Isadora Duncan, the mother of contemporary dance, was a pioneering American woman and free spirit, an artist of soul and being ahead of her time. In her short life from 1877 to 1927, she revolutionized dance during an era when Victorian morals and aesthetics leftlittle space for movement arts beyond the rarified, stiff ballet, ballroomdance, or the common vaudevillian confections of State Fairs or urban playhouses.
Hers was a bold vision of a New Dance and a NewWoman - the Dance and Dancer of the Future. She wrote that the "Dance of the Future" would have to reclaim its place as a sacred art form, the way it was with the ancient Greeks. The dancer dances not to astonish, but to raise consciousness and act as a channel for universal energies. In many ways, the motivation for dance goes full circle to its primal roots - the sacred communion of body, mind, spirit, and community. The community is now the world, and the dance is the dance of the Universe.
The "Dancer of the Future", according to Isadora,would be 'one whose body and soul have grown so harmoniously together, that the natural language of that soul will have become the movement of the body. The dancer will not belong to any nation, but to all humanity. She will dance not in the form of nymph, nor fairy, nor coquette, but in the form of woman in her greatest and purest expression. She will realize the mission of woman's body and the holiness of its parts. She will dance the changing life of nature....From all parts of her body shall shine radiant intelligence, bringing to the world the message of the thoughts and aspirations of thousands of women. She shall dance the freedom of woman." - from her book The Art of the Dance.
This vision inspires a deep reverence for the body and the dance. When our perception of dance shifts into the sacred, we realize that we are all works of art. Isadora Duncan was profoundly inspired by Nature, the Myths and Archetypes, and the great works of art they inspire. Duncan dance is a profound way to get in touch with these sources of inspiration and express them through our dance.
My own Duncan-inspired work dives into these Sources to create Movement Rituals that celebrate the beauty of Nature and the power of the Myths, Archetypes, and Art. To join dance to its sister arts is the fulfillment of its rightful place as a noble art form, a goal which passionately motivated Isadora and now dancers all over the world. The Dance of the Future, to me, is that dance which opens the entire Being to the harmony of the Universe and the supreme beauty of its forms and patterns.
Isadora pointed out that all energy moves in waves - light, sound, oceans, hilltops, even the bounding of feet, paws and hooves against the Earth. She reveled in the wavelike contours of the female form, seeing in them an expression of the harmonic resonance that the ancient Greeks were so adept at revealing. Her philosophy and repertory are a treasure for any soul seeking inspiration that reveals the hidden synapses between the Self and the Universe and catalyses transpersonal experience, when we overflow our boundaries and become one with the Source.
Even though she died before her time, the crystal clarity of her vision shines on and lights the path for those who come after her. Dance is a sacred art form capable of manifesting the noblest versions of ourselves - those versions that embody the grace, harmony, and transcendent beauty of the Universe.