Illustration by Maria Manhattan
Isadora Duncan was born on May 26, 1877 in San Francisco, California to artistic parents; her father was a poet and her mother a music teacher. Isadora loved poetry, beauty, and rhythm and danced as soon as she could walk. She began teaching at the age of five, when she gathered neighborhood girls and invited them to sway their arms to express the movement of ocean waves.
Duncan, is considered the mother of modern dance. She rebelled against the rigid formal training of classical ballet and created an expressive dance style. Influenced by ancient Greek art, she often danced barefoot in a loose, flowing tunic and colored scarves. She lived abroad during most of her career and established schools of dance for children in France, Germany, and Russia. Isadora Duncan’s genius inspired artists and dancers of her time to create their own individual styles.