Isadora Duncan Lives — In Westport

Rodin called Isadora Duncan “the greatest woman who ever lived.”

The mother of modern dance died in 1927. (She was just 50. Her flowing silk scarf became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and axle of an automobile in Nice, France, breaking her neck.)

Now, 89 years later, Duncan — or at least her spirit — is alive and well in Westport.

Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan

On Sunday, September 11, the Isadora Duncan International Institute launches its 40th season with a dance performance and garden champagne reception at the early-20th century, very Duncanesque former Schlaet estate on Bluewater Hill.

The event benefits the Institute and Jeanne Bresciani, a world-renowned dancer and longtime Duncan Institute director.

And that’s where the Westport-Isadora Duncan connection becomes even tighter.

Back in the day, Duncan’s dancing delighted millions. But she also taught children. She adopted 6, who became known as “the Isadorables.” They performed in Europe and the US.

Three went on to teach as well, passing along Duncan’s beautiful, timeless technique. It has become the inspiration for creative dance education for children, and of dance therapies worldwide.

Vicky Sloat with 2 young dancers.

Vicky Sloat with 2 young dancers.

One of those Isadorables was Maria Theresa Duncan. She mentored Bresciani — who went on to teach Vicky Sloat.

Sloat has paid it forward, teaching children and teenagers in Westport for 12 years.

And — drum roll, please — she and her husband now own the Schlaet property.

The event thus comes full circle — an artistic, dancing circle. It bridges Isadora Duncan with a disciple of sorts, decades later — for a cause that will keep Duncan’s memory and work alive, for many decades to come.

(Tickets for the September 11 event are available here. For more information, click here.)

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4 responses to “Isadora Duncan Lives — In Westport

  1. Laurie Jeffay

    Read about the “isadorables”.


  2. Wendy Crowther

    Great story.

    When I worked at the Westport YMCA in the 1980s-90s, Vicky was a Y member who swam an hour’s worth of laps in the pool several times weekly. She was always so soft-spoken and pleasant, and she had the most interesting “flower-child” like vibe. I never knew that she was a trained dancer but now it makes sense because I’ve seen her participating in Memorial Day parades dressed in flowing dance clothing and leading children.

    Vicky had many children of her own so it’s also not surprising that she’d become a dance mentor to others. One of the best stories from my days at the Y was when she arrived to do her laps as usual. She was pregnant but she stayed true to her swim routine throughout her pregnancies. Either prior to the start of her laps, or while swimming them, she went into labor. We were amazed that she calmly finished all of her laps as usual, as if it was any other swim day.

    Well done, Vicky, both then and now.

  3. Vicky Sloat is a Westport treasure! She is much more than a dancer and is modest enough about her life to keep all her other talents private. I am not the only Vicky fan…we who know her love her ..I know I do and did from the minute I met her many years ago…Keep dancing thru life Vicky!

  4. Elisabeth Rose

    As someone who studied Duncan dance in college, I’m thrilled to hear about this! I didn’t know about Vicky or her Duncan instruction, but am very happy to know that Isadora’s legacy is still alive and well. She revolutionized the dance world and influenced generations of dancers who followed her.