Isadora Living Archive project

The Isadora Living Archive project is a collaboration between Inria’s teams ANIMA and Ex-Situ, the dancer Elisabeth Schwartz and the MocapLab, with the support of the Centre National de la Danse.

The goal of this project is to create an interactive archive of Isadora Duncan’s choreography with the help of new technologies. This archive will be centered around the question of movement representation. It will match Duncan’s style closely with the help of 3D animations in order to represent the movement’s dynamic quality and its body organization. This project wants the archive to not only be a way of storing choreography but rather a new way for dancer’s to experience what Duncan’s choreography is. This project can be split into three phases.

The first phase is to record using motion capture at a high frame rate (100 frame per seconds) part of Isadora Duncan’s choreography performed by multiple dancers who have been trained in the Duncanian philosophy. To the best of our knowledge this is the first motion capture archive of any part of Isadora Duncan’s work.

In a second phase the motion captured data is processed in order to represent the movement using a physical and geometrical model. This model would have a different geometry than a dancer’s body. This would enable to have a better understanding of the “natural movement” in order to be able to share it.

During the third phase, we would use the new found model in an installation in order to teach dancers the choreography in an interactive manner : the installation would guide dancers through Duncan’s choreography while adapting to the dancer’s body using the model aforementioned. This would enable dancers to understand the essence of the movement to make it their own instead of seeing the movement through someone else’s body. This would teach choreography in the same way Duncan was teaching hers : “In this school I shall not teach the children to imitate my movements, but to make their own. I shall not force them to study certain definite movements; I shall help them to develop those movements which are natural to them” Isadora Duncan in [1]


[1] Isadora Duncan. 1928. The dancer of the future. The Art of the Dance, New York:Theatre Arts Books. Written c. 1902 and first published 1928. (1928)

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