amilcar automobile, in which she was a passenger. As the driver sped off, the long cloth wrapped around the vehicle's axle. Duncan was yanked violently from the car and dragged for several yards before the driver realized what had happened. She died almost instantly from a broken neck.

Have a wonderful day everyone!


N Posted by Rain at 7/12/2006 09:45:00 PM

4 Comments

  • Blogger The Fat Lady Sings posted at 2:04 PM  
    Sad that she died so violently - especially when you consider her life was still in its ascendancy. When I was dancing - she was my role model. She moved organically - with abandon. That's how I wanted to move onstage - though I never espoused her love of all things nude (the woman was blessed with dancer’s breasts - I, unfortunately am not). Wonderful post. Many people have forgotten her, I fear; along with Nijinsky - her analog. They say he climaxed on stage from the intensity of his work. Isadora also claimed a sexual basis for her dancing - and that is something I can really relate to.
  • Blogger Sheila posted at 2:38 AM  
    What an inspiration, her unconventionality is what appeals most to me. Moving swiftly through life with scarves trailing, it only seems fitting that they should yank her out of existance. Sometimes dancing with danger is half the fun.
  • Blogger Brian posted at 6:51 PM  
    Great post.
  • Blogger the fool posted at 2:01 AM  
    I spent a few days at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris a few days ago. Isadora Duncan's cremated ashes are housed in the Columbarium there. Last time I was at Père Lachaise, some seven years ago, I passed by her niche in the Columbarium, and it was decorated with flowers and other tokens of esteem placed by those who adore her. Among all the other remembrances was a note. It was affixed to the wall with a simple piece of clear tape and read, in a small girl's handwriting, "Je m'ai rêvé ai dansé avec Isadora Duncan" -- "I dreamed I danced with Isadora Duncan."

    What a happy dream.
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