Isadora Duncan

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Isadora Duncan
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{{short description|American dancer and choreographer}}

{{efngroup=notes1906 San Francisco earthquake. See STOKESTITLE=ISADORA DUNCANWORK=ENCYCLOPæDIA BRITANNICA, 28 May 2015, }}| birth_place = San Francisco, California, U.S.192714}} (aged 50){{efn|name="birthdate"}}| death_place = Nice, FranceSoviet Union>SovietModern dance>Modern/contemporary dance| field = Dance and choreographySergei YeseninMay 1923|end=separation}}| partner = Edward Gordon CraigParis SingerRomano RomanelliMercedes de Acosta}}Angela Isadora Duncan (May 26, 1877 or May 27, 1878{{efn|name="birthdate"}} – 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.BOOK,weblink The Oxford Dictionary of Dance, Craine, Debra, Mackrell, Judith, Oxford University Press, 2000, 9780198601067, First, Oxford [England], 152, 45663394,

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; her sister, Elizabeth Duncan, was also a dancer.WEB,weblink Elizabeth Duncan dancer, Genthe, Arnold (photographer), Library of Congress, 2017-10-07, BOOK, Lilian Karina, Marion Kant, Hitler's Dancers: German Modern Dance and the Third Reich,weblink January 2004, Berghahn Books, 978-1-57181-688-7, 11, Soon after Isadora's birth, her father was exposed in illegal bank dealings, and the family became extremely poor.BOOK, Deborah Jowitt, Time and the Dancing Image,weblink 1989, University of California Press, 978-0-520-06627-4, 75, Her parents divorced when she was an infant,Duncan (1927), p. 17 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.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.BOOK,weblink International encyclopedia of dance : a project of Dance Perspectives Foundation, Inc., 2004, Oxford University Press, Cohen, Selma Jeanne, 1920-2005., Dance Perspectives Foundation., 9780195173697, 1st paperback, New York, 57374499, 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.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."


File:Isadora Duncan (grayscale).jpg|left|thumb|upright=0.85|Photo by Arnold GentheArnold GentheFile:Brooklyn Museum - Isadora Duncan 29 - Abraham Walkowitz.jpg|thumb|left|upright=0.85|Abraham WalkowitzAbraham WalkowitzDuncan 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.BOOK, O'Connor, B., Barefoot Dancer: The Story of Isadora Duncan, Carolrhoda Books, 1994, 978-0-87614-807-5,weblink 2016-09-17, 10, 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".Duncan (1927), p. 21 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.Duncan (1927), p. 31 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.Duncan (1927), p. 55NEWS,weblink Isadora Duncan {{!, Biography, Dances, Technique, & Facts|work=Encyclopedia Britannica|access-date=2017-12-22|language=en}} The earnings from these engagements enabled her to rent a studio, allowing her to develop her work and create larger performances for the stage.Duncan (1927), p. 58 From London, she traveled to Paris, where she was inspired by the Louvre and the Exposition Universelle of 1900.Duncan (1927), p. 69In 1902, Loie Fuller invited Duncan to tour with her. This took Duncan all over Europe as she created new works using her innovative technique,Duncan (1927), p. 94 which emphasized natural movement in contrast to the rigidity of tradition ballet.Jowitt, Deborah. Time and the Dancing Image. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989. p. 71 She spent most of the rest of her life touring Europe and the Americas in this fashion.Kurth (2001), p. 155 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.Setzer, Dawn. "UCLA Library Acquires Isadora Duncan Collection", UCLA Newsroom, last modified April 21, 2006Duncan 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.{{citation needed|date=September 2013}} 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 ErikaSturges (1990), p. 39), Duncan's protégées who would continue her legacy.Kurth (2001), p. 168 Duncan legally adopted all six girls in 1919, and they took her last name.BOOK, Kassing, G., History of Dance: An Interactive Arts Approach, Human Kinetics, 2007, 978-0-7360-6035-6,weblink 185, After about a decade in Berlin, Duncan established a school in Paris that was shortly closed because of the outbreak of World War I.NEWS,weblink Isadora Duncan, 1877-1927: The Mother of Modern Dance, VOA, 2018-02-16, en, In 1910, Duncan met the occultist Aleister Crowley at a party, an episode recounted by Crowley in his Confessions.{{Refn|Abridged ed, p. 676.}} He refers to Duncan as "Lavinia King", and used 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' â€” which is magical consciousness â€” with which she suits the action to the melody."Aleister Crowley, "Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4: Parts 1–4" 2nd revised ed. York Beach, ME, 1997, p. 197 Crowley was, in fact, more attracted to Duncan's bohemian companion Mary Dempsey ({{Aka}} 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, who also appeared in Moonchild (as "Lisa la Giuffria") and became a member of Crowley's occult order,{{efn|Desti helped Crowley write his magnum opus Magick (Book 4) under her magical name of "Soror Virakam", and also co-edited four numbers of his journal The Equinox, and contributed several collaborative plays.}} later wrote a memoir of her experiences with Duncan.{{Refn|The Untold Story: The Life of Isadora Duncan 1921–1927 (1929).}}In 1911, the French fashion designer Paul Poiret rented a mansion â€” Pavillon du Butard in La Celle-Saint-Cloud â€” 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,NEWS,weblink Rediscovered, Aydt, Rachel, May 29, 2007, Time, 2017-09-14, en-US, 0040-781X, subscription, danced on tables among 300 guests; 900 bottles of champagne were consumed until the first light of day.(File:Portrait photograph of Isadora Duncan.jpg|thumb|Duncan c. 1916–1918)Duncan, said to have posed for the photographer Eadweard Muybridge,NEWS,weblink April 9 - 1930. Pioneer Photographer Of Motion, Getty Images, 2017-09-14, en-US, 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.BOOK,weblink Done into dance : Isadora Duncan in America, Daly, Ann, 2002, Wesleyan University Press, 0819565601, Wesleyan, Middletown, Conn., 726747550, 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).Sturges (1990), p. 120 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.Sturges (1990), pp. 121–124 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.MAGAZINE, 8 Famous People Who Missed the Lusitania, Greg Daugherty, Smithsonian Magazine,weblink 2 May 2013, 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.Duncan (1927), p. 422 In 1924, Duncan composed a dance routine called Varshavianka to the tune of the Polish revolutionary song known in English as Whirlwinds of Danger.WEB,weblink Varshavianka (1924), Aaron Greer, 7 March 2016, YouTube,

Philosophy and technique

(File:Isadora Duncan 1.jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|left|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.Stewart J, Sacred Woman, Sacred Dance, 2000. p. 122. 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.{{citation needed|date=January 2017}}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."Duncan (1927), p. 75 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.Kurth (2001), p. 57 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).Duncan (1927), p. 45Duncan wrote of American dancing: "let them come forth with great strides, leaps and bounds, with lifted forehead and far-spread arms, to dance."Duncan (1927), p. 343 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.Duncan (1927), p. 10 Also, she believed movement originated from the solar plexus, which she thought was the source of all movement. It is this philosophy and new dance technique that garnered Duncan the title of the creator of modern dance.

Photo gallery

File:Isadora Duncan studies 1.jpg|File:Isadora Duncan studies 4.jpg|File:Isadora Duncan studies 5.jpg|

Personal life

(File:Isadora Duncan and her children.jpg|thumb|left|Duncan with her children Deirdre and Patrick, in 1913)In both professional and private life, Duncan flouted traditional mores and morality. She was bisexualStern, Keith. Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders BenBella Books, 2009. {{ISBN|9781935251835}}. p. 148 and an atheist,Mazo, Joseph H. Prime Movers: The Makers of Modern Dance in America. New York: Morrow, 1977. Print. 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!"BOOK, Turner, Erin H., More Than Petticoats: Remarkable California Women, Globe Pequot, 1999, 79, 1-56044-859-8, 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),Kurth (2001) 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.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.WEB,weblink Duse, Eleanora (1859–1924), glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture, 2006-09-10, 2007-07-02, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-07-03, File:1923. Esen duncan.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.1|Duncan and Sergei YeseninSergei YeseninIn her autobiography, Duncan relates that she begged a young Italian stranger, the sculptor Romano Romanelli,Gavin, Eileen A. and Siderits, Mary Anne. Women of vision: their psychology, circumstances, and success. 2007 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.NEWS,weblink Isadora Duncan and Paris Singer, 2013-07-03, Dark Lane Creative, 2018-04-17, en-GB, WEB,weblink The Linosaurus: Isadora Duncan: a taste for life, Gerrie, 2014-09-24, The Linosaurus, 2018-04-17, 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.S.A. Yesenin. Life and Work Chronology {{Webarchive|url= |date=2016-09-18 }}. The Complete Works by S.A. Yesenin in 7 Volumes. Nauka Publishers, 2002 // Хронологическая канва жизни и творчества. Есенин С. А. Полное собрание сочинений: Ð’ 7 Ñ‚. - Ðœ.: Наука; Голос, 1995-2002.Duncan had a relationship with the poet and playwright Mercedes de Acosta, as documented in numerous revealing letters they wrote to each other.Hugo Vickers, Loving Garbo: The Story of Greta Garbo, Cecil Beaton, and Mercedes de Acosta, Random House, 1994. 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."Schanke (2006){{clear left}}

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.{{citation needed|date = September 2012}} 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.Milford, Nancy. Zelda: A Biography, New York: HarperCollins, 1983. p. 118In 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."Gillies, Malcolm; Pear, David and Carroll, Mark. (eds.) Self Portrait of Percy Grainger. Oxford University Press, 2006. p. 116


File:AX Isadora Duncan Tomb crop.jpg|thumb|right|upright=0.9|Duncan's tomb at Père Lachaise CemeteryPère Lachaise CemeteryOn 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.Sturges (1990), pp. 227–230 As they departed, she reportedly said to Desti and some companions, "" ("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, ("I am off to love"). Desti considered this embarrassing, as it suggested that she and Falchetto were going to her hotel for a tryst.WEB, DEATH By Flowing Scarf – Isadora Duncan, USA,weblink True Stories of Strange Deaths, 18 May 2016, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 6 May 2016, NEWS, Isadora Duncan Meets Fate,weblink 18 May 2016, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, NEWS, Isadora Duncan killed in Paris under wheels of car she was buying,weblink 18 May 2016, Sandusky Star Journal, September 15, 1927, 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. 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.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."NEWS,weblink Isadora Duncan, Dragged by Scarf from Auto, Killed; Dancer Is Thrown to Road While Riding at Nice and Her Neck Is Broken, 1927-09-15, The New York Times, 2007-07-02, subscription, Other sources noted that she was almost decapitated by the sudden tightening of the scarf around her neck.{{Citation|author=Janet Flanner|title=Episode 179, Season 6|date = 1972-06-16 | work = The Dick Cavett Show}} The accident gave rise to Gertrude Stein's mordant remark that "affectations can be dangerous".WEB,weblink Affectations Can Be Dangerous, Three Hundred Words,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-10-10, yes, 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.BOOK, Petrucelli, Alan, Morbid Curiosity: The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous, 2009, Duncan was cremated, and her ashes were placed next to those of her childrenJOURNAL, Kavanagh, Nicola, May 2008, Decline and Fall, Wound Magazine, 3, 113, London, 1755-800X, in the columbarium at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.Hemingway: The Homecoming 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,WEB,weblink Search Results: "Maria Theresa Duncan" - Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (Library of Congress),, Anna Duncan,WEB,weblink Search Results: "Anna Duncan" - Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (Library of Congress),, and Irma Duncan,WEB,weblink Search Results: "Irma Duncan" - Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (Library of Congress),, 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.{{citation needed|date=September 2016|reason=Need to support claim these three were most important in carrying on her technique}} Through her sister, Elizabeth, Duncan's approach was adopted by Jarmila Jeřábková from Prague where her legacy persists.WEB,weblink 100-year birth anniversary of Jarmila Jeřábková – dancer, choreographer and teacher, Kateřina Boková, Czech Dance Info, 5 March 2014, 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,WEB,weblink Search Results: "Lisa Duncan" - Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (Library of Congress),, 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.NEWS,weblink Julia Levien, 94, Authority on the Dances of Isadora Duncan, Dies, The New York Times, September 9, 2006, Jennifer Dunning, 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|lc=y}}. Garland also succeeded in having San Francisco rename an alley on the same block from Adelaide Place to Isadora Duncan Lane.NEWS, Kisselgoff, Anna, Mignon Garland Dies at 91; Disciple of Isadora Duncan,weblink 18 May 2016, The New York Times, September 24, 1999, WEB, Journal of proceedings, Board of Supervisors, City and County of San Francisco,weblink The Wayback Machine, Board of Supervisors, City and County of San Francisco, 19 May 2016, 89, January 25, 1988, In medicine, the Isadora Duncan Syndrome refers to injury or death consequent to entanglement of neckwear with a wheel or other machinery.JOURNAL, Gowens PA, Davenport RJ, Kerr J, Sanderson RJ, Marsden AK, Survival from accidental strangulation from a scarf resulting in laryngeal rupture and carotid artery stenosis: the "Isadora Duncan syndrome". A case report and review of literature, Emerg Med J, 20, 4, 391–3, July 2003, 12835372, 1726156, 10.1136/emj.20.4.391,

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,BOOK, Tobias Churton, Aleister Crowley: The Biography: Spiritual Revolutionary, Romantic Explorer, Occult Master – and Spy,weblink 1 January 2012, Watkins Media Limited, 978-1-78028-134-6, 135, 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.BOOK, Upton Sinclair, Between Two Worlds I,weblink 1 January 2001, Simon Publications LLC, 978-1-931313-02-5, 172, She is also the subject of Amelia Gray's novel Isadora (2017).WEB,weblink A Dancer is Unstrung By Grief in 'Isadora', NPR, Two characters in the A Series of Unfortunate Events series of novels are named after her, Isadora Quagmire and Duncan Quagmire.WEB,weblink A Series Of Unfortunate Literary Allusions, NPR, Among the films featuring Duncan are:
  • The 1966 BBC biopic by Kenneth Russell, Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World, which was introduced by Duncan's biographer, Sewell Stokes, Duncan was played by Vivian Pickles.BOOK, Ann Daly, Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America,weblink 1 March 2010, Wesleyan University Press, 978-0-8195-7096-3, 221,
  • The 1968 film Isadora, nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, stars Vanessa Redgrave as Duncan. The film was based in part of Duncan's autobiography. Redgrave was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Duncan.{{IMDb title|0063141|Isadora}}
  • Archival footage of Duncan was used in the 1985 popular documentary That's Dancing!.BOOK, John Cline, Robert G. Weiner, From the Arthouse to the Grindhouse: Highbrow and Lowbrow Transgression in Cinema's First Century,weblink 17 July 2010, Scarecrow Press, 978-0-8108-7655-2, 241, {{IMDb name|0241984|Isadora Duncan}}
  • A 1989 documentary, Isadora Duncan: Movement from the Soul, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 1989 Sundance Film Festival.BOOK, Annette Lust, Bringing the Body to the Stage and Screen: Expressive Movement for Performers,weblink 2012, Scarecrow Press, 978-0-8108-8212-6, 314,
Ballets based on Duncan include: On the theatre stage, Duncan is portrayed in:
  • A 1991 stage play When She Danced by Martin Sherman about Duncan's later years, won the Evening Standard Award for Vanessa Redgrave as Best Actress.BOOK, Carrie J. Preston, Modernisms Mythic Pose: Gender, Genre, Solo Performance,weblink 2011-08-08, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-987744-7, 293–294,
  • In 2016, Lily-Rose Depp portrayed Duncan in The Dancer, a French biographical musical drama of dancer Loie Fuller.NEWS, Keslassy, Elsa, Lily-Rose Depp to Star as Isadora Duncan in 'The Dancer',weblink December 29, 2015, Variety, September 24, 2015,
Duncan is featured in music in:
  • Celia Cruz recorded a track titled Isadora Duncan with the Fania All-Stars for the album Cross Over released in 1979.BOOK, Angel G. Quintero Rivera, Music, Social Classes, and the National Question of Puerto Rico,weblink 1989, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 34,
  • Rock musician Vic Chesnutt included a song about Duncan on his debut album Little.BOOK, Peter Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock,weblink 2003, Rough Guides, 978-1-84353-105-0, 195,
In the poem Fever 103 by Sylvia Plath, the speaker alludes to Isadora's scarves.BOOK, Dr Tracy Brain, The Other Sylvia Plath,weblink 22 July 2014, Routledge, 978-1-317-88160-5, 1–,

See also






  • 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.

Further reading

  • Daly, Ann. Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.
  • BOOK, Isadora, Duncan, My Life, Boni and Liveright, New York, 1927, 738636,
  • WEB,weblink Atlas F1 historical research forum about the Amilcar debate, 2002-07-21, 2007-07-02,weblink" title="">weblink 2016-03-03,

External links

{{Commons category|Isadora Duncan}}
  • WEB, Isadora Duncan's Birthplace,weblink, , 501 Taylor, San Francisco
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Eastern Philosophy
History of Philosophy
M.R.M. Parrott