The Dance of Isadora Duncan


Photo by Nicole Robinson

In the 1890's, Loie Fuller began what was to become a radical transformation of the dance, elevating it from mere entertainment to an art form. By 1904, Isadora Duncan had furthered this evolution, establishing the dance as a respected and vital means of expression. 

As one of the foremost innovators of modern dance, Isadora Duncan not only influenced a change in the character of traditional ballet through her early tours to Russia, but also created the enthusiasm necessary for dance to develop into what it is today in the western world. Isadora gave dance a new dimension through intensity of emotion, meaning, musical impulse and creatively responsive movement. Movement and meaning became one, stemming from the same internal desire to convey what is impossible to express with words. 

Isadora spent long hours in studios creating and developing her teaching methods. This distinct technique, in addition to an entire repertoire of choreographs, have been passed down from generation to generation of Duncan-trained dancers. The pupils of her first school (which was founded in Germany in 1904) - Anna, Lisa, Theresa and Irma - carried on the aesthetic and pedagogical principles of Isadora's work in New York and Paris. Elizabeth Duncan, Isadora's sister, also furthered the fundamental ideals of the technique in her German-based school. All, in fact, contributed to crystallizing Isadora's approach and her ideas on the art of dancing. Today there are third, fourth and fifth generation pupils maintaining and preserving this unique heritage.

B. Kane. 1991

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