Schubert — Ellens Gesang III D. 839 "Ave Maria"

Isadora created two versions of this dance, one as a solo for herself, and later as a group dance for six dancers. Reconstructed versions by Hortense Kooluris and Riva Hoffman.

Notes

Nadia Chilkovsky Nahumck

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

Duncan created two versions of this dance—a solo for herself and a group dance arranged for six performers. In the group version, a small pool of white light rivets the attention of dancers and audience. In a slow processional entrance the dancers seem to waft toward the magnetic center of light with a "passion held in check through tenderness" (Blair, Portrait of the Artist as a Woman, p. 247). Small, gliding steps transport each dancer's elongated, upright torso in an eerie suggestion of non-physicality. Long, white, unpleated tunics gently trail behind the dancers, and wide, wing-like sleeves exaggerate the "spirit" image. The dance is a realized projection of Duncan's belief that, "The true dance is an expression of serenity; it is controlled by the profound rhythm of inner emotion. Emotion does not reach the moment of frenzy out of a spurt of action; it broods first, it sleeps like the life in the seed, and it unfolds with a gentle slowness" (Duncan, The Art of the Dance, p. 99).

Cynthia Splatt

Reference: Duncan, Dorée; Carol Pratl and Cynthia Splatt (eds.) Life Into Art. Isadora Duncan and Her World. Foreword by Agnes de Mille. Text by Cynthia Splatt. W. W. Norton & Company, 1993. ISBN 0-393-03507-7

One of her masterpieces was her choreography of Schubert's Ave Maria. As a solo, she danced the Virgin Mary: her acceptance of the Angel's Annunciation, the birth of the Christ Child, and her loving adoration of the infant. When the young women joined her, they danced a chorus of angels.

Videos

Title Date Dancers Full Dance? Notes
Hortense Kooluris Memorial 2007-10-01 Reiko Morita Yes
Hortense Kooluris Memorial Tribute 2007-08-01 No
Julia Levien performance 2005 Yes
Isadora Duncan's 110th Birthday Celebration 1987 Hortense Kooluris Yes Group part performed as a solo
Isadora Duncan Repertory Dance Company performs Ave Maria Yes
Isadora Duncan Centenary Dance Company performs Ave Maria Lori Belilove, Jeanne Bresciani, Gemze de Lappe, Sylvia Gold, Hortense Kooluris, Judith Ann Landon No

Related items in the Archives

The Collection of Mignon Garland > Programs > Isadora Duncan Dancers in Minneapolis — 1930

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Isadora Duncan Dancers at Carnegie Hall — Irma Duncan — Isadora Duncan Dancers — Dec 28, 1929

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Riverside Dance Festival — Isadora Duncan Centenary Dance Company — Jan 05, 1978

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Riverside Dance Festival — Isadora Duncan Commemorative Dance Company — Jan 24, 1979

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Isadora Duncan Commemorative Dance Company — Nov 16, 1979

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

The Collection of Janaea Rose Lyn (McAlee) > Programs > Irma Duncan — Isadora Duncan Dancers

The Collection of Janaea Rose Lyn (McAlee) > Programs > Isadora Duncan — Nov 21, 1916

The Collection of Janaea Rose Lyn (McAlee) > Programs > Roerich Society Leading Dance Personalities — Irma Duncan — Isadora Duncan Dancers — Dec 09, 1931

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Leaflets > Programme for Installation by Minna Haukka 'On Movement' — 2012

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