Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation Performs Three Valentine's Salon Performances This Month

Performances are February 14, 16 & 17 at 7 PM.

By: Feb. 06, 2024
 Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation Performs Three Valentine's Salon Performances This Month

The Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation resident dancers present three one-hour performances of Duncan’s early works in an intimate salon-style setting this Valentine's Day at 141 West 26th Street, 3rd Floor. For many dance enthusiasts, the salon is the ideal way to experience Duncan’s choreography: the legendary “Mother of Modern Dance” herself performed in Manhattan’s grand ballrooms over a century ago in her Grecian gowns, flowing scarves, and bare legs and feet.  

Programming will include performances by Lori Belilove and Company Dancers Emily D'Angelo, Samuel Humphreys, Nikki Poulos, Samantha Mercado, Hayley Rose, Diana Uribe, Caroline Yamada, and Company Apprentices. Pianist Jeremy Chan will accompany them in works set to music by Brahms, Chopin, and Schubert.

Duncan’s repertory sometimes conjures images of ecstatic Bacchanalia or Pagan ceremonies, though never vulgar or lustful. The artists and students of the Isadora Duncan school frolic in an atmosphere of courtship, camaraderie, and connectedness—demure, old-world charm. 

“This program is inspired by the waltz—a classic Viennese dance, but the way Isadora envisioned it,” Chan observes. “For the three composers, this was the period of full-blown Romantic music when they were moving away from classical forms. They contained their musical ideas in short bursts, or ‘piano miniatures.’ Most of this music was from their periods as young adults. It has a freshness, a tempestuousness that comes from being a young person with quixotic emotions.”

To accomplish this spirited elegance, the dancers must employ an exacting technique while remaining open to collaborative impulses. They should also demonstrate an ability to engage with and “experience rhythm in a different way,” according to pianist Chan. “You have to play with the tempo in a musical yet organic way. You can explain or talk through how to shape the phrase, but you really need to do it—to show it. Lori says you must breathe with the music, and I believe that.”

“1912 was the year Isadora Duncan fell in love with the director and scenic designer E. Gordon Craig,” explains Belilove. “They were two villains of creativity who bounced off each other’s energy and ideas. The dances we’ll be performing go up to 1918 and no further—that would be a different show altogether! We have the Schubert, which is very lyrical, childlike and whimsical. With Chopin, there’s more sensuality and a rich crescendo at the end—like the bourgeoning sexuality of an ingénue. And then there’s Brahms, all dark and shadowy with bursts of light that cut through pain. There’s a quality of searching. Duncan was always searching for an earth and a sky and what her place was in it. She was constantly establishing and reestablishing her being. We all have a Yin and Yang, and Duncan allows us to tap into that and pull ourselves one way or the other depending on the dance, the mood, and the moment.”

"The dancers perform in bare arms, throat, neck, back, legs, feet—the characteristic Duncan approach," says Belilove. "There's a sense of nakedness and vulnerability—always vulnerability! In a salon, there is also sweat. You'll see how that costume is made and where the straps are. You'll see no nail polish, jewelry, or distractions. Hair that flows. Freedom. You'll also have some nice wine and see what it's like to meet interesting people and explore ideas. That's what Isadora did when she was here in New York, dancing at her benefactors' soirées. Sexuality was popping back then, and she was one of the earliest advocates of free love."

DANCERS

  • Nicole Poulos
  • Emily D’Angelo
  • Hayley Rose
  • Caroline Yamada
  • Samantha Mercado
  • Samuel Humphreys
  • Diana Uribe
  • Lori Belilove
  • Sylvie Jacques (apprentice)
  • Kirsten Keane (apprentice)

Pianist: Jeremy Chan

Performance dates: February 14, 16 & 17 at 7 PM




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