Lori Belilove

Behind all the cliches of the modern dancer–faux-classical gossamer garb, real classical music, thrown-back head, childishly lifted arms, skipping and leaping–was a real dancer, Isadora Duncan. And she was a revolutionary. But though the free rhythms and forms she brought to dance might be considered an outgrowth of American freethinking, she was never as popular here as she was in Europe and Russia. Her aversion to marriage (she had two children by two different men, neither of whom she married), among other iconoclastic ideas, guaranteed she’d be despised by the turn-of-the-century moral majority–and today’s, for that matter. Plus ca change. Yet it’s hard for us to see Duncan with fresh eyes, given the decades of dancers who’ve followed in her path. Fortunately Lori Belilove–a performer notable for her passion and focus–is still reviving and interpreting Duncan’s work as head of the resident performing company of the Isadora Duncan Foundation for Contemporary Dance in New York. She offers a solo program, including commentary, that begins with Duncan’s early dances performed to Chopin and Brahms and concludes with her late, tragic pieces to Scriabin. Saturday at 8 in the Ballroom Studio Theatre of the Marjorie Ward Marshall Dance Center of Northwestern University, 1979 South Campus Drive in Evanston; $6-$10. Tickets only at the door; call 847-491-3147 for information. –Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by David Fullard.