Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Mieography

Dora Angela Duncan (Isadora) was born in May of 1878 in San Francisco, California. She was the youngest of four children born to Joseph and Dora Duncan. Her father was a poet, and her mother was a pianist, and music teacher. Her father was 30 years senior to her mother. He supported their family by running a lottery, publishing three newspapers, owning an art gallery, directing an auction business, and, owning a bank. (whew!). The bank fell into financial ruin, and he abandoned his family, moving to Los Angeles, where he married, again. Not surprisingly, Isadora ended up not believing in marriage. She and her mother and siblings moved to Oakland. Isadora went to school, briefly, but, related to her "individuality", she soon dropped out. She and her sister gave dance classes to local children to earn money. She eventually joined a theater company in New York, but quickly became disillusioned with it, and moved to Europe. She started in London, then moved on to Paris, and was successful within two years.

     In Paris, she rented two large apartments, and used the first floor as her dance school. She dressed herself in clinging scarves, and faux Grecian tunics, and danced barefooted. Her primitive dancing style was much different than the rigid styles of her time. She rejected traditional ballet, leaning more towards improvisation, emotion, and the human form. She thought classical ballet was "against nature". She became very famous, and inspired many other crafters of her time to create poetry, novels, even jewelry.
     In 1922 she found it in her to move to Moscow. She did not last long there, because the "new" Russian government did not fulfill its promises to her to support her work. The country was too spartan for her, and she headed back West within two years. 
    She did not like the commercial aspects of public performances, such as touring,  and   negotiating contracts.  She concentrated more on education, and founded three schools dedicated to teaching her methods, all in Europe. The most famous one was in Germany, and the students were titled as "Isadorables". Her sister, Elisabeth, ended up taking over that school.
     In her personal life, she flouted the traditional ideas of morality. She did actually marry once, a Russian poet whom was eighteen years her junior. He, unfortunately, was frequently in a drunken rage, which gained her much negative publicity. He left her within a year of their marriage, went to Moscow, had a mental breakdown, was committed, and, eventually, committed suicide.
     She bore two children out of Wedlock, Deirdre and Patrick, to two different fathers. Sadly, they both were drowned in an accident with their nanny on the Seine River. They had been riding in a car that went over an embankment. She spent much time in Italy recovering from this.
     In 1923, she did a tour of the United States, where she raved a red scarf, and bared her breast on the stage, proclaiming "This is red, and so am I!" She also came out as a bisexual.
    Her career dwindled, and she became notorious for her financial woes, scandalous love life, and her public drunkenness.  She also published a few autobiographies.
     Her fondness for long, flowing scarves led to her demise. She was 50 years old, wearing a hand painted silk scarf given to her as a gift from a Russian born artist, Roman Chatov. She was a passenger in a Bugatti, and her last words as she was getting into the car were "Adieu, mes amis. Je vais a l'amour" (Goodbye, my friends, I am off to love!") When the driver drove off, the scarf, which was large enough to to be wrapped around her body, and neck, and still hang out of the car, got wrapped into one of the open spoked wheels, and rear axle. At the least, it broke her neck.
     Her ashes were buried next to those of her children in the Pere Lachaise Cemetary in France. 


Anonymous said...

My goodness...

I never knew scrafs could be so dangerous.

sybil law said...

She sounds like a nut - but incredibly interesting.

Daryl said...

She was clearly a nut case but such an interesting inspiring one ...

Bubblewench said...

I totally adore her! NIce!!