She died as a passenger in a 1920’s Bugatti race car, because the long scarf she was wearing – one of her extravagantly long signature scarves, ever present in her dances and in her life – got caught in the car wheels and strangled her.
Talk about artfully abandoned!
Isadora Duncan was a scandal in her personal and artistic life, because she dared to dance barefoot and often semi-nude. Back in the day, even a bare ankle was considered risqué so her willowy revealed arms and long, well-muscled legs were the talk all around the world. Wanton, strong on her need to shock and, therefore , be free. God bless Isadora..
She abandoned herself to her Muse, and let nothing, or at least very little clothing , stand in her way. She embodied Nature, Art, the Woodland Nymphs of mythology and other cunning escapes from the dirty turmoil of every day city life. She was of another world.
As are most artists of any worth.
Musicians, like jazz pianists , painters, like Jackson Pollack and his ilk, and actors, like any one of them from the Method School, yearn to be abandoned by the strictures of their thoughts and controlling minds, and their expression run liberally and more sublimely yet. Inspiration should come from a Place Other than the normal everyday world in which we breathe the air sullied by commerce, soil and striving. Poets of every school pay no attention to rules. At least the exciting poets pay no attention, and more often only to their own inner voices.
But the turn around word? The thing that distinguishes the artist from the merely impulsive and sloppy? That word is “artfully”. It is where “art” enters that makes transport to another world of experience possible.
At the arrival of art, the introduction of craft, comes the series of choices that determine the vocabulary with which one being can communicate with another. Because we all strive to be communicated with, and we ALL need to communicate with an other. And our shared experience, translated into words, signs, symbols and movements and colors and tones are the means of that necessary communication.
WE must be artful in our abandonment. Finally, we must make choices.
Yet we must not forget the abandonment part of it: a writer needs to get it all down – ALL -before editing or shaping can help it become art. Everything must flow, like Isadora’s scarves.
Hopefully, though, the tangles we get ourselves into, will not choke us, but will open the doors of perception and expression to wider and deeper experience.
Long live Isadora Duncan and her compatriots, who lifted their skirts to show us more than mere flesh.
They showed us that mere flesh could fly.