The modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan would have celebrated her 136th birthday this May. Below are some inspiring quotes from her writings to give you a feel for her technique and philosophy of dance, which was inspired by Nature and naturalness of movement, freedom and femininity, and the art of ancient Greece.
Isadora broke away from convention and the rigid technique of ballet. Knowing that dance was far more than just entertainment, she worked to trace the sacred origins of dance and restore it as a high art. She sought to embody the fullness of spirituality and physicality united in perfect harmony, to let the light of her soul shine through her art.
In the writings below, Isadora describes her experience and understanding of the spiritual dimensions of dance, the ideal dancer of the future who is perfectly united in mind, body, and spirit, and her quest to find the source of spirit through movement. But whether or not we are dancers, artists or athletes, we are all on this same quest for unity, wholeness, and fulfillment in life.
In the book Let Your Soul Sing Enlightenment is for Everyone, each chapter is filled with accounts of people of all ages and walks of life who are experiencing profound inner and outer transformation through the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM), a simple mental technique which allows us to contact the source of thought, our own unbounded field of consciousness.
TM increases mind body coordination, creates coherent brain functioning, and gives the system deep rest, improving every area of life. People report that through TM they feel more creativity, energy, happiness, and well-being. Their stress melts away, giving them a renewed sense of freedom, purity, and lightness.
Throughout time, great artists like Isadora inspire and uplift us through their pure expressions, showing us there is something more to life. What a gift that the effortless technique of TM is now available to everyone to unfold their full potential and enjoy more and more fullness of life.
Happy birthday Isadora! Enjoy these beautiful words from a true revolutionary.
Excerpts from The Art of Dance by Isadora Duncan:
There are likewise three kinds of dancers: first, those who consider dancing as a sort of gymnastic drill, made up of impersonal and graceful arabesques; second, those who, by concentrating their minds, lead the body into the rhythm of a desired emotion, expressing a remembered feeling or experience. And finally, there are those who convert the body into a luminous fluidity, surrendering it to the inspiration of the soul. This third sort of dancer understands that the body, by force of the soul, can in fact be converted to a luminous fluid. The flesh becomes light and transparent, as shown through the X-ray – but with the difference that the human soul is lighter than these rays. When, in its divine power, it completely possesses the body, it converts that into a luminous moving cloud and thus can manifest itself in the whole of its divinity. This is the explanation of the miracle of St. Francis walking on the sea. His body no longer weighed like ours, so light had it become through the soul.
The dancer of the future will be one whose body and soul have grown so harmoniously together that the natural language of that soul will have become the movement of the body. The dancer will not belong to a nation but to all humanity. She will dance not in the form of nymph, nor fairy, nor coquette, but in the form of woman in her greatest and purest expression. She will realize the mission of woman’s body and the holiness of all its parts. She will dance the changing life of nature, showing how each part is transformed into the other. From all parts of her body shall shine radiant intelligence, bringing to the world the message of the thoughts and aspirations of thousands of women. She shall dance the freedom of woman.
I spent long days and nights in the studio seeking that dance which might be the divine expression of the human spirit through the medium of the body’s movement. For hours I would stand quite still, my two hands folded between my breasts, covering the solar plexus…..I was seeking and finally discovered the central spring of all movement, the crater of motor power, the unity from which all diversities of movement are born, the mirror of vision for the creation of the dance. It was from this discovery that was born the theory on which I founded my school. The ballet school taught the pupils that this spring was found in the center of the back at the base of the spine. From this axis, says the ballet master, arms, legs and trunk must move freely, giving the result of an articulated puppet. This method produces an artificial mechanical movement not worthy of the soul. I on the contrary sought the source of spiritual expression, from which would flow into the channels of the body, filling it with vibrating light, the centrifugal force reflecting the spirit’s vision. After many months, when I had learned to concentrate all my force in this one center, I found that thereafter when I listened to music the rays and vibrations of the music streamed to this one fount of light within me, where they reflected themselves in Spiritual Vision, not the mirror of the brain but of the soul; and from this vision I could express them in Dance…..
Please comment below to share your own experiences of Dance!
Guest post by R. Busch