Monday, June 08, 2009

Book Review: Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America

The amazing Dr. Ann Daly was a journalist, a tenured professor, and a dance writer/critic/historian before she achieved her ambition to be a life coach. Her incredible dissertation about Isadora Duncan was published as Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America.

We all know a little bit about Isadora Duncan: she danced around freely, caused scandal, and died in a gruesome accident with a scarf and a Bugatti. Done into Dance is a fascinating study of her impact (and the controversies) in America as she invented and legitimized modern dance.

The Prologue is a bit academic and I worried that the book would be over my head, but the story swept me away. I enjoyed Ann's descriptions of what was happening in the world and in American culture at the time: it helped illustrate the phenomenon that was Isadora.

And the photos and sketches! They are magnificent, many from the Dance Collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

The breadth of research impressed me on a personal level; I cannot imagine all the work that went into finding and digesting the information and then summarizing it for the reader. Ann rocks on so many levels!

Get it at Amazon:

Ann hosted a fun birthday party for Isadora at BookWoman recently and kept us entertained with stories from Isadora's life, as well as some principles of life we could learn from her. We wore our favorite scarves and enjoyed birthday cake, wine, and conversation.

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