Isadora Duncan, a performance by French choreographer Jérôme Bel, made for and in collaboration with Elisabeth Schwartz, focuses on Isadora Duncan, thus continuing the series of dancer portraits he initiated back in 2004. In contrast to the previous pieces in this series (Véronique Doisneau, Cédric Andrieux, Pichet Klunchun and myself), here he paints the portrait of a dancer who is no longer alive, based on her autobiography.
Beneath a romantic figure, he discovers a visionary choreographer, investigating her legacy and the myths that accompany her. Duncan, widely regarded as the “mother” of modern and contemporary dance, had close ties with Greece, first visiting the country in 1903, with 2023 thus marking a 120-year anniversary of her visit. For ecological reasons, R.B. Jérôme Bel company doesn't travel by plane anymore
Workshops with Elisabeth Schwartz and discussion
at the Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center
The American dancer and choreographer’s legacy has gone down various different paths, depending on how it was taught by her students, the Isadorables, scattered all around the world, and how it was subsequently taught by their own students. To what extent does a practical familiarization with her work remain contemporary today? To what extent is a work but also a discussion about the iconic American dancer still relevant today? Jérôme Bel’s performance Isadora Duncan, presented at Peiraios 260, alongside two one-day workshops led by Elisabeth Schwartz and a discussion at the Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center in Byron, respond to the above questions.
11 July 2023, 11.00-17.00. The workshop is strictly addressed to dance professionals and graduates of professional dance schools.
12 July 2023, 11.00-14.00. The workshop is aimed at both amateur and professional dance students.
Elisabeth Schwartz uses as her starting point the idea that every dance style concerns at once technique, sensation, emotion and meaning, cultivating a special performative presence. She transmits Duncan's style while being concerned with weaving close links between the analysis of movement, the history of dance, and choreographic creation. At the same time, she draws on Irmgard Bartenieff’s basic principles (Body awareness, economy of force, balance, fundamental coordination,) and the Laban movement analysis. Improvisations form the elements of style τηατ will be part of the workshop.
Application to participate in the seminar:
- Admission is free with an entrance voucher.
- The number of free admission vouchers available per day is limited, and will therefore be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
- The tickets can be purchased online from the Athens Epidaurus Festival website at viva.gr and will be available from Monday 3 July.
12 July 15.00-17.00 | Discussion
Featuring: Jérôme Bel, Elisabeth Schwartz, Menti Mega
In the 21st-century, major choreographers such as Jérôme Bel, Boris Charmatz or Francois Chaignaud have chosen to focus on Isadora Duncan and collaborated with Elisabeth Schwartz to that end.
Menti Mega also turned her attention to Duncan a few years ago in her piece Trapped, in which she collected and reconstructed original archive footage from the American dancer’s visits in Greece.
What does this choice reveal?
The approaches and directions of these four artists diverge and, accordingly, the works they create are quite different from each other. This observation seems to lead to a question. What artistic possibilities open up the exploration of this (or any) historical figure in the field of contemporary dance?
The above questions are the main axes of the discussion held at the Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center. The latter has been consistently supporting and encouraging contemporary artists, ensuring that Isadora Duncan’s experimentations and artistic proposals, are still bearing fruit.