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Isadora Duncan: Movement from the Soul1989

  • 3.7
This unsentimental portrait of the complex and charismatic "Mother of Modern Dance" traces the life and artistic development of San Francisco-born Isadora Duncan (1877-1927). Duncan raised dance from mere vaudeville entertainment to a legitimate art form, laying the foundation for today's modern dance. The first American performing artist to gain worldwide acclaim, she dared to use her medium for political purposes: creating the first choreography to call people to arms, to express the plight of repressed workers, and to agitate for the freedom of women. Set against the social tapestry of turn-of-the-century America and Europe, ISADORA DUNCAN: MOVEMENT FROM THE SOUL is a study of a revolutionary and iconoclast, a woman who dared to defy Victorian mores through both her art and the way she lived. Illuminating and gracefully crafted, the documentary interweaves the details of Isadora Duncan's tumultuous life with re-creations of twelve of her dances. Spanning the entire range of her career, these dances illuminate Duncan's personal and artistic development. Viewers witness the evolution of Duncan's early lyrical compositions into her later dramatic and politically motivated work.

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Member Reviews (2)

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top reviewer

The film is a sympathetic portrait of a free spirit, a determined and individual artist, who found freedom through her dancing. I have been interested in ballet for several years. This presentation gave me a new appreciation of the art she established and a glimpse at the driven, idealistic, determined woman she was. I would be more inclined to try her dancing style rather than just watch it. It is like going to a Barbershop quartet concert (which I love.) After the first half hour, everything seems to be the same. The film, however, didn't touch on whether her school also took boys. There seems to be quite a bit of interaction between her dancers, but I can't imagine her approach would indulge lifts or throws.

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top reviewer

A rather ordinary and at times overwrought paen to one of the most original artist of the 20th century. The exquisite dancing by Lori and Margaret gave some idea of Isadora's genius and passion.