I recently stumbled upon a few amazing ladies from our past and thought I’d share their stories. Isadora Duncan is the first in this series because she was a dancer and, at heart, I am too!
Born Dora Angela Duncan in 1878, she was a woman rebel from the womb who challenged and changed modern society. She had a fierce spirit that could not be contained.
Her chosen method of expression was through dance and the style she aspired to was organic and intuitive. Her philosophy of movement did not conform to anyone’s standards. Dance for Duncan was a method of expressing one’s natural self: it was also a way to make a political statement against society’s norms.
Dancing barefoot, skipping, twirling, jumping and leaping – Duncan altered the terrain of the performance. While her works may have looked improvised, they were indeed choreographed – she interpreted music of great composers, but she did it with such natural talent that it was seamless.
She is known as the Mother of Modern Dance.
Critics felt that she did not have the right to interpret these works in such a manner. But Duncan believed that art played a crucial role in culture, it was needed to allow individuals avenues to question the status quo.
Duncan was a philosopher and visionary educator. She advocated that all learning should be grounded in the arts, culture and spirituality. As an educator, she opened her first dance school in Germany in 1904. Remembering her own childhood of poverty, she made it a point to choose students from the poorer classes, and she paid for all their physical needs.
She believed in the transformative power of dance. In fact, she was a pioneer theorist, creating the first theory of dance. Above all, Duncan was a free spirit – a rebel with a vision – a dancer, a teacher, a poet and a thinker.
She was bold, fierce and daring – her dance reflected her life!