Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble Performs at Prestigious Festival in Russia

Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble, the Miami-based company which is the fifth generation to perpetuate Isadora’s legacy of solo and group dances, will be traveling to St. Petersburg, Russia to teach and perform at the Goethe-Institut’s International Dance Festival.  Artistic Director Dr. Andrea Mantell Seidel is the only American artist invited to attend and she brings with her four dancers, one of which is her eleven-year-old daughter.  Three generations are represented by dancers Maribel Gonzalez, Michele Vazquez Kickasola, Ivette Sotomayor, Merina Seidel, and Dr. Mantell Seidel. 


This is a prestigious and momentous occasion shared with modern dance choreographers from across the world to celebrate the 300th birthday of the former imperial capital and the crucible of the Bolshevik Revolution.  The company (sponsored by CEC International Partners, a New York-based organization that supports international exchange between American artists and central and eastern Europe) performs on September 21, 2003 and teaches workshops to professional dancers for two days, September 22nd & 23rd.  To wrap-up their visit, Dr. Mantell Seidel will give a lecture about Duncan’s work throughout Russia during the first half of the 20th Century.  


Isadora Duncan’s journey to Russia began with her premiere at St. PetersbUrg’s Maryinsky Theater in 1905.  It was a historical event that forever changed the Russian Imperial ballet tradition.  Several prominent Russian artists, including the dramaturge Stanislavksy and choreographer Michel Fokine, were enthralled and inspired by Isadora’s expressive and enchanting movements.   Prior to Isadora’s travel to Russia, rigid, ballet movements pervaded dance choreography and technique.  Her idea was to make the body “more free, more natural” and to feel her feet on the earth.  Inspired by the classical Greek arts, folk dances, social dances, nature and natural forces, Duncan combined free and natural costumes and movements with aspects of the new American athleticism which included skipping, running, jumping, and leaping.                                                                          


During the Russian revolution, Duncan's philosophy of liberation found its ideal domain. The Revolution gave substance to her vision of a communal dance school where classes would be taught free of charge.  The school opened in Moscow and the fifty female students made their debut at the Bolshoi Theater.  The school won the esteem of officials and the public alike. Though few foreigners had received as much support and admiration as Duncan had, a change in policy and the poor conditions in the Soviet Union eventually eliminated state aid for the Duncan school.  Isadora left Russia in 1922 after ten months, never to return.


Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble’s journey to Russia begins with their performance of original choreography by Duncan, including a solo for young children (performed by eleven-year-old Merina Seidel),Chopin’s Nocturne in E, Revolutionary, to the music of Scriabin (inspired by the Russian Revolution) and Bacchannal to music from Gluck’s opera, Ephigenia, a work that depicts Dionysian ecstasy. The company will teach technique and repertory, where students will learn excerpts from several   Duncan works.