Monday, June 18, 2007

cut and paste

in 1903, Isadora Duncan gave a lecture in Berlin, titled "The Dance of the Future," which was published as a pamphlet; it became the manifesto of Modern Dance and a feminist classic:

"... The movement of the waves, of winds, of the earth is ever in the same lasting harmony. We do not stand on the beach and inquire of the ocean what was its movement of the past and what will be its movement of the future. We realize that the movement peculiar to its nature is eternal to its nature...

The primary or fundamental movements of the new school of the dance must have within them the seeds from which will evolve all other movements, each in turn to give birth to others in unending sequence of still higher and greater expression, thoughts and ideas ...

My intention is, in due time, to found a school, to build a theatre where a hundred little girls shall be trained in my art, which they in turn will better. In this school I shall not teach the children to imitate my movements, but to make their own, I shall not force them to study certain movements, I shall help them to develop those movements which are natural to them.

There will always be movements which are the perfect expression of that individual body and that individual soul: so we must not force it to make movements which are not natural to it but which belong to a school.

The dancer of the future will 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 a nation but to all humanity. She will dance not in the form of a nymph, nor fairy, nor coquette but in the form of a woman in its greatest and purest expression. She will realize the mission of woman's body and the holiness of all its parts. She will dance the changing life of nature, showing how each part is transformed into the other. 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 women ...

This is the mission of the dancer of the future...she is coming the dancer of the future: the free spirit, who will inhabit the body of new women; more glorious than any woman that has yet been; more beautiful than...all women in past centuries: The highest intelligence in the freest body!"

Isadora also pondered the relation of dance to music. In the patterned choreography of ballet, the steps were set to music. In her own technique of dance composition, the movement grew out of emotions evoked by the music, or the movement evolved--beginning as emotions expressed by gestures in silence, for which she would then select music that illustrated those same emotions:

"...I on the contrary sought the source of the spiritual expression to flow into the channels of the body filling it with vibrating light--the centrifugal force reflecting the spirit's vision. After many months, when I had learned to concentrate all my force to this one Center I found that thereafter, when I listened to music the rays and vibrations of the music streamed to this one fount of light within me--there they reflected themselves in Spiritual Vision, not the brain's mirror; but the soul's, and from this vision I could express them in dance."

After Isadora's death, her friend Christine Dallies found the following statement in her papers:

'...Since the invention of the radio, we know that we are surrounded by music and by voices which come to us from all parts of the world. Our ears cannot perceive these sounds which the radio easily transmits to us.

I do not doubt that someday someone will discover an instrument which will do for sight what radio does for hearing, and we will discover that we are surrounded, not only by sounds, but also and invisibly, to our eye, by the presence of all that is no longer. The music and the voices that we hear over the radio do not cease to exist but travel in space indefinitely and, in time, attain other stars: therefore gestures also travel endlessly in space.

So, each word we speak, each gesture we make continue in the ether on an immortal voyage.

In this survival only, I believe, and that is sufficient.'

Article based on excerpts from the fascinating book on Isadora Duncan "LIFE INTO ART" by Doree Duncan, Carol Pratl and Cynthia Splatt.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:21 AM

    If I may.
    If I might.
    Meet you again
    One night.

    Your beauty
    Radiates light
    Into the warmth
    Of my hands.

    Full moon intentions
    To set us free.

    Bright light
    In our hearts