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2015 Session Descriptions

Here you’ll find descriptions of all the sessions to be featured at the 2015 Isadora Duncan International Symposium. Find the Presenters’ Biographies here, or a full schedule of events here.

Thursday, June 11th

Session I 11:15-12:45

UNDERSTANDING DUNCAN’S CHOREOGRAPHY AS THE WELLSPRING OF HER TECHNIQUE
Movement Panel moderated by Alice Bloch with Lori Belilove, Catherine Gallant, Beth Jucovy, Janaea Rose Lyn, Adrienne Ramm, Andrea Seidel

Practitioners of Duncan dance frequently describe what we teach as “Duncan technique.” While it may be taught to enhance performance of Duncan’s choreography, many of us teach it as an independent class. But what is the source of this technique as it is taught today? This workshop proposal posits that the essentials of Isadora’s dance are in her choreography. To this end, contemporary Duncan masters including Lori Belilove, Adrienne Ramm and more, who have worked closely with the Isadorables and 2nd generation Duncan dancers, will lead participants in analyzing select Duncan choreography to study how such essential Duncan elements as the Tanagras, Universe, travelling patterns, and wave forms have yielded today’s Duncan technique. They will also share anecdotes and imagery that have helped them comprehend and pass on the essence of Isadora’s dance.

PRIMING AND TUNING OUR BODIES FOR LONGEVITY IN ISADORA’S TECHNIQUE
Workshop/Class by Jennifer Sprowl

This 90 minute workshop/class will demonstrate therapeutic / rehabilitating musclo-skeletal disciplines to develop strength, flexibility & kinesthetic awareness for regular practice before or after taking class. Preparing muscles for Duncan dance requires specific isolated exercises for optimal engagement; preventing injury & maintaining a lifetime of movement. For the second half, the opportunity to explore an abbreviated Duncan technique class, feeling your primed body, oxygen-rich muscles, deeper diaphragmatic breathing and led with joy, humor & passion in Isadora’s dance!

DISCOVERING THE GIFT OF SIMPLICITY IN DUNCAN DANCE
Workshop with Ann Cogley
“By its rejection of all artificiality … [Duncan dance] exposes the motives of the soul and body. It is only [for] the very few who possess the gift of utter simplicity and ability to arouse emotion in the breast of another.” ––Irma Duncan, The Technique of Isadora Duncan
Simplicity and sincerity are so important to our dance. Using several strategies we will get a closer look at the technical demands, professional polish, and personal idiosyncrasies that might be getting in our way.

Lunch: 12:45-2pm
VIDEO SHOWING
Shared by Catherine Gallant + Dances by Isadora
A collection of coaching sessions featuring Julia Levien 1994-2003
“Angels Walking in the Light” 2014
A new work for camera by Nadia Lesy shot with Dances by Isadora at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY
Leaf Dance – Catherine Gallant’s students at PS 89 in NYC improvise a dance about falling leaves.

COLLABORATIVE OPEN SPACE
An open studio time which attendees may use to develop collaborations, trade bodywork, do one on one training or coaching, or use as they see fit. Repeats at each mealtime.

Session II: 2-3:30pm

DISCOVERING BRIDGES: BEST PRACTICES FOR CONNECTING ISADORA DUNCAN DANCE WITH OTHER DISCIPLINES
Panel Presentation and Discussion moderated by Valerie Durham, Participants TBD

This panel presentation and discussion will allow Duncan dance practitioners to share how they have incorporated the practice of other disciplines such as yoga, ballet, postmodern dance, Alexander technique and other somatic practices with Isadora Duncan dance. What have been the goals of such incorporations? What has been the result? What are the potential pitfalls? Can Duncan dance be “improved” or can new discoveries be made? Presentations by selected experts (to be determined) will be followed by direct questions by the moderator (Valerie Durham) and a Q&A session with the audience.

SOLITUDE AND AFFILIATION: INTERNALIZING THE BALANCE: ESSENTIAL ISADORA FOR RESILIENCY BUILDING AND TRAUMA RECOVERY
Workshop by Dicki Johnson Macy, BC-DMT, IDMA, LMHC, M.Ed.

The choreographic etudes of Isadora Duncan explore, through the action/ rest continuum, the dynamic relationship between affiliation and solitude. Duncan, most recently referred to by movement based clinicians, “American’s First Dance Therapist”, expressed a theory of continuous movement that included sensitivity to the literal and metaphorical flow of energy into and out of the body. In search of movements expressive of the human spirit, her technique: 1) glorifies natural movement, 2) sources rhythmic and emotional links fundamental to all life forms, and 3) traces dance to its sacred roots using mythological archetypes and ritual. The Duncan prophecy, the presenter’s source of creative inspiration, provides the architecture for containment in her treatment methodology.  The tradition recognizes that the balance betweenAffiliation (external environment) and Solitude (internal landscape) is necessary for spiritual, emotional ,and physical integration. The presenter will illustrate how various Duncan choreographies and motifs have been utilized therapeutically to encourage a sense of integration and connection.

CONTRIBUTION OF FRANCOIS MALKOVSKY TO FREE DANCE AS A PRECURSOR OF MODERN DANCE
Lecture/Workshop by Francine Gartner

Francois Malkovsky saw and met Isadora Duncan in Paris in 1911 when he came there to study music. He studied movement with Raymond Duncan in Paris in his Akademia and became his assistant. As Isadora and Raymond, Malkovsky was inspired by Greek art and Isadora’s ideas of ondulation movement according to nature and found in flames, waves, trees in the wind… His technique shows a strong relationship between breath and gesture, the use of weight and gravity, origin of emotions from plexus solar, relationship to music from romantic composers. Francine Gartner will share her experience as a teacher of this technique.

Session III: 3:45-5:15

REDISCOVERING DUNCAN WITH PREK-12 DANCE EDUCATORS-IN-TRAINING
Panel Moderated by Frederick Curry
Panelists: Lori Belilove, Artistic Director, The Isadora Duncan Dance Company
Elyssa Dru Rosenberg, Founder and Director, isadoraNOW Dance Company

The presentation shares discoveries made by the panelists over five years of exploring Duncan’s pedagogic and artistic legacies with graduate dance education students pursuing state licensure in teaching preK-12 dance in New Jersey and New York.

UNDERTOW: ISADORA’S WAVES OF MOVEMENT & MEANING
Workshop with Janaea Rose Lyn (McAlee)

The movements should follow the rhythm of the waves: the rhythm that rises, penetrates, holding in itself the impulse and the after-movement; call and response bound endlessly in one cadence.”

– Isadora Duncan, essay: Depth from The Art of the Dance

In this workshop we will re-discover the wave as the foundational concept of Duncan’s technique, choreography and philosophy. The physical manifestation of the wave motion will be experienced through three key movements and their corresponding spatial planes: the walk (horizontal), the waltz (vertical), and torso/arm work (diagonal) to more clearly articulate their intersections into, and out from the solar plexus. Then we will investigate more complex combinations which express the wave pattern in Duncan’s choreography. Woven throughout will be references to the philosophical underpinning of Duncan’s approach to dance and life – the inspiration of the wave as the quintessential example of life’s perpetual renewal and undertow as the necessary pulling back to a larger source for that renewal.

DRENCHED IN BEAUTY: THE NUMINOUS WORLD BEHIND DUNCAN DANCE
Workshop by Linda Rapuano

An exploration of the imaginal and soul-shaping forces that inspired Isadora and techniques to harness this energy for personal and creative growth. Sourced from within, the dance of Isadora Duncan is genius. Her world is compelling, numinous, because it is drawn from Truth and reflects what is Real; it is drenched in Beauty. Everything about Isadora’s artistry bears witness to her long apprenticeship to Beauty and its regenerative and creative potency. During this time together we will freshly consider some the core Ideas that lie behind Isadora’s work: the Female Form, Water and other elements, Silence, and other Ideas that Isadora invoked. Following this, we will engage processes to reach into our own evolutionary history and discover anew the source of Isadora’s inspiration and our own creative fire.

Session IV: 6:15-7:45

MOVING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK
Choreographic Showing and Discussion by Elyssa Dru Rosenberg and Raleigh Veach

About a year ago, we began a journey to explore Isadora Duncan’s Tanagra Figures through a bicoastal experiment. Working with a trio of dancers in New York and another trio in San Diego, we each created a modern interpretation of the Tanagra Figures. Using a modern interpretation of the music, La Folia, we blended the new choreography into the old, following a similar technique on each coast. The new works in their entirety have been performed several times on each coast to high praise. Now, for the first time, we would like to show the pieces as they were originally intended, using projection to integrate dancers in San Diego, dancers in New York, and dancers live in the middle (Chicago). We will conclude with a discussion in which Raleigh and Elyssa will talk about the choreographic process, the goals, the challenges, and solicit feedback from the audience.

[RE]DISCOVERING DUNCAN: THE DANCE OF MUSIC; THE ART OF SIMPLICITY
Workshop/Master Class by Beth Jucovy

For me, the artistry in Duncan dance stems from two things, one is the unity of the music and the dance. The second is the scope of expression and dynamics that are so integral to the aesthetic. The range of dynamics is huge, all within the apparent simplicity of the actual choreography. In fact it is the simplicity and purity of the movement that so easily lends itself to full dynamic expression.

This workshop focuses on these two aspects of Duncan via two Brahms works: Opus 39 #8 and #14. These pieces express very different qualities and they are both extremely musically nuanced. If you can hear, feel and dance the musicality, the dances are expressive and beautiful. I will also work with Scriabin’s Revolutionary Etude. The dancer’s task is to honestly express the musical piece. Again, the actual movement is very simple. The content comes from fully tapping into the music and the theme: the strength of the human spirit inherent in each of us.

UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE:  THE DUNCAN STUDENT PERSPECTIVE
Roundtable moderated by Deb Abram, with Cathy Thomas, Leslie Fiedler and Suzanne Fraker

This roundtable discussion will focus on the Duncan student experience and what attracts us to the work.   The dialogue is intended to enlighten the practitioner/teacher and to provide them with greater insight into the future sustainability of this work as it pertains to the student dancer. We encourage students and teachers to attend this session to share both perspectives.

Friday June 12th

Session V: 9-10:30

MARKETING DUNCAN
Panel Discussion moderated by Marie Carstens, with Participants TBD

What works, what doesn’t work, and where do we need to go next in marketing work by Isadora Duncan.

MIND/BODYFULLNESS: THE CULTIVATION OF THE QUALITIES OF LUMINOSITY AND RADIANCE IN ISADORA DUNCAN DANCE TECHNIQUE AND REPERTORY
Master class/workshop by Andrea Seidel

For Isadora, the truly creative dancer was one who could “convert the body into a luminous fluidity, rendering it to the inspiration of the soul.” After 35 years of dancing and teaching Duncan technique and repertory, I have discovered that it is primarily this quality of luminosity that gives integrity, authenticity, and conviction to contemporary performances of Duncan’s work. Luminosity or radiance is an attribute that is rarely emphasized in the classroom, as it is often deemed as either elusive and/or an innate gift of charisma that cannot be taught. However, I have discovered that the quality of radiance can be cultivated and developed through what I refer to as “mind/bodyfullness” strategies. These strategies can help to ignite what Isadora called “the motor in the soul” and to promote a mind/body integration. The proposed workshop will present these “mind/bodyfull” strategies within the context of a Duncan class, progressing from floor exercises to standing and center work, and then to structured improvisations, locomotive movement, and short repertory excerpts across the floor. Exercises will focus on activating the solar plexus or heart center, moving through wave, circular and arcing patterns of motion in whole and isolated body parts, and use of the breath and emotion/intention as the impetus for movement. Duncan basic exercises are enhanced and animated through use of the creative imagination, techniques for concentration and awareness, positive, evocative imagery and reinforcement, motivational techniques, arousal of faith in oneself and the ‘soul,’ and an emphasis on cultivating a ‘light, subtle body/mind.’

ENHANCING SOMATIC AWARENESS IN DUNCAN DANCE
Workshop by Alice Bloch

To move from a somatic perspective is to sense the body from within, bringing to consciousness the interplay of our physical, sensual, and emotional selves as shaped by the surrounding world. It connects us to nature, encouraging consciousness of gravity and bodily processes such as breathing. We understand ourselves and others through the body. Dance is somatic practice. Duncan’s dance, centered in the solar plexus, with its expressive use of gravity and wave forms, exemplifies somatic consciousness, embodying the interrelationship of self, nature, and community. Her language is somatic. She wrote of the: “intelligence of the human foot;” and “the natural gravitation of the will of the individual.” Her potent somatic presence was one reason Duncan so moved her audiences. However, Duncan’s dance is often taught and experienced as steps. This workshop offers participants ways to intensify somatic awareness in their Duncan practice, bringing them closer to her intent. Letting energy flow from the earth through the feet and into the body, they project it out into space through the Universe gesture. Walking with articulated feet and hips intensifies their earth connection and kinesthetic consciousness. Feeling the energy flow from solar plexus through fingertips unites them with others.

 

Session VI 10:45-11:15

DANCING “WOMAN:” PERSPECTIVES ON GENDER IN ISADORA DUNCAN’S DANCE
Panel Moderated by Meg Brooker, with Andrea Mantell Seidel, PhD and others TBD

The panel will examine Duncan’s vision of a free and independent “Woman” as expressed in her writings and speeches on the dance within the socio-historical context of the early 20th century, as well as from the perspective of contemporary concepts of gender and female identity. Understanding that today’s gender landscape is very different than it was a century ago, this panel addresses the following questions: What is the role of gender in contemporary Isadora Duncan dance? Are we reaffirming, redefining, or deconstructing Duncan’s ideal “Woman” in our contemporary approaches to teaching Duncan technique and repertory? What role does our perspective on Duncan’s conception of “Woman” play in how we negotiate gender in our current studio and classroom spaces? Five panelists, representing multiple lineages and generations of Duncan dancers, share their perspectives on gender in Duncan dance practice from a variety of contexts ranging from higher education, to professional concert performance, to community-based and therapeutic dance settings.

INVOKING THE MYTHOLOGICAL ARCHETYPE FROM WITHIN
Workshop/Master Class by Adrienne Ramm

Exploring excerpts of Isadora’s choreography we will bring to life the great power inherent in the universal gestures originating from the solar plexus. The shared experiences of humanity embodied by the archetypal movements will be discovered and expressed through dance phrases found in the vast body of Isadora’s repertory. With music and images being the inspiration, we will invoke the many faces of the Dancing Muse, empowering from within the creation in pure movement of The Child, The Maiden, The Lover, The Mother, The Priestess, The Warrior, The Angel of Hope, and the many Greek Deities (Apollo, Dionysus, Venus, Athena, Artemis, Mars, Cupid, Pan, Mercury).

DISCOVERING DUNCAN TECHNIQUE
Workshop/Master Class with Loretta Thomas

Through her style of teaching, developed after many years of study, students discover a healthier approach to technique as well as the relevance of Duncan in 21st century dance. Class begins with work on the breath, connecting with and warming the upper body from which much of the Duncan work extends. Movement across the floor includes signature movements from Duncan repertoire such as waltzing, skipping, Dionysian and walking. The focus is on the technique and the preparation of the body, allowing for the proper execution of the Duncan vocabulary without the need to remember longer movement sequences. Keeping simply to the basics of Duncan technique could lead other movement classes and oral discussions to be enhanced from having experienced this wonderful technique at the start of the day.

 

Lunch: 12:45-2pm
VIDEO SHOWING + LECTURE
by Andrea Seidel
Cultivating Beingness and Presence in Performance through the Art of Isadora in the 21st Century

With reference to other theories regarding presence and embodiment by Andre Lepecki, Lizzy Le Quesne, Sondra Fraleigh, and others, the paper describes the author’s theory and methodology for cultivating “beingness,” verisimilitude and radiance in performance through an analysis of the art of performing several Duncan dances from a contemporary 21st century perspective. Isadora’s art and philosophy, prescient in her theory of “the dance of the future” and organic principle of the wave, remains a vital tool for developing presence, heightened embodied consciousness, and somatic awareness. While inevitably, the body and mind are conditioned by one’s psychology, culture, political constructions of gender, identity, and the aesthetics of time and place, the paper discusses the author’s discovery of techniques for convincingly suspending the conditioned self. Through the magic of theater, one can then create a charismatic “virtual reality.”

COLLABORATIVE OPEN SPACE (see above)

Session VII 1:30-3

TEACHING DUNCAN TO YOUNG CHILDREN
Master Class By Lori Belilove

In my experience teaching Duncan dance to children, the main objectives come from Duncan writings about her experiences observing how children learn. We will explore how to embrace the whole child and reinforce the essential love, fun and joy in moving that they have before they enter the classroom! My motto is: “Don’t kill it” they have ”it” already. The teacher’s job is to nurture expression and give young dancers room and varied dimension, challenges and endless fun. We will look at the role of music in the classroom and the appropriate tempos for the given movements- from the skip, runs and leaps. Bring your challenges and we will spend part of the workshop addressing teachers’ needs and concerns. Handouts with source material included.

THE ART OF PERFORMING DUNCAN: DISCOVERING DUNCAN THROUGH EMOTIONAL AND GESTURAL LANGUAGE
Workshop by Patricia Adams

This movement workshop led by Patricia Adams will take excerpts from Duncan’s repertoire and deeply explore how specific performance choices shape the dances. Duncan’s dances are simple in structure but deceptively challenging in execution. The dancer must not only master the technique but inhabit the dances in very real and nuanced ways. Every dancer who performs her work must make physical and emotional choices that resonate for that performer. The subtle differences of intention with gesture, focus, musicality, and quality of movement work together to give depth to the performer and life and relevance to the performance.

DISCOVERING DUNCAN’S RELATIONSHIP TO THE BALLET
Workshop by Maria Boscaino (30 min session)
A workshop/master class that will explore how the ballet influenced Isadora. Did Isadora despise the ballet or did she use it to give shape to her choreography? Her goal was to find the movement that has been lost for centuries. How did she discover this revolutionary way of moving?

DANCE, RELEASE, COMMUNICATION, HARMONY, BEAUTY, EMOTION AND EDUCATION
Workshop by Yves Gnonogou (30 min session)
This African director from Cote d’Ivoire shares his work and the relationship to Isadora and the rhythm of life.

NATURE IS THE SOURCE OF INSPIRATION FOR DANCE
Workshop by Fabienne Courmant (30 min session)
As Isadora Duncan said, ‘For me, all the movements of Nature seem to obey the law of the movement of waves. This idea of the movement of the wave as the great primordial principle imposes itself continually to me, and I see waves covering all things. If one looks at trees submitted to the caprices of the wind, do they not seem, they too, to conform to the lines of waves?’ We can thus affirm that all energy expresses itself through this undulation.Dance of Being is based on the energetic life principle, which exists everywhere, that manifests in the movement of undulation. When the energy is freely moving within us, there is harmony. We will accept that therapy keeps its etymological meaning as it was in ancient Greek philosophy “which is bringing to harmony”. To surrender to this energy movement leads to a deep inner transformation.

 

Session VIII 3:15-4:45

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: DUNCAN DANCE INTO THE FUTURE

This session will investigate how participants envision the best future for Duncan Dance. We will invite all voices into the room and look for common ground, with the goal of exploring how to create a strong and positive presence in the world for Duncan dance and Duncan related work.

Working in small groups as well as full group discussions, we will collaborate to develop key points and questions. We will explore ideas about how we we might begin to work together as a community to be proactive in creating the desired future. We will subsequently continue to work on this mission through direct communication with the Symposium’s Standards and Guidelines Committee.

DISCOVERING DUNCAN DANCE AND THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Workshop by Rina Rinkewich

In this practical workshop, we will experience the dance of Isadora Duncan, how it connects us to our self-expression and inspires our creative process. In the first part of the workshop, we will dance to music. We will be lead through some of Isadora Duncan’s movement exercises and dance vocabulary, as well as guided improvisation. Our movement will be fed by imagery and narrative derived from nature, the elements and the spring season. The opening up of our bodies, hearts, minds and spirits will be the gateway for our self-expression. It will ignite our creative process when, in the second part of the workshop, we proceed to create. The themes, that inspired our dancing earlier, will be an optional point of departure for our creative work. Participants can use whichever medium(s) they feel moved to employ: the writing of poetry or prose, drawing, painting with watercolors and the creation of movement studies. They can choose to work alone or collaboratively. We will then come back together and be encouraged to share our creative harvests with one another. We will close the workshop with the same ritual circle of slow Duncan movements that we opened with.

 

Session IX 6-7:30

DISCOVERING CHOREOGRAPHY THROUGH IMPROVISATION FORMAT: WORKSHOP FOLLOWED BY CHOREOGRAPHIC SHOWING
Workshop by Catherine Gallant and Loretta Thomas, Showing by Dances by Isadora dancers

This session includes a 40-minute participatory workshop led by Catherine Gallant and Loretta Thomas followed by a 50-minute presentation of recent reconstructions and new stagings from the repertoire of Isadora Duncan. The program also features new and recent choreography by Catherine Gallant. Using thematic and kinesthetic content of an original work of Duncan, the first half of our presentation will culminate in a group dance making experience with a focus on using improvisation. Time will be allocated for sharing, analysis and discussion. The second half of the session is a presentation of recent reconstructions and new stagings of selected Duncan repertoire along with contemporary works by choreographer, Catherine Gallant.

BEING ON AN EDGE: RECONSIDERING ISADORA DUNCAN’S ART THROUGH THE PRISM OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF DIALOGISM Paper Presentation by Elena Yushkova (30 min session)
The famous Russian philosopher V. Bibler stated that “culture exists only there where there are a minimum of two cultures… self-consciousness of culture is a form of its being on an edge of another culture” [Bibler, 1991, 85]. Even a cursory acquaintance with the art of Isadora Duncan shows that existence on an edge was the true reality for her: she worked in the space between American, European and Russian cultures, between the past, present and future. We can assume that being in the space ‘between’ countries and regions, languages and traditions, styles and art forms increased the inner dialogism of the dancer’s consciousness and added new meanings to her intense creative search. The philosophy of dialogism, invented in the 1920s and reopened in the 1990s, provides us with the real key to comprehension of the American dancer’s multifaceted art that was not deeply understood by her contemporaries.

THE GENIUS OF ISADORA DUNCAN: REDISCOVERING THE DANCE THROUGH THE PRINCIPLES OF DELSARTE
Workshop with Christy Cornell-Pape (30 min session)

This presentation/workshop is intended to help us better understand how we use the physical to delve into the emotional, both from the perspective of the mover, or dancer, and the observer. commentary on the emotional weight of Duncan dance the more “scientific” principles behind Duncan’s genius, a discussion of Delsarte; his studies, the development of his principles, and how they still apply today in dance, theatre, oratory, and life. I will discuss the basic principles of Delsarte including a discussion and demonstration of various movements and positions and what those positions/movements/qualities convey to the observer. We will then discuss and demonstrate those principles through Duncan dance movements and choreographies and, even how they differ in other dance or movement forms (such as Hawaiian, flamenco, burlesque, modern).

Saturday, June 13th

Session X 9-10:30

ARTISTRY THROUGH IMPROVISATION
Workshop by Julia Pond

An experiential workshop that applies various improvisation techniques to Duncan repertory as a vehicle for a deeper understanding and more nuanced performance of the original work, or as a starting point for a choreographic response to original Duncan material.

DISCOVERING DUNCAN: ENCOUNTERING NOYES
Workshop by Meg Brooker

Isadora Duncan discovered and explored movement principles that form the foundation of an organic, supple, and integrated dance technique. Duncan identified the solar plexus as the initiatory center of expressive movement and her dance work is characterized by patterns of successive movement that emanate from this high center. Duncan contemporary Florence Fleming Noyes (1871-1928) also worked with the same coordinating center, but she termed it “the spot.” Drawing on imagery from nature, Greek mythology, and a kinesthetic response to music, Noyes Rhythm is an early twentieth century somatic practice built on developmental movement principles. The work has been preserved by an intergenerational group of practitioners, who live and dance in community during the summers at Shepherd’s Nine, a hundred-acre property purchased by Noyes in 1919. Noyes Rhythm bears many similarities to Duncan dance, as well as pronounced differences. Both share a root in the Delsarte work, popular at the time, as well as a celebration of Ancient Greek ideals of harmony of proportion, athleticism, and a mind-body synergy. This workshop will focus on technique principles that underlie Noyes Rhythm movement, as well as the Noyes method for instructing movement through the use of specific imagery.

ELEMENTAL BEGINNINGS: WATER DANCES AND CHOPIN’S PRELUDES: A CHILDREN’S CURRICULUM
Workshop by Dicki Johnson-Macy 

Finding the wave that flows within us, and discovering the waves that are around us, bring us to a sense of the oneness that we are component to. Contemporary education mandates that children learn to separate and to compete, to move away from what is their birthright: to be in relationship with other humans and to the creatures and forces of nature. Children intuitively dance the elements: the wind, the waves, the fire, the earth. Children , before reason has set in, (says Plato), are naturally empathic, having that sense of oneness that assures understanding of the other. Isadora Duncan, harbinger of an educational aesthetic that assured the child continue to live in this oneness, was of the Dionysian perspective: The dancer lived the story, immersing one self in the elements rather than telling about it. Here Dicki presents one of her many curricula for young children; She has woven a movement tapestry which focuses upon the many manifestations of water: Rain , Mountain stream, Waterfall, Lake,  River, Sea, Mist, Clouds, Storm Front, Thunderhead, Storm, and Rainbow, coupling each with one of Chopin’s Opus 28 Prelude. Each dance song engages children to explore, not only the elemental but Chopin’s music, which lends itself so beautifully to the experience of “the wave”.  Various Duncan motifs and etudes are component to each of the dance songs.

Session XI 10:45-11:15

SOMATIC PRACTICES AND THE ART OF ISADORA DUNCAN
Workshop by Lori Belilove

Does the Duncan technique, as handed down through the Duncan schools, prepare the dancer for performing the repertory? Further, can training and studying somatic practices enhance a Duncan dancer’s preparation to teach or perform? History tells us Isadora’s technique was primarily created when Duncan started her first school in Germany in 1904. Duncan documents the exploration and development of her ideas and methods from an early age. At the Grunwald school Swedish gymnastics were part of the dancers daily regime. By the time she went to Russia in 1921, where she observed Russian ballet dancers training, she was adding tendus and barre exercises that enhanced the elevation of the Russian Duncan dancers. In my workshop, drawing from a somatic perspective, I will examine the basic Duncan barre and center including plies, leg swings, leg lifts, arm movement vocabulary, wheels, sways, and weight shifts, and discuss the merits of each to prepare a dancer for the traveling vocabulary, expression within the Duncan aesthetic and the dances themselves. We will explore, what works? Which practices support the Duncan line and movement qualities? Which practices help to give authenticity to Duncan movement?

FREEING THE AUTHENTIC SELF: ISADORA DUNCAN AS LIBERATOR
Roundtable Moderated by Janaea Rose Lyn (McAlee)

“She shall dance the freedom of woman.”
– Isadora Duncan, essay: The Dancer of the Future from The Art of the Dance

Isadora Duncan was a living, dancing embodiment of freedom and self-expression. Her unwavering commitment to her own authenticity is how many of us discovered her and often provided the courage and incentive to do the same. This aspect of Isadora’s legacy is also what often draws students, audience members and others to want to know more about her work. This session will provide an opportunity to share the many ways that discovering Isadora freed us personally. We will discuss our experiences in smaller groups and then together we identify themes and/or issues that may emerge to enrich our work as Duncan practitioners and our lives as human beings.

ISADORA’S “MORNINGSTAR”
Workshop by Laura Pravitz

“Morningstar” is venus in her morning appearance as “the light bringer” ; “the brilliant and shining one”. Like the moon, she has phases of shadow and light, and so embodies aspects of planet, star and moon at once. Isadora’s dance, Morningstar, is a beautiful ode to the planet, set to a choral swell from Gluck’s opera “Orpheus”. This workshop will approach the dance through an understanding of the planet-star from which we will absorb her aspects as star and planet, as well as concepts of shadow and light; musical infusion; and planetary forces as they work on our bodies. Principles from Laban Movement Analysis and body-mind centering will assist us in entering into the full sweep of this joyous dance.

 

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