Chopin — Mazurka in B flat major, Op. 7, No. 1

Reconstructed by Hortense Kooluris.

Notes

Christy Cornell-Pape

As with many of the Duncan dances, the initial apparent simplicity of the movements gives the audience the feel that the dance can be performed by almost anyone. However, the use of the mazurka, running steps, and other relatively uncomplicated movements, focuses the dancer’s attention on fully incorporating the Duncan technique and making the dance appear, to the audience, almost effortless. In reality, the importance of the musical phrasing, the lightness of the mazurka and swing steps, and the focused connection with the partner during the dance make this number more complex than easily observed. In fact, connection with the dance partner should be seen as a key feature of this number. The mazurka steps are punctuated by different series of opening, closing, and turning movements which are more than just figural tropes, but also incorporate and express changes in connection with the dance partner. The running steps are also key as they convey a playful chase – again, showing that ever-important heart (solar plexus) connection between the partner dancers. Even the series of ½ turns facing in and out between the partners is a much different and compelling dance than the same movements completed alone or when completed with a partner without any tangible connection.

Taught by Ann Cogley and Mary Sano, both students of Mignon Garland.

Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck

Reference: Nahumck, Nadia Chilkovsky. Isadora Duncan: The Dances. Washington DC: The National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1994.

This dance may serve as an introduction to more complex Chopin dance and music. It is little more than a combination of mazurka and running steps, requiring no technical expertise.

Nicolai Georgievitch Shebuyev

Reference: Shebuyev, Nicolai Georgievitch. Review of Isadora dancing in Russia. Petersburg Gazette. 1904.

She emerged and swam like an Undine, swaying in time with the beat, waving her hands with the beat, smiling, diving with the beat -- and suddenly she flew up like a bird and soared carefree, joyful, chirping soundlessly -- no: tunefully, rather -- for her dancing merged into a single chord with Chopin's Mazurka. And then she floated down again from the sky -- touched the cold surface of the river -- shuddered -- and swam again, green and graceful, proud of her cold, nymphlike beauty. And dived again -- and once again froze, her arms stretched forward at the finale.

Related items in the Archives

The San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design > Programs > Second American Tour — Irma Duncan — Isadora Duncan Dancers

The Collection of Christy Cornell-Pape > Programs > Irma Duncan — Isadora Duncan Dancers — Nov 03, 1929

The Collection of Christy Cornell-Pape > Programs > Isadora Duncan Dancers — Nov 18, 1929

The Collection of Christy Cornell-Pape > Programs > Isadora Duncan Dancers — Irma Duncan — — Dec 05, 1929

The Collection of Christy Cornell-Pape > Programs > Irma Duncan — Isadora Duncan Dancers — Mar 13, 1932

The Collection of Mignon Garland > Programs > S.F. Duncan Dancers — Feb 1974

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Second American Tour — Irma Duncan — Moscow Duncan Dancers

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Isadora Duncan Dancers — Nov 13, 1929

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Retrospective Isadora Duncan — 1993

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