Kay Bardsley (1921-2011)

Born in Port Said, Egypt, Kay Bardsley received her BA in Journalism cum laude at Hunter College, NYC in 1942. Her Duncan studies with Maria-Theresa Duncan began at Carnegie Hall, from 1931-1935. Her dance debut with Maria-Theresa's Helcionades was in 1934. She was a Duncan teacher at the “Maria-Theresa School" NYC, 1937-1946; a teacher of Creative Dance for Children, NYC, 1960-1966; a member, Isadora Duncan-Maria-Theresa Heritage Group, NYC, 1977-1981.

Kay Bardsley was a producer of video documentation of Duncan Repertory, 1976-80. She was active as a writer and lecturer in field. Among her documentaries was "The Last Isadorable", 1988, re-issued in 1997. She contributed to professional dance journals and publications including Dance Scope, and Ballet Review. She authored numerous contributions, presentations, and the earliest documentation of Isadora Duncan's First School. She was a resident dancer scholar at University of Oregon, Eugene, 1997-98; staged Duncan solos for Colorado Ballet’s Dancelab, 1999; and staged Duncan's masterwork to seventh Symphony of Beethoven, University of Colorado in 2000.

Kay Bardsley's community roles and honors included Trustee, Council for the Arts in Westchester, NY, 1973-76; Board of Directors, Bicentennial Committee,Chappaqua, NY, 1973-76; co-chair, Community Day, 1973, 1975. Grantee NEA, NYC, 1980; Master Teacher Dance Triangle Inst., 1987; recipient 1997-98 Creativity award in Dance University of Oregon. Isadora Duncan International Institute Director and founder 1977. Critics Association (Board of Directors, 1997-2000), World Dance 7/Alliance; American Dance Guild, Society of Dance History Scholars.

Her non-dance career included being fashion editor Woman's Day, NYC, 1943-46; producer, arts
and fashion segments WPIX Gloria Swanson Hour, 1948-49; writer TV Guide, 1949; writer/producer of culture
news and fashion for ABC Network/Don Ameche-Langford Show. 1949-50. Syndicated film series producer. Your Beauty Clinic, 1950-60.

Provided by Wendy Bardsley, Kay Bardsley's daughter.


Bardsley, Kay. "A Dancing 'Isadorable': Maria-Theresa." Dance Scope 11, no. 2 (Spring/Summer 1977): 47-52.

Bardsley, Kay. "Isadora Duncan and the Russian Ballet." In Society of Dance History Scholars Proceedings, pp. 121-130. Eleventh Annual Conference, North Carolina School of the Arts, 12-14 February 1988.

Bardsley, Kay. "Re-animations of Duncan Masterworks: Imbued with the Fire of Maria-Theresa Duncan—A Four-year Project, 1976-1980." In Proceedings of the Conference "Dance Reconstructed: Modern Dance Art Past, Present, Future," pp. 191-200. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, October 16-17, 1992.

Bardsley, Kay. "Social Cause as Dance, Enter Isadora." Ballet Review 22, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 73-83.

Bardsley, Kay. "The Duncans at Carnegie Hall." Ballet Review 19, no. 3 (Fall 1991): 85-96.

Bardsley, Kay. “Isadora Duncan’s First School: the First Generation Founders of the Tradition.” Dance Research Collage, edited by Patricia A. Rowe and Ernestine Stodelle, 219-250. New York: CORD.

The Last Dancing Isadorable. Kay Bardsley. 1988. 30 minutes (Maria-Theresa Duncan).


Isadora Duncan International Institute — Founder and Executive Director (since 1977)

Helcionades — Performer (since 1934)

Related items in the Archives

The San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design > Programs > Maria-Theresa Duncan — Heritage Group — Feb 24, 1979

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Three Full Length Masterworks — Maria-Theresa Duncan — Heritage Dance Company — 1979

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Programs > Anita Zahn Memorial Celebration — Nov 05, 1995