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Répertoire en mouvement (Le)

The repertoire in motion
"Étude révolutionnaire" by Isadora Duncan / creation 1921

Choreography Isadora Duncan
Reconstruction Labkine Company

This lecture demonstration aims to offer the public an opportunity to access reading in motion and to give them the keys to a better understanding of choreographic writing.
With the “Étude révolutionnaire” score by Isadora Duncan (1921) as the starting point and the questions that it contains, the Labkine Company explores the process for reconstructing and reinterpreting the works of the repertoire.

What is the inherent part of the composition of a piece of work ? How much interpretation leeway does a dancer have ?
A meeting point between the body in motion and choreographic writing, reassembling a piece of work is an invitation to enjoy exceptional contemporary “re-creation”.

Further information

Labkine Company website

Updating: September 2011

Duncan, Isadora

Born Isadora Angela Duncan in San Francisco on May 26, 1877, Isadora discovered the joy of dance in nature, amidst the wind, sea and waves at the beach as a young child. Her home provided artistic and intellectual riches – even though her father left the family in financial straits soon after Isadora was born. Isadora’s mother, Mary Dora Gray, was a skilled pianist and teacher, who played Beethoven and Schubert for the children and read Shakespeare, Shelley and Browning to them. Isadora’s brother Raymond was a dramatist, Augustine an actor, and Elizabeth and Isadora danced and taught dance classes from early ages as the family scrambled financially. 


Isadora left San Francisco for Chicago with her mother in 1895 where she danced at the Masonic Temple Roof Garden and auditioned for Augustin Daly’s theatre company. She joined Daly’s company, moving to New York with most of her family. She toured America and went to London with the Daly company. Displeased with what she considered a trivial role of dance in the theatre productions, she quit the company in 1898. Isadora danced in private salons, and first danced at the Music Room in Carnegie Hall, in collaboration with composer Ethelbert Nevin, in a program including Nevin’s Narcissus, Ophelia and Water Nymphs on March 24, 1898. She described her dance as “movement expressive of thought” in her early lectures. 


In May 1899 Isadora and family traveled to London, in search of ways to deepen and broaden her art. Isadora studied the Greek and Roman antiquities at the British Museum. After meeting artist Charles Hallé, she performed for prominent Londoners at his New Gallery, dancing the legend of Orpheus, to music of Gluck. In “The Art of the Dance” Isadora described herself as neither the narrator nor the character of the myths she danced, but the “soul of the music”, a “role reserved by the Greeks for the Chorus.” 


The following year Isadora followed her brother Raymond to Paris, where he sketched and she studied the Louvre’s Greece vase collection. After a tour with Loie Fuller’s company, Isadora was invited to perform her own programme in Budapest, Hungary (1902), where she danced to sold-out performances with full orchestra. Her famous encore was The Blue Danube. Performances followed in Berlin, Vienna and Munich. Many artists were to draw and photograph her including Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, Peter Berger, Robert Henri, August Rodin, Jose Clara, Jules Grandjouan, Valentine Lecomte and Abraham Walkowitz. Her European success allowed for a trip to Greece (1903), time to appreciate the art and ruins, to purchase land, and to perform in front of the Greek royal family, including King George.


In January 1905, Isadora accomplished a long-time goal, as she opened her first school for twenty children in Grunewald, Germany. In true visionary style, the children were given free room, board and instruction in dance, music and literature. They wore tunics and sandals and were surrounded by great artworks indoors and nature outdoors. Among these first students were the six who were adopted in order to enter the United States during World War 1 and would later be dubbed “the Isadorables” by the French press: Anna, Erika, Irma, Lisa, Margot and Marie-Theresa. She was able to establish a second school which she named Dionysian at a mansion in Bellevue, outside of Paris, in 1914, with financial help from Paris Singer. Bellevue was later given to the Red Cross as an army hospital at the start of World War I. Isadora and her students then met in America, where “the Isadorables” debuted at Carnegie Hall, in December 1914. Isadora regularly left her schools to tour and perform in order to sustain the school and to support members of her family, a recurrent theme throughout her life. While away, her sister Elizabeth often acted as school director and teacher. 


Isadora’s legacy as the “Mother of Modern Dance” is seen in the progression of her repertory, from the lyrical dances to classical composers like Chopin, Brahms, Strauss and Schubert (a radical use of classic music at the time), to the dances of Greek myths, archetypes, human emotions and later in her heroic dances of nationalism (La Marseillaise, Rakoczy March). Isadora and Irma traveled to Russia in 1921, at the invitation of the Russian government, where they formed a third school for children. Isadora danced the Revolutionary, and dedicated songs and dances to the Russian workers and for the Russian children. What had started as lyrical, free spirited, barefoot dance, a rejection of the stilted ballet world of her time, deepened with her life experiences, travel, and with the influence of a wide range of artists, poets, composers and intelligentsia in her circle. Although Isadora was drawn to Greek myths and philosophy, she recreated, rather than copied, ancient themes. She defined the solar plexus as the “central spring of all movement” (Duncan, “My Life”). As a performer, she continued to move audiences deeply throughout her career, as evidenced by reviews and personal accounts.


A revolutionary thinker in women’s issues, espousing freedom for body and spirit, Isadora vowed never to marry. From her first long-term relationship with famous British set designer, Edward Gordon Craig, her daughter Deidre was born (September 24, 1906). With Paris Singer, she bore her son Patrick Augustus Duncan (born May 1, 1910). Both children died in a tragic accident on April 19, 1913. Isadora’s devastation is later reflected in her choreography Mother


Although Isadora’s success blossomed in Europe and led to travel to Egypt, South America and Russia, she returned to tour America several times. Many of her Isadora’s programs are shared in Private Collections. Isadora was generally well received in America, until her visit in 1922 with Soviet poet and husband Sergei Esenin, (married to allow him a travel visa), when anti-Soviet feelings ran high in the United States. 


In 1927, Isadora agreed to publish her memoirs “My Life” and finished writing and dictating them to her secretary. Her last performance was at the Mogador Theatre in Paris on July 8. Isadora was accidentally killed in an automobile, near her studio in Nice, on September 14, 1927, at age 50. Her enduring legacy continues to inspire new generations of dancers.


Source : Isadora Duncan’s Archives website


More information : 

http://www.isadoraduncanarchive.org/ 

Simonet, Noëlle

Having trained in ballet and contemporary dance at the Rambert School of Dance, Noëlle Simonet worked in several companies: the Ballet Théâtre Contemporain d’Angers, the Ballet Théâtre Français de Nancy and the Ballet Théâtre du Silence.  She performed the works of several renowned choreographers, such as F. Blaska, G. Balanchine, L. Falco, M. Cunningham, V. Farber and D. Gordon.

Whilst carrying on her work with choreographers M. Caserta, J-M Matos et Philippe Tresserra, she continued to study the “Pilatess” technique, and in 1986 Simonet won the performance prize at the first Concours Chorégraphique de la Ville de Paris (Choreography Competition of the City of Paris).

In 1997, having trained in the analysis and scripting of movement at the Paris Conservatoire under Jacqueline Challet-Haas, she created the Labkine Company.  Her goal here was to convey the richness of the dance repertoire by reconstructing works from their music scores and sharing them with an audience.

-At the start of the century she worked with Elisabeth Schwartz, a dance specialist, and performed some of Isadora Duncan’s works.

-In 2007 and 2008 she reimagined the works of the ‘New Dance Group’ collection and ‘Rooms’ by Anna Sokolow with Jean-Marc Piquemal, and in 2009 created the performance ‘Dancing Red’ and the lecture-performance "Le Répertoire en mouvement, étude révolutionnaire".  Parallel to her activities within the Labkine Company, from 1999 Noëlle Simonet taught Laban’s system of movement at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris.  

-Simonet worked together with the internationally renowned dancer Wilfride Piollet on the creation of her book “Les Barres Flexibles”, published by “L’une et l’autre”, which records the set of exercises in Laban “cinetography” which form the dancer’s innovative training technique.

-She notes Jean Guizerix’s choreography “Cahiers 1830”, crafted from exercises Léon Michel recorded for his son Arthur Saint-Léon.

She trained in Body Mind Centering® (Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen), lead by Vera Orlock and Thomas Griel, and qualified as a Somatic Movement Educator in 2013.

From 2006 to 2009 she was part of the ICKL (International Council of Kinétographie Laban) research committee.

In 2011 and 2013 she was given grants by the Centre National de la Danse de Pantin, as part of their scheme aiding research and dance heritage, for the following projects: The choreographic score -a tool for transmission, a tool for creation - #1 The rough sketch of the journey, and the second section: #2 shifts and turns.

In 2015, she created the performance “SIGNATURES”, a duet about walking and space inspired by the spatial signatures of the great choreographers D. Humphrey, L. Childs and M. Cunningham, in collaboration with the dancer, assessor and choreographer Raphaël Cottin.

She extends her collaborations to reflexion and research groups.  In 2015 she took part in the Labodanse group, comprising of dance-science and philosophy workshops and symposia.  Since 2014 she has worked on several occasions with the Gepetto human robotics research team LAAS-CNRS in Toulouse, lead by Jean-Paul Lammond.

In 2015, the Centre National de la Danse de Pantin, in collaboration with the Opéra de Paris, commissioned her to revive Kurt Jooss’ “L’après-midi d’un faune”, with two of the Opéra de Paris’ dancers.  This was presented as part of the CND “Scène de gestes” programme in November 2015.


Source : www.labkine.com/ 

Centre national de la danse, Réalisation

Since 2001, the National Center for Dance (CND) has been making recordings of its shows and educational programming and has created resources from these filmed performances (interviews, danced conferences, meetings with artists, demonstrations, major lessons, symposia specialized, thematic arrangements, etc.).

Labkine

Le répertoire en mouvement

Artistic direction / Conception : Noëlle SIMONET et Jean-Marc PIQUEMAL

Interpretation : Déborah TORRES, Georgey SOUCHETTE, Noëlle SIMONET, Jean-Marc PIQUEMAL

Additionnal music : Alexandre SCRIABINE Etude pathétique (Étude pour piano op. 8 n° 12) et Étude pour piano op. 2 n° 1

Lights : Didier BRUN

Costumes : Nathalie PRATS-BERLING

Other collaborations : "Etude révolutionnaire" est un solo d'Isadora Duncan (1921) qui fait partie de la trilogie " Impressions de Russie " remonté d'après une partition notée par Nadia Chilkovsky

Duration : 60 minutes

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