Flames of the Heart: Feminine Desire in the Early Twentieth Century
Patricia Adams will lead us through an exploration of Brahms Waltz in A Minor, Op. 39, No. 14, often referred to as “Flames of the Heart” or “Flames”. Adams will offer an interpretation of this solo not as a “temper tantrum” as described by Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck, but as a fiery expression of passion and longing. In keeping with the idea of rendering versus telling, this dance, as many of Duncan’s dances, requires us as dancers to “become” the dance. There is no narrative in the structure of the choreography, so how do we as dancers immerse ourselves fully in the imagery of the dance in order to fully express what we believe Duncan had in mind? Discussions and coaching will focus on embodying specific imagery, using weight and bound/flow qualities of movement, as well as the difficult but essential musicality of the piece.
Masterclass with Lori Belilove
A transformative Duncan class with focus on breath and purity of Duncan line.
I will cover how Duncan's use of music is innovative and abstract (selecting from two of the four dances listed here - Death and the Maiden, The Three Graces, Slow Mazurka, Les Funerailles). How we preserve, teach, and explore musicality in Duncan's work will be addressed. I will share versions of these dances as they have been passed down in the legacy of Duncan Dancers through my teachers Anna Duncan, Irma Duncan, Julia Levie, Hortense Kooluris, Migninon Garland. Workshop focus: addressing elements and principles of Duncan dance of my contemporary creative practices. I will further discuss how can we stoke the flame for the future of Duncan dance.
The Nocturne: Exploring Solo and Duet Versions
Nocturne/Chopin, as I feel it, is the one dance that further illustrates Duncan’s musicality, abstraction, and symbolism. To be performed by Lori Belilove, and guest dancer. As part of the presentation, I will screen three versions of the work by Sima Leake (solo version), Hortense Kooluris and Julia levien (duet), and Lori Belilove and Stephanie Clemens (Artistic Director of Momenta, Academy of Music and Movement, Chicago), as a duet.
Isadora’s Notebook: An Archival Treasure
In 1905 Isadora Duncan was in London, being introduced by the actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell to the entrepreneurs and London theater owners who first provided a platform outside of the United States for her controversial work. During this time Mrs. Campbell commissioned Isadora to give private lessons to her daughter, Stella. Not only did Isadora give her lessons, but she produced this booklet, combining her own illustrations and text with images of ancient Greek dances that greatly influenced her own work. I will prepare a slide show of Isadora’s Notebook which includes drawings in Isadora’s hand, all of which will support my thesis regarding the abstraction of Duncan’s work and the development of her process in the creation of her technique and dances.
The Physics of Duncan Dance
In this arts-integrated workshop, participants experience basic laws of physics to discover how using science can augment our teaching and performance of Isadora Duncan's dance. Inspired by London's artistic and intellectual ferment, Isadora, drawing on the scientific revolutions of her day, articulated their essence in her choreography and philosophy. “… the fountain-head for the art of the dance will be the study of the movements of nature,” she wrote. She expressed the effects of gravity on movement through wave forms. "…all free and natural movement conforms to the law of wave movement…the alternate attraction and resistance of the law of gravity." Doing her movement with an awareness of gravity, enhances our experience of the body moving through space and the body's innate expressive power. Using basic Duncan movements such as skips and sways, and selections from her choreography, we explore Newton's Third Law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction). Isadora's actualization of the body's expressive power in motion through space is a radical departure from the static positions of ballet. It may be understood metaphorically through dancing the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of quantum mechanics. It states that one cannot simultaneously know the position and momentum of an object. Running sequences such as the "Callings," enable us to have a kinetic understanding of our oneness with the laws that govern the universe. Through writing and discussion, we discover new ways to use this embodied knowledge. The workshop is designed as a template for presentations on Isadora's use of science.
Celebrating Gemze DeLappe
Gemze DeLappe lived from 1922-2017 and danced most of her 95 years. But she began with Isadora Duncan dance, performing with Irma Duncan's company when she was just 14. She then joined Fokine's first American company. Duncan's influence pervades Fokine's work--you can see it most directly in Les Sylphides, but as Gemze showed me when we first met in St Louis in 2004, it's there in Scheherezade's Bacchanalian skips and the contra posto stances of so many of his characters. Gemze gained her greatest renown as an Agnes DeMille dancer and repetituer, but she never left Isadora behind. Besides performing in the Centenary Dance Company, with Sylvia Gold and Hortense Korolouris, and teaching Duncan at Smith College, Duncan's influence pervades Gemze's every movement. Energy flows through her sensitive hands; her expressive upper torso. Moving through ballet's prescribed steps, her feet and legs are in active communication with the earth. As my Duncan mentor, she was the first person to tell me I could make the work my own. Gemze, my husband, Frank and I became friends. We stayed with her in New York; her quick wit and cogent comments on art and politics continuing through hilarious dinners at Gennaro's, her favorite restaurant on the Upper West Side. And always she was dancing, her passion for our art alive until the end. I visited her in the hospital soon after she had her final stroke, and Gemze listened avidly as I talked about dance.
Duncan Technique Class
Meg Brooker, Julia Pond
Working from breath and the solar plexus as our initiatory center, this class warms up and organizes the whole body from the inside out. Co-taught by Meg Brooker and Julia Pond, the class begins with a guided imagery improvisation, features a contemporary take on Duncan’s classic barre, and then moves through rhythmic and locomotive patterns, culminating in danced phrase work.
Meg Brooker, Misha Penton
This workshop explores the intimate relationship between breath, movement, and musical response in Duncan dance technique. Participants will experience a creative, composition process, grounded in Duncan improvisation principles (including image prompts, breath phrasing, and wave rhythm) with an invitation to incorporate the voice. Through embodied, vocal experimentation with attention to the poetic, participants will explore the expressive possibilities of breath-body-voice as a departure point for enquiry into performative process and choreographic generation. Participants will work in pairs to create voice-movement studies with provided texts, and the facilitators will show their most recent collaboration “Dialogue Entre—Duex.” As an artist, Duncan crossed disciplinary boundaries, pairing movement with poetry in her early performance work and interrogating the relationships between dance, music, sculpture and theatre throughout her career. She wrote, “Man must speak, then sing, then dance. But the speaking is the brain, the thinking man. The singing is the emotion. The dancing is the Dionysian ecstasy which carries away all” (Art of the Dance, 139). Workshop facilitators Meg Brooker and Misha Penton have a long history of collaborating across disciplinary boundaries, presenting their work in settings ranging from gallery and museum spaces to proscenium theaters and media, including a series of opera music videos. This workshop draws on their multi-disciplinary backgrounds and is influenced by the work of Isadora Duncan, Kristen Linklater, Helene Cixous, Adriana Cavarero, and Hans-Thies Lehmann.
Isadora Duncan Archive: Developing Educational Resources
Isadora Duncan Archive Committee
Join Isadora Duncan Archive committee members in a facilitated workshop to generate educational resources, geared toward a broad audience of dance educators, that utilize the online archive as a resource. The archive committee is developing a new education section of the archive, with sections focused on a range of dance education populations including K-12/primary and secondary education, higher education, and private studio and community dancers. This session will focus on developing ideas for lesson plans for a range of dance audiences. We are seeking input from the Duncan dance community and your assistance in developing and contributing new educational content. The goal of The Isadora Duncan Archive is to increase visibility of Duncan’s choreographic body of work, to document the various lineages of Duncan dancers, and to demonstrate how the choreographies translate to a range of bodies, across multiple generations. The archive, released in 2015, addresses a need identified during the first Isadora Duncan International Symposium and is the result of a committee effort to collate, catalogue and publicly share a range of historic Duncan materials. The archive features a full repertory list, coaching notes, music clips, repertory videos, photographs, articles, performance programs, and other media drawn from privately-held archives, as well as linked to collections housed in museums and by public organizations.
Stoking Your Own Flame: Self-love and Appreciating the Divine Feminine
When Isadora first donned a little silk tunic and stepped in front of an audience to perform, it was an act of freedom; an act which allowed freedom of movement and a release from the physical and mental restrictions of then-current clothing options. Now, we continue to wear the tunic for practice and performance. However, instead of a garment for mental freedom, for many, the tunic has become a shield. The loose swirls of fabric and the elastic belting so effectively drapes and hides the body we may question, disregard, or disdain. But why do we hide ourselves, why do we diminish ourselves through such negativity? Isadora, herself, grew and changed in her physicality throughout her life. However, she never lost her power and ability to emotionally impact audiences on stage. We need to access that power, access that feminine flame, and bring our strongest selves to dance. This workshop will encompass lecture/discussion, meditation/thought exercises, and some relaxed physical movements with a focus on our divine feminine bodies, self-love and self-appreciation. We will use various simple warmups and gentle physical movements to wake up our bodies and get them moving, self-sooth and massage while appreciating the positive aspects of our physicality and celebrating our diverse bodies, and develop positive meditations and affirmations that you can use to provide positive self-talk and stoke your own flame.
Three Number Fours
A showing and discussion of three version of the Brahms number four, two of which are versions of the dance which were taught/passed down as original Isadora Duncan choreographies and one which was choreographed and passed down by Maria-Theresa Duncan. While the three dances pick up on the same general phrases, the dances convey a very different energy level and a different connection with the audiences. Discussion would focus on the differences in Duncan dances, including the differences in musicality and intent, which make the feel of the three choreographies very different to the observing audience.
Duncan Taken to Photography
Jacqueline Crousillat F.
The lecture will examine Duncan’s movement from ‘solar plexus’ as an expression taken into photography. In doing so, Jacqueline will elaborate on approaches and methods used to encounter and express peak moments of movement from solar plexus that coincide with individual and group movement. Jacqueline’s work is based on her dance and photography experience. It focuses on ‘solar plexus’ as a bridge into a form of PhotoDance that aims through experiment to find and record the tangible-intangible peak moments of man’s unique dance and self-expression. Her method includes: movement activation from ‘solar plexus, practice, technique, history, cultural identity, dance performance that ends with a final improvised performance of photography and dance, both performed in unison at the same time. The lecture will be supported by photographs, video clips and personal experiences.
Duncan Technique Class
Designed to connect heart, mind, body, breath, artistry, self and each other as a community of dancers and human beings, this approach to the Duncan Technique uses contemporary music and includes a meditation/breathing/centering moment to begin, the Durham customized warm-up routine, Duncan technique practices, Duncan barre exercises, across the floor locomotor sets, dance phrases and an improvisation to close.
Sculpture and Dance; New Work Inspired by Daniel Chester French and Isadora Duncan
Dances by Isadora Boston will present and discuss a new work inspired by Duncan’s mourning dances and the Melvin Memorial by American sculptor Daniel Chester French, best known for the Lincoln Memorial. Titled Mourning Victory, the memorial was created to honor three brothers who died in the Civil War and resides in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, MA. https://www.loc.gov/item/2016797015/ We know from Mary French’s memoir that Duncan visited French and performed on the grounds of Chesterwood, French’s summer retreat. Although their encounter was brief, the work of Duncan and French fundamentally share the exploration of the female form. “French’s female figures are allegorical. Often idealized, seductively posed, and classically draped, they typically memorialize great human actions, events, or emotions. They fulfill their purpose not through portraiture but by means of a more sensual, tactile, and cerebral narrative. As an American classicist who trained in Europe, French looked first to the visible world for inspiration; but he always improved on what nature provides in order to achieve an ideal beauty in three-dimensional form” (www.bostonathenaeum.org). We will be performing this new trio at Chesterwood in the very garden where Isadora performed, in June, and at the Melvin Memorial, later in the summer. We will present the dance, share our process of creating a contemporary piece that honors both artists, and discuss how symbols of grief influenced the work.
“‘A Mere Detour through Chopin to Reach her Own Soul’: Hermann Bahr on Isadora Duncan’s Expressive Development, 1902–1903”
“From Greek dances on ancient vases, then suddenly to Chopin? How could she have come to this?” Thus began a 1903 review of Isadora Duncan’s new Chopin program by Austrian modernist playwright, critic, and figurehead of the Vienna Secession, Hermann Bahr. This reflection was but one of many as Bahr chronicled Duncan’s turn from pictorial to musical inspiration. His reviews of Duncan in the Neues Wiener Tagblatt, along with transcripts of their many conversations in his sketchbooks and diaries, richly detail Duncan’s early struggle to create an abstract line in movement that could rival the directness of musical expression. Two private performances in Vienna in February 1902 sparked Bahr’s intense interest in Duncan’s professed endeavor to dance an “exact, scientific line” in her pictorial evocations of Greek art. Having stated in print that Duncan “always begins with a picture . . . and expresses herself best when she lets the music fall silent,” Bahr was caught off guard when Duncan presented her Chopin program to the Viennese public in March 1903. Duncan famously moved on from Chopin to Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in February 1904. Yet the initial turn to Chopin’s music as her primary material is still not well understood. This presentation addresses the conference theme of Duncan’s musicality with a focus on Bahr’s record of her early struggle to emulate musical line through movement, and the multiple modes of resistance she faced from fascinated, yet skeptical Viennese audiences and critics.
Isadora Duncan and Merce Cunningham- Igniting the flame of innovation in dance-making: Sharing approaches to choreographic process in K-12 dance education DEL (Dance Education Laboratory)
In celebration of Merce Cunningham’s centennial year, this workshop considers the use of chance and indeterminacy within the work of Cunningham and Duncan. How have choreographers dealt with unforeseen influences in their creative process? Where do we see the similarities and differences in the work of these intense innovators? How did their unique visions spark new ideas in subsequent generations? This workshop, presented by Catherine Gallant of the Dance Education Laboratory, offers, dancers, choreographers and dance educators an experience of choreographic approaches used by Merce Cunningham to create short collaborative dance studies using movement from Duncan’s signature vocabulary. Isadora spoke of stillness. “For hours I would stand quite still, my two hands folded between my breasts…..” . Duncan did work to evolve dances without music. In 1906 she told a reporter that the perfect dance should be unaccompanied, “a self-sufficient expression”, but that it should not be shown to a paying audience.
The interactive workshop focuses on the use of chance operations and the separation of music while determining the movement using various chance devices such as cubes and coins. Participants will explore the concept of creating dance in silence, possibly adding music as ambient partner. Time will be included for reflection and discussion.
The Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) presents workshops which offer ways to effectively share dance structure and content with students of all ages in a variety of educational settings, including public school, afterschool, private studios and community centers.
Living Music: Vibration and Vision
Dances by Isadora will present an informal showing including time for reflection and feedback. Our program will present Duncan’s work to the Andante from Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, “The Great” in C-Major. Catherine Gallant will discuss her own history of initially learning the work to an abbreviated recording of the music and the opportunities which followed to work with a live orchestra in 1989 and in 2019. Our work is guided by a number of questions? How does live music change the performance experience for both dancers and audiences? What is the role of listening and responding kinesthetically? How does the vibration between dancer and musician shift the vision in performance? What role did live music play in the perception of Duncan’s art? We will also consider the fact that most of Duncan’s works were titled only for the music which accompanied or inspired them and how the public and the media of the time gave titles which have been passed on through the legacy. How have these titles impacted our learning, understanding of and connections to, the work? In addition, Ms. Gallant will present a work-in-progress to Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 27 No. 2 known as the “Moonlight” to be accompanied on piano. In 1904 Duncan danced to this well-known score in a performance where the musicians were appalled by her choice to dance to “the master”. This new work imagines Duncan’s perceptive musical consciousness to reveal the smoldering spirit of the music through us, the “dancers of the future”.
How Malkovsky's Dance Develops Musicality, Symbolism and Expressivity
François Malkovsky , born in Tchekoslovakia in 1889, came to Paris in 1912 to develop his carreer as a lyric singer. He got the opportunity to see Isadora Duncan dancing and this decided him to be a dancer. He attended Raymond Duncan Akademia in rue de Seine in Paris and became his assistant , then left to continue his own research to develop his dance. He embraced the dance ideal that Isadora was preaching, refusing the rigid structures and conventions which were imposed to classic dancers. Like her, he found his inspiration in the nature and followed rigorously its laws. Like her, he selected the music from the great romantic componists like Chopin Schubert or Brahms and refered to the antic greek aesthetic, source of our culture. He created his own totally original repertory and choreographies and performed in different theaters of Paris between 1920 and 1949. Each perfect movement has its internal and external rhythm linked to the rhythm of the swing or of the waves, which enables to use the gravity of our body to minimize the use of our energy and keep physical and moral equilibrium. The spurt of the gesture corresponds to the first beat (highlight) of the music which gives energy and a positive sense, like a flame coming from the ground to the sky. The dancer must not only master the technique but also inhabit the dance in nuanced ways of subtle variations of dynamics linked to the phrasing of the music. The beauty of a dance lies in our effort to present it in its purest form, without ego, so that Dance should become an art without Artifice ."While playing, walking, dancing, the complete being should feel the vibrations. To express himself freely, the body should be able to move like a wave with the music. In order for the simplest movement to carry, transmit a thought and waken the sensibilities of the public such feelings, such emotions, he needs to be free of the anchors which paralyse and reduce the expression possibilities. The human being must become a kind of center of which the light bursts." Malkovsky. This workshop will focus on technique principles that underlie Malkovsky's movement as well as the use of music in his practice and will explore the strength of human spirit inherent in each of us.
Movement from the soul - How does absolute music lead to an abstract dance?
How abstract is music? How abstract can Duncan dance be? The core tradition at the Elizabeth Duncan School, as taught by our late master Hannelore Schick, was to feel and express the music itself as clearly as possible (“Music, what are you doing to me?”). As a continuation of our workshop in S.F. 2017 we will analyse form, structure and musical means of a music piece (for ex. Brahms Intermezzo). By exploring its different parts, melody phrases and musical ideas we will try to understand its meaning, although in abstract terms, and to translate the music directly into our body speech and use it as the basis of our own new choreography.
Passing the Torch to Children
Dicki Johnson Macy
All Duncan schools encouraged dances for children. When asked who choreographed them, Anita Zahn of the Elizabeth Duncan School replied, ‘I don’t know, maybe I did.’ This remark is typical and represents how some of the children’s dances evolved through a democratic practice that was the antithesis of a ‘star system’ (Nadia Nahumck). I have the advantage, in passing the torch to children’s, to have been a student in Anita Zahn’s children’s program. From that perspective I offer Duncan dance to children as a vehicle for expressing their stories and for developing friendships. Duncan dance by nature is inclusive. All children are honored as unique and valued. Movement, their natural means of expression is never judged; In these classes they experience the wonder of self, the beauty of collective expression and embody the music.
I have attempt to codify that which makes the Duncan work “a school for life” rather than mere dance steps. In this workshop I offer to participants the elemental components of Duncan’s pedagogy for children; I have made contemporary, while maintaining the integrity of Duncan’s timeless work, that which Anita Zahn, Sylvia Gold, and others, have passed on to me. The codified curriculum includes the following integrated elements: 1) The Story: A myth, nature story or poem spoken in age appropriate language; 2)The Lyrics: Rhythmical instructional lyrics; 3)Special notes: Historical references, stories and symbols used by my teachers; 4) The Dance: The adapted children’s choreography. Workshop participants will taste the Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Brahms children’s dances as I learned them in my childhood.
Intention and Frequency: Exploring the Relationship Triad: Emotion, Music, and Movement
Dicki Johnson Macy
“The Muses gave us music to help the soul restore its order and harmony.” (Plato).
We lived in a troubled world; inhabitants have forsaken their connection to nature and to one another. The increase of communication through technical devises and social media, decreases our capacity for true, deep relationship building. Our souls are deeply in need of restoration. The choreographic etudes of Isadora Duncan, celebrating nature’s unity and rhythms, and remembering ancient rituals and archetypes have throughout time, been food for the soul. Music was her muse: “I have never been a dancer; I have only listened to music.”(Isadora).
In this workshop we will luxuriate in the music that inspired Isadora, primarily the music of Chopin, Schubert, and Brahms. Music with its varied keys, melodies and patterns inspire emotional responses both individual and universal. Integrating music composed in specific keys (frequency) with images from nature and Duncan movement motifs or dances, we will explore emotional and unconscious material that surfaces. True relationship requires a connection to our deep and personal self, to our natural environment, and to our ancestors. Here we explore relationship themes to one another, building upon the archetypes and mythological symbolism which makes the work of Isadora timeless. Some of the relationship themes, which are component to Isadora’s work, include: 1)The Chase (integrating parts of one’s psychological self), 2)Encounter to Engagement, 3)Reciprocity, 4)Remembrance of Time Past, 5)Neo platonic Truth and Beauty, 6)Joining and Retreating, and 7)Heroism.
Primarily an experiential workshop, slide and film will support the presentation.
Isadora’s Dance as Music, as Poetry
It was said that Isadora did not dance to music, “she became the music.” Her body of work expressed her unity with nature’s rhythms, her belief in the poetry and magnitude of the soul and the idea that humankind is a microcosm of the universe. Her dance can be seen as the physical embodiment of music and poetry.
Working with Duncan’s nature repertory to the music of Brahms, Chopin and Schubert, participants will explore the intricacies, form, dynamics and subtleties of the music in these works and how we translate these into movement. We will later brainstorm words and poetry that the movement and music suggest to us. Participants will be encouraged in creating their own words and poems inspired by the dances and the music. Poems will be shared, and we will then revisit the dances and determine how this added layer of perceptions affects our understanding of the works.
During this multi-faceted art exploration, I will encourage individual creativity and connections - as authenticity is of utmost importance in Isadora’s work even while working within the technique, structure and choreography, and as has always been emphasized in my own Duncan dance learning experiences. Through this means, we will experience the work as multi-disciplinary and inclusive, while maintaining authenticity. Viewing the work through this lens, I believe it can continue to grow and develop, be meaningful, and bring richness and depth to today’s and tomorrow’s dancers and artists.
The Poetry of Duncan Dances
Using short excerpts from Kyra Jucovy’s poem, “The Subject and Power,” (I will be emailing a link) we will demonstrate correlations between Duncan dances and poetry. These works of poetry have strong imagery from nature, but can also be seen as metaphors for life experiences, as is the case with these Duncan dances. Poetry can allow for the same openness to perception and interpretation as dance can. With an added layer of artistic expression, we can explore how these art forms are related and realize how each enhances the other, while still maintaining their abstract and intuitive nature. The two arts put together can deepen rather than limit the scope of effect.
We will present the poetry and then the dance, and in the reverse order at times. At times we will add the words to the music with the dances. We will also sometimes present just using the poem to accompany the dance, omitting the music. We will demonstrate one or more of these dances done in a variety of these ways.
The sampling of Duncan works presented will be varied in scope. We will discuss with the viewers the correlations between the art forms. We will discuss if and how the order of presenting the art forms affects perception. How did the addition of words to a dance affect it? And the omission of music? In summary, we will investigate Isadora’s dances in the context of poetry, and if and how that deepens our personal understanding of Duncan dance.
Duncan dance: the next generation
I propose a panel discussion incorporating attending Duncan dancers who are in their 20s and early 30s. Questions that will be addressed are: What sparked your interest in the work? How does the Duncan technique fit in to your understanding of dance? How do you envision using it in your future dance life? Do your experiences with Duncan dance affect anything else in your life aside from performing? Those who teach-do you infuse Duncan principles in your teaching, and in what ways? At this point in your life, do you feel you are interested in carrying on the Duncan tradition? Are you interested in using it in fueling your own work? What aspects of your Duncan experiences are most profound to you? Has it affected how you hear music? How you understand art? Your own worldview?
With this introspection and discussion, we can get a sample of how young dancers who have been performing the work for a period of time see the work. We can get develop ideas about the future of Duncan dance and get a sense of the impact of the work in the future.
Music as metaphor in Duncan Dance
As the music surrounds the meaning in the movement so therefore the movement absorbs the meaning in the music. The metaphor and meaning of music in the class work and dances of Isadora Duncan as shared by Irma Duncan to her pupil Lillian Rosenberg and then from Lillian to Barbara Kane. Music as the impulse, symbolism and deep feeling in Isadora Duncan’s dance technique and dances. Music and movement which ignites a depth, a spiritual flame of something divine within the inner self and is expressed by each individual mover/dancer.
In line with Isadora Duncan's adding Chopin to her repertoire (thanks to her 1900 meeting in London with J Fuller-Maitland) we will explore the architecture of the Chopin Mazurka in A Minor, op 17 no 4 and its deep meaning, it's community beauty together in light and in shadow. How can each student/dancer/teacher add their own self to this dance as a process. Discussion together at the end of the class.
Movements of Being
Virginia Woolf’s ‘The Waves ‘ choreography by Barbara Kane, in progress, as a small sharing of what I and we have developed thus far with Sandra Voulgari ( Athens), Francoise Rageau (Paris), Lianne Pipskyja ( Edinburgh) and Virginio Lima ( London).
Virginia Woolf (VW) was born in 1882 into the strict Victorian social era in England. She, like Isadora Duncan (ID), sought eventually to resist the codes and restrictions placed on women. Both helped change what was expected in the Arts, VW through writing, ID through the dance. Both women have managed to ‘stoke and stir the flame’ in many women’s hearts, minds and bodies.
The Waves is a complicated play/poem full of movement and meaning just as many of the Duncan Dances that we are proud to know and share. Bringing the two together in Bloomsbury (where we are dancing and where VW lived). All reflection is warmly welcomed as a discussion after the sharing.
From London to Moscow: Duncan as the cultural flame of post- Revolutionary Russia
In my paper I will reveal how a change meeting in London led to Duncan’s three-year residence in Soviet Russia. I will highlight Duncan’s positive influence on the spirits of ordinary Russian people, and how she taught mass classes to the children of workers. I will also outline Duncan’s influence on the Russian Cultural Revolution, an event which has been recorded but buried in the mists of time. Finally, I outline Duncan’s influence on the concept of New Soviet Woman, and reveal how she may have been the inspiration for the famous Soviet statue, Vera Mukhina’s The Worker and the Collective Farm Girl. This revelation shows the extent of Duncan’s influence on Soviet culture long after she died, and shows how Duncan is a symbol of unity and friendship amongst nations.
Connecting Isadora to Vedic Tradition for Contemporary Wellness Practices: Integrating the Manipura to Flames of the Heart through Asana
The Manipura Chakra is the third chakra in the traditional Vedic counting system and physically located where the diaphragm rests. Similar to Isadora’s interpretation of the Solar Plexus, the Manipura Chakra qualities include personal power, confidence, and how humans assert ourselves in the world. When the Manipura is open it allows for the ability to move forward through life with courage and determination. The Solar Plexus is the center of movement in the Duncan technique and is responsible for radiating the qualities of all the elements: fire through passion, earth when grounding, air when flying, and water through gliding. The Solar Plexus is often referred to as the life of the Duncan dance and Isadora’s legacy would be nonexistent without the continued study and focus on this integral point.
In this workshop, participants will be led through a vinyasa class focusing on opening and channeling the qualities of the Manipura Chakra. We will visit the qualities and repertoire of Isadora’s solo Flames of the Heart, from her Many Faces of Love suite, and interweave the similarities of the dance to the Vedic traditions of the Chakras. The class will begin with a structured movement exploration and end in dancing the solo, Flames of the Heart, to discover how asana can influence our practice of Duncan dance. Vinyasa yoga is a common wellness practice amongst contemporary dancers and by blending the techniques of Duncan dance to asana, we are developing a more integrated approach and understanding of the work.
RE-EVALUATION: Creating New Works from Old Works
“enervated.” (2019) was choreographed by Shannon McMullan during January 2019 for National Choreography Month and then performed on stage April 2019 at the NACHMO Artists Gala. This work is the latest piece of choreography by Shannon McMullan that is influenced by the Duncan technique and recreated for the contemporary audience. “enervated.” pays tribute to the many movement techniques that have built the foundation of Shannon’s choreographic language and movement style.
The Blue Angel, Music: Nocturne in C-charp minor, B.49, 5 min 19 (Pianist Ari Mog), In memoriam to Mia Zen Meško
Dance has always been in my nature, since I was a small child and forced my parent’s guests to be my audience whenever they came to visit. I loved dancing and used every chance I could get to demonstrate my love for classical music, even though I was a shy girl, I never felt shy when I performed.
My first contact with Isadora Duncan and her art was when I read her book as a teenager. I was deeply impressed by her personality and throughout my professional dance career and personal life, I always felt a special connection and similarity towards Isadora. Events in her life seemed to occur in mine, whether they were joyful or sorrowful. A few years ago, I discovered the Elisabeth-Duncan-School in Munich, and finally began to dance Duncan. My niece joined me. We danced together “The sisters” and she wanted to develop her own dancing style while she was in her blue phase.
For me, Duncan dancing is a way to express my emotions. It’s like that for many people I believe and was also Isadora’s intention. When I can’t find a way to deal with something going on in my life, like the loss of a loved one, Isadora’s art helps me. This was something I always admired about her, how she used her dancing to work through the heartbreak of losing her children. I couldn’t imagine experiencing that, until my niece decided to leave us much too soon in 2016, when she was only 19.
The piece I would like to present to you, I have dedicated in the memory of my niece, Mia Zen. Through Chopin’s music, beautifully performed by our school’s pianist Ari (who was a good friend to my niece), I have been able to process my grief and express it through dance. It has brought me closer to Isadora and find a way to contact and bid farewell to my niece, the Blue Angel.
Dance through Life!
“The dance of the future will be a new movement, a consequence of the entire evolution which mankind has passed through.”— Isadora Duncan, “The Dance of the Future,” 1903
Billions of years ago, when the living organisms came out of the oceans to went to shore, they had to adapt to gravity and to breathing air. As a result of evolution, humans are standing and walking upright on two legs on earth and our bodies are comprised of 70% water What is the meaning of this evolutional development for Duncan Dance? How does this fit with the knowledge and the lessons learned in the line of Elizabeth Duncan? How to flow in this insights and create Duncan Dance today? We will explore the function of the Solarplexus in the interplay with gravity and breathing, which becomes important in the technique of Duncan Dance to develop our individual expression. In this workshop we will make an exploring journey through time and space to get inspired for the dance of the future. Just like Elizabeth Duncan, who asked her students in the beginning of the class: "Are you new today?"
In a living tradition, Duncan dance in Sweden
Kathleen Quinlan Zetterberg
Isadora performed in Stockholm in 1906 and travelled together with Gordon Craig with the interest of meeting August Strindberg. I performed in 1983 at Washington Square Church in New York, and in the audience was Bengt Häger, who invited me to Stockholm. I stayed in Stockholm and started a Children's Dance Company to train and perform the work of Isadora Duncan. This was 1993, the Company goes on with new little ones and many of the former students have become dancers. This fire for Isadora’s Art flourished on in the hearts of a new generation. With the help of Lilly Zetterberg, a Swedish Duncan dancer, I would like to explain the process of this living tradition in Sweden.
Awakening Inner Musicality
Isadora urged her young pupils, “Listen to the music with your soul. Now, while you are listening, do you not feel an inner self awakening deep within you?” Isadora knew the power of music to dive into the depths of the soul, and her use of classical music for dance was completely innovative in her time. When we listen to music with our soul, we are accessing pure human emotions which become the driving force behind musicality, since emotions contain a natural rhythm within them. In order to preserve, teach, and develop musicality in Duncan’s work, we must first be attuned to our own inner rhythms: The rise and fall of our breath, the impulse and retreat of our emotions, and the wave of dynamics that occurs in all natural movement.
This workshop takes theoretical knowledge into practice. A breath and movement warmup set to beautiful music opens the class. We will then learn Isadora’s first dance set to classical music, The Prelude by Chopin. The Prelude has an underlying theme of breath, and is the perfect dance to begin awakening inner musicality simply by breathing with each movement. Adrienne will then play her inspiring, heart-opening piano compositions and give students time to listen, and when inspired, improvise with their own movements to the live music. Lastly, we will take everything we’ve experienced and fit it into the structure of the Adagio from Chopin’s Marche Funebre, one of Duncan’s most profound works, rich with deep layers of emotion and inner musicality.
Dances of Eternity
Dances of Eternity is a live showing of a selection of Duncan works that all address the theme of Eternity through the use of symbolism and abstraction. These dances all have rich images of life, death, and the eternal spirit that transcends the physical realm.
The March Funebre contains heavy symbolism of death, and of our attachment to our lives here on Earth. It opens with the somber Figure of Death announcing who must die, and when. The following scene is of the Spirit rising from the physical body and ascending to the light. In the third and final section of March Funebre, we see Isadora at the grave, mourning her loss. The Crossing shows that even after death, the desire and will of the Spirit carries on. The Death and Maiden (which Isadora sometimes called Life and the Maiden) is symbolic of the death of youth and of innocence. It shows the life and death struggle that comes with facing our biggest fears. The Harp, with it’s wave-like imagery, is symbolic of eternity and rebirth. The Morning Star transcends life on Earth and is rich with symbolism of the Heavenly realm.
Following the showing, we will engage in a meaningful discussion and pose the following questions: How do you see the theme of Eternity running through Duncan’s work? How did Isadora view life, death and the eternal thread that transcends time and space? What insights can we gain from viewing these five specific works?
The Tanagra Figures
The class will explore the slow movement and sustained energy flow of the Tanagra Figures as they have been handed down through the generations. We will create new variations of poses, inspired by the Parthenon Marbles exhibit at the British Museum. We will breathe life into the seamlessly connected sculptural forms by experimenting with different movements and different musical choices. By delving into the figures to explore new variations, we will follow Isadora's vision that "the dance and sculpture are the two arts most closely united, and the foundation of both is Nature. The sculptor and the dancer both have to seek in Nature the most beautiful forms and the movements which inevitably express the spirit of those forms." The class will end by performing the Tanagra Figures first in unison, and then in a round.
The Method of Plastic Dance in Russia
This workshop is devoted to work with children and features games and exercises to develop children’s kinesthetic, musical responsiveness. The exercises train children to listen to and perceive music with great sensitivity. They develop children’s love of music and their need for music. The movement expresses the music. Through this practice, children develop the ability to improvise. This workshop is taught by one of the main custodians and disseminators of classic plastique dance method of Isadora Duncan in Russia.
Plastic dance in Russia: Classic Historical Productions and Modern Compositions
This showing features multiple generations of dancers. Youth dancers will perform
Tchaikovsky’s “Neapolitan Song” and Shostakovich’s “Dance of Dolls.” The older dancers will perform S. Prokofiev’s “4 plays,” Tchaikovsky’s “Russian dance,” Glinka’s “Tarantella,” and Shostakovich’s “Fantastic Dances.”
The development of ideas of Isadora Duncan in Russia. Creating a method of plastic dance: from the Early 20th century to Today
In 1904, Isadora Duncan arrived in St.Petersburg and gave some concerts where she made a splash. The concert was attended by different artists. They conquered plasticity, musicality and natural movements of new dancing style. Plastic dance ensembles began to be created in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev. In 1919 the ensemble of the plastic dance “Heptahor” was created (from the Greek - seven dancing persons). It began to develop a method of plastic dance named in Russian “метод музыкального движения”— Musical Movement— based on the work of Isadora Duncan. The main idea was to convey the content of music in natural expressive movements. In the 1930s, all the plastic dance ensembles closed due to the tightening of the regime. The teachers moved to Moscow and began to work with children.In the 1960s, a so-called “thaw” period began in the USSR. Children with whom the teachers worked earlier grew up and asked to continue their studies. Soviet composer Shostakovich, who was a member of the composer’s union, helped with this question. In 1957 Moscow saw the opening of the “Watch the Music” ensemble, which existed until 1970. Then the period of the “thaw” was over and a strict regime came again. In the 1990s, the method of plastic movement got a second wind. Currently in Russia there are several main groups that continue the work of Isadora Duncan. So, Valentina Ryazanova, artistic director of the plastic dance ensemble “Isadora”, carefully preserves the material and transfers it to pupils, and holds international plastic dance festivals.
Duncan Dance Workshop with Mary Sano
This workshop/class will introduce the basic teaching methods of Mary Sano, a third generation Duncan Dancer. Originally from Gifu, Japan, she discovered Duncan dance in 1979 and has since devoted her life to the art form. Sano has based her teaching method on her concept of ‘Dancing Harmony.’ The work is centered on simplicity, sincerity, natural beauty, and a balanced body and spirit. This practice is inspired by her knowledge of Duncan’s work as well as vast research on Isadora’s writings/essays on dance.
Sano’s workshop will focus on the release of tension in the body and mind while creating an awareness of one’s connection with their surroundings/environment. She also emphasizes the importance of musicality, as the dances Isadora choreographed are full of beautiful harmony and rhythms; as music is the essence of Isadora’s work and continually guides our movement. We will listen to and study “Ball” dance by Chopin, waltz Op. 70 no. 1, in this workshop. This choreography was taught to Mary by Mignon Garland in early 1980’s when she was a lead dancer of The San Francisco Duncan Dancers. This workshop is for dancers of all levels and disciplines, and can be enjoyed by non-dancers alike. Sano believes Duncan dance offers a strong foundation for all artists- including musicians and visual artists. Sano’s approach encourages individual expression and brings Isadora’s dance to life in an authentic way.
Mary Sano dances early Duncan choreography
This showing features the following dances: Peasant (mazurka Op. 33 no. 2) and Ball (waltz Op. 70 no.1) by Chopin with accompanist Eriko Tokaji, followed by a discussion on musicality in Duncan dance. I believe that Duncan dance can be defined as a generational dance. Each generation of Duncan dancers has developed their own style and brought their own color and interpretation while also keeping the tradition/heritage of their previous generation. This development/evolution continues to this day. What makes Duncan dance unique is the interpretation of music for realizing the “Duncan-ness”, and this diversity of interpretation creates differences in the style within generations and individuals.
Even before the choices of her disciples, Isadora’s choice to use ‘serious’ music was truly innovative. This music was not originally composed for dancing. Despite this, the choice came organically to her as she could express the natural human rhythm, freedom of movements, and story/poetry with the music. Isadora’s great innovation was become one with the music and feel it with her whole body through the vibration of each sound. That approach was quite different from the contemporary choreographing process of her era as well as many of the dancing techniques that have evolved since. Isadora’s technique guides the dancer unify oneself with the music and its emotions.
The constant task/challenge of the Duncan dancer is to feel music and the delicate nuances within each piece of music. Isadora felt the undulating waves of the music regardless of its complexity and sophistication. The emotion, in turn, is expressed in the nuances of the music- the rhythm, tone, softness, strength, color, pitch, and harmony. The ability to sense and express such delicate yet clear differences in music, defines a Duncan dancer.
Körperübungen - the traditional body exercises of the Elizabeth Duncan School
A long lasting fire needs a strong source of fuel. Stoking the flame of Duncan and carrying it to the future needs the integration of our strong tradition. The Körperübungen as timeless exercises are a perfect preparation for improvisation, as well as for dancing Duncan choreographies. They were created by Elizabeth Duncan together with composer Max Merz, who developed the music in regard to the subtleties of the basic Duncan movements.
Ignite your Fire
Sir Frederick Ashton's "Five Brahms Waltzes in the manner of Isadora Duncan" left a great impression on me a few years ago, and I decided to research the connection between Isadora and the development of Eurythmy for a school project. As part of my presentation, I choreographed in her style, based on images of her and my impression of Ashton's impression. Most importantly however, I let the music inspire me. Without a story or narrative, I focused on the abstract movements I discovered through the music. And so began my passion for Isadora's art. For me, that is what "Stoking the Flame" stands for: finding something that ignites the fire in your soul. The dances one creates through Isadora depicts happiness and joy, as well as sadness and misery. But a burning passion is always present. Since I joined the Elisabeth-Duncan-School in Munich, I have revived the choreography from my school project and am working more precisely on the musicality and execution with my teacher, Marion Hollering, and our pianist, Ari Mog.
Between Creating and Re-creating
The words of critics and audience members hold first hand accounts of the impact that Isadora Duncan left on her audiences. Elisabeth Schwartz and Catherine Gallant will create dances to the music of César Franck 's Rédemption which Duncan presented in 1916 at the Trocadero in Paris. Poet Fernand Divoire who called Duncan the “Daughter of Prometheus” and famously gave her students the name “Les Isadorables”, offers few descriptions of her dance. Elisabeth and Catherine will work separately using the responses of Divoire and other critics and writers to Duncan’s work to inform their creative process with the music of César Franck. Each will create a choreography embodying Duncan’s spirit and then perform together at the Symposium for the first time bringing a completely new dance to the moment of performance.
"The Tea of Isa and Dora"
Our proposal is to present an informal performance on the essential movement created by Isadora Duncan within a contemporary language punctuating the line humorous, narrative, dramatic, performative, ascending the flame of the past with a current approach. This performance was designed to be part of the 7th Dance Journey of Bahia idealized and held by Fátima Suarez where it hosts the Forum of Educators in Dance that promotes discussions on dance / education. The artistic conception has the title "The Tea of Isa and Dora" with authorship of Estela Serrano and Leila Gomes, deals with a parody to the repertoire of Isadora Duncan with music of Mozart (Marriage of Figaro) that inspired the narrative by the musical progress as well as the dances of Duncan. This scene is part of the repertoire of Do Meio Dance Company created in 2010 by direction of Leila Gomes, having as a proposal the research of movement from the word and musica metrics to compose choreographic sequences. We are also members of the Contemporary Ensemble that presents the repertoire of Isadora Duncan since 2002 with direction of Fátima Suarez and contribution of Lori Belilove.
Connecting with your Solar Plexus through contemporary dance
Isadora Duncan identified the solar plexus as the origin of all natural movement. During my first encounters with her technique it was difficult for me to understand the connection between my solar plexus and movement. I kept trying to replicate what I was seeing not tuning into the why of the movement. Slowly but surely after breaking down the movement and listening to my body I began to find the connection I was looking for. Very subtle at first, but as the connection grew I began to see it and feel it in other areas of my dance practice. From my experience, in order to enhance the connection we can step out of the Duncan archetype and explore its influence through a different lens. In my work as a contemporary dance artist I enjoy exploring how the solar plexus acts as a red thread connecting different genres that I study and teach. This workshop will include explorations in contact improv, somatic partner work, waacking, and improv. Participants will be led on a journey to cultivate or redefine the connection with their solar plexus and investigate how it can influence movement either directly or indirectly. To conclude the workshop participants will be encouraged to participate in a discussion of how Duncan relates to contemporary dance practices and how to encourage collaboration of Duncan and other dance styles.
Duncan Technique Class
As Duncan dancers we are keenly aware how our outward and inward gaze allows us a human focus where we “see each other.” This technique class centers around the possibilities of a dance experience in which we witness and encounter others, as well as ourselves, in a celebration of movement. Jennifer's singular guided therapeutic and strengthening warm-up maximizes awareness of alignment, breath, and musculature; Duncan barre, locomotive sequences, closing with a improvisation based on musicality, imagery, play, and connection with your fellow dancers.
Duncan Dance Chicago Choreographic Offerings creating / Crafting Through Improvisation
I propose showing two Duncan Dance Chicago pieces: a reinterpretation of repertory and a piece inspired by Tanagra studies. Both “figure” rather than literalize—as through simple restaging—the legacy of Duncan’s choreography. These dances foreground the capacities of Duncan’s movement to generate emotional investment in bodies on stage as they respond to music.
“Street Salvation” is a version of “Nocturne” set in a contemporary urban milieu where dancers wear street clothes and passersby intersect with the performance. The staging highlights a continuum Isadora re-energized, where ordinary gestures or garments are imbued with significance. The disjunct between contemporary and classical, cued by Chopin’s music, heightens the sense that “rendering” rather than strict representation is at work. These layers suggest narrative, even in story-telling works, can reframe emotions conventionally considered to happen within dance as those which circulate between performers and spectators. The viewer responds to and participates in feeling rather than passively receives pre-determined meanings of story.
“Goddesses (Slow & Beautiful)” is inspired by Duncan’s Tanagra studies. In three sections, it explores the potential of sculptural form in Duncan work. It has evolved through years of engagement with DDC dancers, who contributed to the piece through improvisation. I asked dancers to discover a goddess who resonated with them. We then worked to develop movements that continue Isadora’s “method” of using dance as a way of embodying thinking. My hope is that this piece might spur conversation about the uses of improvisation in continuing and enriching our own relationship to Duncan dance.