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Isadora Duncan : her life, work and contribution to Western theatre dance

Layson, June (1987) Isadora Duncan : her life, work and contribution to Western theatre dance. MEd thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Isadora Duncan (b.1877 d.1927) is acknowledged as one of the main founders of the modern dance theatre genre yet her choreography per se is both unresearched and generally dismissed. On the basis of a working hypothesis, that Duncan had a consistent set of values which underpinned her work and were manifest in her choreography, Duncan's life and work is examined and her particular innovations identified. A specifically devised methodology is employed which, in its successive stages, compensates for the lack of extant Duncan dances and allows the discussion of her work to be undertaken. Firstly, a comprehensive collection of written, visual and aural materials is collated. Secondly, a chronology and two choreochronicles are presented. These first two stages provide the documentary basis for the study, generate the descriptive source materials from which it is possible to gain access to Duncan's choreography and promote the discussion of the contexts of her life and the influences upon her work. Thirdly, a choreographic analysis is carried out on Duncan's oeuvre. Fourthly, the results of the analysis are studied in conjunction with Duncan's own writings. Duncan is found to have made several important innovations. Her reverence of the body and all "natural" phenomena, her confident relocation of the body "centre" along with her willing acceptance and exploitation of gravitational forces are seen to be fundamental factors in her work. Her allegiance to a classical Greek-derived set and costume, preference for the music of the Romantic classical composers as accompaniment, commitment to an eclectic range of subject matter (with particular emphasis on socially relevant themes) and her pursuit of a harmonious, lyrical style are identified and discussed as crucial elements in Duncan's overall vision of dance as expression. Finally, Duncan's contribution to the founding and development of modern dance as an alternative theatre dance genre to ballet is characterised and her overall contribution to the evolution of Western theatre dance stated.

Item Type: Thesis (MEd)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Education (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.405155
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2020 06:58
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2020 06:58
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/26100

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