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ISADORA DUNCAN (1877 - 1927)

"The dancer of the future will dance the body emerging again from civilized forgetfulness, in a new nakedness no longer at war with spirituality and intelligence, but joining them in a glorious harmony." - Isadora Duncan
"Our greatest original" - Agnes DeMille

Born in San Francisco, Isadora Duncan was a leading exponent of the transcontinental renaissance that corresponded to the Industrial Revolution. Her bold spirit was fostered by the courageous ideas of scientists and philosophers like Charles Darwin and Frederick Nietzsche. She created a highly original art form reflecting sensibilities based on the Democratic ideals and pioneering spirit of the New World, and the eternal aesthetic truths that she found in Nature and Classicism.
Isadora Duncan liberated the entire concept of what dancing was and could be. Emanating from the emotional and physical center of the body, her technique expanded the dancers' movement range in unimagined ways. Through it, she discovered the subtle possibilities inherent in universal movement and unleashed the expressive powers of the body.

Duncan dared dance to the music of the sacrosanct classical composers, and then further shocked audiences by sometimes dancing against the music. She startled her peers with compelling dances to avant-garde composers Scriabin, Ravel, and Franck. And she amazed by dancing to the sounds of nature, to silence, and with collaborators Jean Cocteau and Augustine Duncan, to the spoken word.

Duncan galvanized the dance with stunning innovations: her simple costuming was a fluent extension of her bodies movement or a contrasting sculpture; she performed uncorsetted, scandalizing society by affirming the natural female form; her staging was spare, eschewing the artificial and focusing the performance on the creative process. Duncan freed the dance of pretty mannerisms, uncovering the natural human movements that revealed the soul. Her methodology turned dancing into a source of spiritual passion and transformation. Before Isadora Duncan's groundbreaking choreography, this was conventionally unheard of in dance.

And Duncan actualized, for the first time, the dance as a means of contemporary statement. An outspoken advocate of the key progressive movements of her era, Duncan's dances spoke of political and personal revolution, womenÕs freedom, sexual expression, and a new World Vision of community. Her beliefs surrounded her with controversy, and conservatives characterized her as an iconoclast. Throughout her career she would be alternately praised as a creator and attacked as a radical troublemaker.

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