Isadora Duncan was a pioneer of modern dance, an outsider who spurned the conventions and gendered roles of classical ballet and insisted on a woman’s right to express herself physically on her own terms. She was not trying to be brave or radical, though she was both, but simply demanded to be allowed to be herself. Over time, her story was reshaped to cast her as the fallen woman who died as sensationally as she lived, strangled by her own scarf on the French Riviera. Our starting point was to rediscover Isadora the artist, whose quicksilver variety of expression and ability to summon pure feeling from music entranced her contemporaries and still influences the way we think about dance today. We begin with Isadora’s own Dance of the Furies (Music Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck), which shocked at the time and retains a primal power after more than a century. Her profound influence on classical ballet is represented by Frederick Ashton’s Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan (Music Waltzes, Opus 39 (1865): Nos 1, 2, 8, 10, 13, 15 by Johannes Brahms. Piano Anna Geniushene), created fifty-five years after he fell under her spell as a teenager. Finally, we present the world premiere of a new work by Joy Alpuerto Ritter Unda (Original music and performed by Lih Qun Wong) which draws inspiration from Isadora while remaining, as Isadora would have wanted, entirely her own.
We hope you enjoy the show.