Top Left Photo: Steven Caras

Top Right Photo: Tasha Mansfield
The Miami-based Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble delighted us with beautifully crafted renditions of Duncan's 90 year-old studies to waltzes and nocturnes by Schubert, Chopin, and Strauss.
-The Village Voice
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Six Generations: The Legacy of the Isadora Duncan

Photo: Tasha Mansfield

Devoted to awakening the spirits of young children, Isadora Duncan established schools first in Germany, then in France and Russia, where she could teach her principles of art and life. After her two young children drowned in a tragic car accident, she gave the Duncan name to six of her most devoted pupils, Anna, Irma, Margot, Maria Theresa, and Lisa. The press fondly named these young pubescent dancers, the "Isadorables." After Isadora's death in l927, Irma Duncan continued to teach the Duncan technique in the Moscow school. When Lenin's New Economic reforms, famine, and other hardships forced her to leave Russia, she joined Anna Duncan in the New York School of Duncan Dancers.

In 1927, Julia Levien, then a young teenager and a third-generation Duncan dancer, made her debut with these two adopted daughters, Anna and Irma Duncan in the New York school. In l990, Dr. Mantell-Seidel, one of Levien's fourth generation protegees, began training a group of 13 and 14 year-old dancers in Miami, Florida. These young dancers made their premiere that same year in a concert in Isadora's "Schubert Waltzes" at the University of Miami's Gusman Concert Hall, alongside solo artist Andrea Mantell-Seidel and guest artist Lori Belilove. The young girls were auspiciously the same age as Isadora's young company members when they made their debut in these same dances in the early l920's. After seeing the Gusman performance in l990, Laurie Horn, critic for The Miami Herald, in a laudatory review, dubbed these dancers as "Miami's Isadorables." In l991, during a winter visit to Miami, Ms. Levien, saw these young girls perform and pronounced that they had something special. Since that time each winter for 15 years, she devotedly traveled to Miami during the winter months to work with the company as Artistic Advisor until her death in .

Photo: Tasha Mansfield

As the girls matured, they took on new, increasingly mature roles each year and new girls joined until eventually the group developed a repertory that could fill an evening. The fifth generation Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble was born. The Ensemble grew into an internationally acclaimed company performing throughout the world. Many of these original ensemble dancers, no longer young enough to be “adorable” and now mature artists, remain passionately committed and devoted to the Duncan work even after the formal company disbanded in 2009.

If you are interested in Duncan technique and/or reconstructions of the repertory, please see our list of available programs and contact us.


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