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Profile of the Day: Isadora Duncan

On this day in 1927, pioneering dancer Isadora Duncan died in a tragic accident. Known as the “mother of modern dance,” Duncan broke away from convention and developed free, emotional, and natural movements in dance.

Image: Isadora Duncan / Library of Congress

Duncan was born on May 26, 1877 in San Francisco, California to Joseph Charles Duncan, a banker and mining engineer, and Mary Isadora Gray, a music teacher. As a child, she enjoyed dance but rejected the rigidity of classical ballet. Instead, she preferred to base her dancing on more natural rhythms and movements.

In her early 20s, Duncan moved to Europe where she studied Greek mythology and visual iconography, which greatly influenced her style as an artist. After performing in drawing rooms for the wealthy, Duncan embarked on tours throughout Europe and became quite popular for her distinctive style. She broke away from convention, often dancing barefoot in free-flowing costumes, and her improvisational and emotional movements captivated audiences. She also founded dance schools in Germany, Russia, and the United States and her students were dubbed “Isadorables” by the media.

Duncan also experienced many tragedies and hardships in her life. In 1913, her two young children drowned when their car crashed into a river. Later in life, Duncan faced financial hardships and relied on friends to help cover her debts. Tragically, on September 14, 1927, Duncan died in a horrific accident while riding as a passenger in a brand-new convertible sports car. As she leaned back, her long flowing scarf became entangled in the wheels of the car, tightened around her neck, and pulled her out of the car. She was killed instantly.

View Isadora Duncan’s Geni Profile

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The post Profile of the Day: Isadora Duncan first appeared on The Geni Blog.


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