Isadora Duncan in the 21st Century

Capturing the Art and Spirit of the Dancer’s Legacy

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About the Book

Part artistic study, part intimate memoir, this book illuminates the technique and repertory of American dancer Isadora Duncan (1877–1927) and her enduring legacy from the perspective of an artist and scholar who has reconstructed and performed her work for 35 years. Providing an overview of modern activities and trends in the teaching and performance of Duncan’s dance, the author describes her own work directing The Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble, the company that sought to implement Duncan’s mission to create not a school of dance but “a school of life.”

About the Author(s)

Andrea Mantell Seidel is a professor emeritus of dance, associate professor of religious studies and former founding director of the Intercultural Dance and Music Institute of the Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University. She lives in Miami.

Bibliographic Details

Andrea Mantell Seidel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7795-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2369-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

Introduction 13

1. First Principles: From Breath to Organic Motion 27

2. Dancing Innocence and Awakening: Childhood and Youth 44

3. Training for Dance and the Dance of Life 61

4. Beingness and the Art of Enlightened Performance: Ave Maria 85

5. Enlightened Performance and Dancing the Chorus: Blessed Spirits 96

6. The Art of the Solo Dancer: The Brahms, Chopin and Gluck Dances 109

7. Dancing Community and Joy: The Strauss Waltzes 139

8. Apollonian Form, Beauty and the Natural Body 149

9. Dancing the Ecstasy of Dionysus: Bacchanal 163

10. Dancing the Music 178

11. Dancing Tragedy and Triumph: Mother, Revolutionary and Nocturne 188

12. Women Warriors: Dances of Revolutionary Russia 200

Epilogue. The Dancer of the Future: Onward into the Light 214

Chapter Notes 229

Bibliography 241

Index 247

Book Reviews & Awards

“fills a critical gap in the extent scholarship on early twentieth-century dance artist Isadora Duncan…rich imagery”—Dance Research Journal; “is an engaging and enlightening exploration of Duncan Dance and Isadora Duncan’s evolving legacy. As entertaining as it is informative…a must read…valuable”—Journal of Dance Education; “Students will discover that Duncan’s style is definitely not dated but classic, ageless, universal, and can be performed throughout one’s life… A must read!”—National Honor Society for Dance Arts; “this is an interesting book, conceived and written in quite an innovative way…the book is easy to read and is highly enjoyable”—Dance, Movement & Spiritualities; “In a seamless narrative, Seidel weaves accounts of Duncan’s life, philosophy, and art through relevant dance scholarship and Seidel’s own dance experiences to offer a heart-felt tribute to Duncan, an inspiring gift to fellow Duncan followers, and a compelling invitation to Duncan dancers of the future.”—Kimerer L. LaMothe, author of Why We Dance: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming and Nietzsche’s Dancers: Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and the Revaluation of Christian Values.