Dance like Isadora, 2017
digital video, 1 min
Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), an American pioneer of dance, rejected the notion of film and “insisted on mythologizing herself because she longed to be noticed and remembered. That is why she refused to be filmed because she wanted to become a legend: an absence rendered perpetually present.” (Daly 1995). This intrigued me and I decided to try to make this absence present through recreating her choreography, but in my own way, using all the possible existing documentation.
I collected drawings of Isadora which represent each period of her dance career and organised them chronologically, by putting them in a slideshow,- a sort of lifelong dance. Following this I attempted repeating the represented movements myself, projecting these drawings on the wall and try to copy her position.
Attempting to copy a dance from a painting was tricky and it made me wonder how or if a dance can be transcribed. Looking into the dance notation methods I came across the DanceForms 2 - choreography software and used it to visualize the same drawings in a virtual 3D environment letting the program to decide how to connect the static moves of the drawings into fluid motion.
In some way, my aim was to preserve the choreography in a different method than it used to be done in the past - the handing down from Isadora to her adopted daughters, from teacher to student through which the dances have been preserved by generations of Duncan Dancers. Perhaps its an attempt to get to the origin of the moves using a primary source - the drawings.