Dances by Isadora was founded in 1989 by Patricia Adams and Catherine Gallant in the Boston area. Patt and Catherine taught and performed together primarily in solos and duets (with pianist Vivian Taylor) from 1986-1993. The Boston group grew to include local dancers who had studied with Patt and Catherine at Dean College, the Boston Conservatory, MIT and the Dance Complex. Catherine returned to NYC in 1993 and began working with dancers who would also perform in her own contemporary choreography. We are proud to say that Dances by Isadora maintains a base of activity in both New York and Boston with connections to the international Duncan community.
Embodying four generations of the Duncan legacy, members of the group have studied with keepers of the flame, Julia Levien, Hortense Kooluris, Annabelle Gamson, and Sylvia Gold. Dances by Isadora offers rarely seen dance gems from Duncan’s repertoire in programs that bring this dance of breath and spirit to a new generation. The group is dedicated to the growth of new work and reconstructions which comment on the past while looking to the future. Dances by Isadora and Catherine Gallant/DANCE have performed at Danspace Projects’s Dance Access Series presenting their Beethoven Project and at the 92Y Harkness Dance Center’s Fridays at Noon series on a program entitled Isadora Duncan in the 21st Century. Most recently, artistic director and founder, Catherine Gallant performed Jerome Bel's ISADORA DUNCAN at the Crossing the Line Festival presented by FIAF.
To see DANCES BY ISADORA is to be allowed a rare glimpse of the haunting honesty that shocked audiences nearly a century ago. Dances by Isadora has brought the work of Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) to vibrant life for audiences in the US and abroad since its founding 1989. Dances by Isadora challenges expectations about who dances and why. They are passionate about igniting a curiosity for dance, inviting audiences of all ages, genders, abilities and cultures to consider the impact of dance in their own lives. They have brought many performance projects out of the theater and into public space thereby developing new audiences. These works have been presented in public spaces including the Jacob’s Pillow outdoor stage, Green-Wood Cemetery, Mount Auburn Cemetery, the NYC subway, the Dorothy Strelson Garden (LES) and Central Park at the Bethesda Fountain for the annual Isadora Duncan Birthday Celebration.
Dances by Isadora explores the legacy of dance pioneer Isadora Duncan and shares the technique and repertoire through teaching and performance. The company reconstructs works for various populations in both traditional and alternative venues. Catherine Gallant/DANCE provides the contemporary lens on Duncan’s work creating a link to current dance-making approaches and exploring ways to bring dance history to new audiences.
Our company members range in age from 18-68. We value the embodied knowledge and artistry of our longtime members while meeting expectations for professionalism in the dance community. We recognize that the dancing body comes in many shapes and sizes that may not conform to existing norms in the classically focused dance world. Our priorities emphasize the unique and powerful movement qualities of each performer as they relate to the technique and repertoire of Isadora Duncan. Our practice is lead by ongoing inquiry, consistent and probing feedback and an openness to new ideas and approaches that will engage our expanding audience.
We believe that dance is for everyone. The history of dance is important to its continued development and shows the trajectory of dance in the US as one of individual artistic, social, political and cultural expression. We are always aware of the assumed hierarchies within work which has been created in the past. In our presentations and teaching we address questions of authority, ownership, appropriation, power and inclusion. Our aim is to open opportunities for learning and participation for ourselves and for everyone with whom we work.