Isadora Duncan Route
This is a walking experience in the area where Isadora Duncan lived in 1906. The house Villa Maria, where her child was born, was almost isolated in that time with a private footpath from the house down to the sea.
Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), a revolutionary danser, now considered as one of the pioneers of modern dance, captivated audiences in Paris, New York, Berlin, Vienna and Moscow at the beginning of the 20th century. A significant part of her life she also lived in Noordwijk. Her life, inspired by that of the ancient Greeks, can be compared to that of a Greek tragedy, echoing in the infinity of the universe.
Isadora Duncan grew up in the United States. From an early age on she taught dance and performed herself in San Francisco, Chicago and New York. She moved to London in 1899 and later on to Paris, the cultural center of the world at that time.
She meets Rodin and dances with Loïe Fuller, who invites Isadora to perform with her. The tours through Germany, Austria and Hungary are successful, and this gives Isadora the financial opportunity to start her own Temple of Dance, inspired by Greek sculptures (Elgin Marbles).
Isadora disliked the commercial aspects of public performances such as tours, since these activities distracted her from her real mission: ‘the creation of beauty and educating the youth’. To achieve this mission, she opened schools where she could share her love for dancing and philosophy.
The first school was established in 1904 In Grünewald, Germany. This institution was the birthplace of the ‘Isadorables’ – Anna, Maria-Theresa, Irma, Liesel, Gretel and Erika – Isadora’s protégées who would continue her legacy. After about a decade Isadora established a school in Paris that was closed shortly after because of the outbreak of World War I.
She fell in love with the British actor and theater producer Gordon Craig, with whom she got her daughter Deirdre (1906) in Noordwijk. From 1910 till 1913 she was in a relationship with Paris Singer, one of the sons of the sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer. In 1911 their son Patrick was born. Both children drowned in a car accident in the river Seine on 19th April 1913.
In 1914 she gave birth to a son she got with the young Italian sculptor Romano Romanelli. Their child died shortly after birth.
In 1922 the then 44-year-old Isadora marries the 26-year-old Russian poet Sergej Jesenin. He was a successful and beloved poet in Russia, but he was also an alcoholic. In 1923 he returns to the Soviet Union, where he commits suicide two years later.
In September 1927 Isadora dies when her Red silk scarf, draped around her neck, gets entangled around the open-spoked wheel of the convertible Bugatti she was driven around in. Her ashes were placed in the columbarium of the Paris cemetery Père-Lachaise in Paris.
“With what price we pay for the glory of motherhood” – Isadora Duncan 1906
Pregnant unmarried Isadora fled to Noordwijk without Gordon Craig (father of the child), there she rented a house in which to “hideout” until after the birth of the baby. Noordwijk is renowned for its chic Spa Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, which was popular with International guests. Isadora finds exactly what she is looking for, an isolated pretty white Villa situated in the dunes and within walking distance of the sea, which she rents from the family De Bes for the generous amount of 900 guilders.
Isadora settles near the small village to await the birth of her child, in the knowledge that she is adored by a large number of fans in cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin and Moscow. She is in her element when she can present her unconventional and new ideas, driven by her enthusiasm, in the elite artistic world of theatre directors, musicians, writers and her audience. They can appreciate her never ceasing efforts to free the world of the moral, social, artistic and sexual values that are the general opinions of that era.
Her opinions are miles apart from the values appreciated by the local villagers of Noordwijk, and in the community she soon feels a prisoner of her self-inflicted isolation. The pain in her well-trained body increases as her body grows with the pregnancy, but loneliness is an even greater enemy.
Isadora’s niece Temple comes to stay for 6 weeks at the Villa with the blue painted window frames. She is just as besotted by dancing as her famous Aunt. Every morning Isadora practices her freestyle dance with her niece on the beach.
The notes in Isadora’s autobiography, together with the memoires of her friend Kathleen Bruce, give an impression of the agonizing birth process of Isadora’s baby, starting with the storm of contractions lasting 2 days before her daughter Deirdre is born.
“The cries and sighs of a slaughterhouse could not be more terrible and on the third morning, this absurd doctor brought an immense pair of forceps and, without an anaesthetic of any sort, achieved the butchery. Isadora stays alive with rupture to rectum and he said will possibly never dance again.’
Index Isadora Duncan Route
1. Steps of Rinus
2. The Coepelduynen
3. Villa The Koekoek
4. Villa The Ark
5. Sole Mio-park
6. Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin
7. Boutique Hotel Vesper
8. Rudolf Tappenbeck Monument
9. Summerhouse (design Rietveld)
10. Villa Maria
This walking experience is initiated by music theater arthouse KunstKlank Noordwijk.
Digital and website design by CGID Noordwijk zh (Cees Geuze).
Text is based on the historic booklet ‘ISADORA en Noordwijk’ by Renée Korbee ISBN/EAN: 978-90-825307-1-1
Publisher: Stichting KunstKlank, Noordwijk
And thanks to Anja van der Lippe
Please visit www.kunstklank.nl for more information.
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