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.
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.
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.
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