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Isadora Duncan: The Rose Petals & Ruth St. Denis: East Indian Nautch Dance

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Isadora Duncan: The Rose Petals


Ruth St. Denis: East Indian Nautch Dance

Ruth St. Denis was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1878. She was the daughter of an inventor and a physician. Ruth started dancing at the age of ten and danced her first solo performance in 1893. Ruth grew to be a U.S. modern dance innovator and teacher. Ruth was a vaudeville performer creating a dance act based on Asian dance forms, she toured this dance in Europe from 1906 to 1909 winning great acclaim. From 1909-1914 Ruth continued to tour, building her reputation as a classic dancer. In 1915 she established the Denishawn dance company and school. One of Ruth's main interests was the understanding of Indian culture and mythology carried to the American dance stage. Ruth continued to dance and experiment well into her eighties, until her death in 1968.

In 1932, Ruth St. Denis performed the East Indian Nautch Dance. This dance was one of her most famous and is inspired by her persona of a street dancing girl. Based on my visual framework I can give my opinion to summarize this dance. When I watched this piece it was very upbeat and made me feel happy. The mood was very uplifting. Ruth was the solo dancer in this piece and her costume was fun and flirty just as the dance was. The lighting wasn't very bright and there wasn't much of a stage, she had very little room. There wasn't an audience to be seen so I can't describe where the audience was seated during this dance. My overall feeling of the piece was that it was pretty good. I think the dance would have been better if it was a bit longer. I related to this piece because of the peppy and fun mood of the dance.

Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco, California in 1877. Isadora was the youngest of four siblings. Her parents divorced when she was three and her mother moved her and her three siblings to Oakland. Isadora's family was very poor, and both she and her sister gave dance lessons to local children to earn extra money for the family. Isadora eventually moved to New York, later London, then eventually Paris where she founded a dance school that rejected traditional ballet and stressed a more improvisational style of dance because she felt ballet was "ugly and against nature." She moved to Moscow in 1922 because she was sympathetic to the newly formed Soviet Union, she moved back to Paris two years later, having founded two more dance schools in Germany and Moscow. She continued to dance until her tragic death in 1927.

Isadora's dance The Rose Petals, has been performed by many dancers since her death in 1927. This dance is performed by a trio, or more, of women carrying and using rose petals as a prop and dropping them throughout the dance. The mood is very light and the music fits the mood. The dancers movements are fluid,



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