A Selection Of Isadora Duncan Dances 
The Shubert Selection By Sylvia Gold 

This book is dedicated to my teacher, Irma Duncan.                      
To My Husband Ben, Thank You.  

A Selection Of Isadora Duncan Dances The Shubert Selection By Sylvia Gold, Dance
Writer & Copyist: Duncan Dancer, Teacher, Lorraine Spada, & Director Certified
Teacher, Founder of the Isadora Suton Dance Writing Duncan Repertory Dance
Company Original Dances By Isadora Duncan, Dance Writingо Choreographed & Copy
Editors: To Music By Franz Schubert Ann Berg  Helene Byrne, Certified Teacher,
Dance Photographs: Suton Dance Writing Photographs of Iris Berry Rogers, Sylvia
Gold & Certified Teacher, Ellen OТReily by Suton Dance Writing Donald Malpass
Valerie Suton, Photograph of the Inventor, Three Graces by Suton Dance Writing
Jaye R. Philips The Sutton Movement Writing Press 

A Selection Of Isadora Duncan Dances 
The Schubert Selection 
Copyright @ 1984 By The Center For Suton Movement Writing, 
Pan American and Universal Copyrights Secured 
ISBN Number 0-914336-20-7 
NOTICE This book is copyrighted in the United States of America and in al
countries signatory to the Pan American and Universal Copyright Conventions. No
part of it may be reproduced in any way unless my written permission has been
obtained. If the choreography in this book is performed, credit to Sylvia Gold,
to Suton Dance Writing, and to A Selection of Isadora Duncan Dances must be
mentioned in the writen program accompanying the performance.  Sylvia Gold &
Valerie J. Suton Book Designed by Jayne Gunderson Layout Production by Valerie
Suton Printed and Published in the United States of America Dance Writingо is a
trademark belonging to the The Center For Suton Movement Writing, Inc., a
non-profit, tax exempt, educational membership organization. 

Published by The Suton Movement Writing 
Press The Center for Suton Movement Writing, 
Inc. P.O. Box 517 La Jola, California 92038-0517 
Tele: 858-456-0098  
The Cover photo of Fax: 858-456-0020  
Elen Reily by Donald Malpas 

 Table of Contents 
Foreword by Gemze de Lappe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 
Introduction by Sylvia Gold. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 
Isadora Duncan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 
The Costumes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 
The Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 
The Dance Writer & Copyist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 
Suton Dance Writing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 
The Schubert Selection The Lullaby Solo - Op. 33 No. 7 . . . . . . .21 
The Ballspiel Solo - Op. 91a No. 10  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 
The Tanagra Solo - Op. 9b No. 16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 
The Slide Solo - Op. 33 No. 3  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 
The Waterstudy Solo - Op. 91a No. 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 
The Moment Musicale Solo - Op. 94 No. 3  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 
The Duet - Op. 33 No. 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 
The Three Graces - Op. 96 No. 15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 
Glossary of Classic Isadora Duncan Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93 
Glossary of Suton Dance Writing Symbols. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97 
Selected Bibliography  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 
Selected Video Tapes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100 


Having studied the Isadora Duncan Dance as a child, I understand its contribution
to the artistic world. I have always felt that my ability to give more emotional
quality to my solo dance roles in Broadway musicals came from the Duncan
experience. When Agnes de Mille took her American Dance Heritage program across
the country, she acknowledged the place that Isadora holds in the history of
American dance. When I performed with Agnes de Mille, two of Isadora's dances
were on the program. One of the dances, the Three Graces, is the last piece in
this book. The second dance was a duet choreographed to a Chopin mazurka. I hope
this second dance will be included in future books by Sylvia Gold. I have seen
two well known prima ballerinas perform dances in the 'style' of Isadora Duncan.
Their performances were taken from vague recollections and impressions of
Isadora. Although performed beautifully, the choreography was fuzzy, unstructured
and unmusical when compared with Isadora's originals. This book preserves the
Duncan dances and their style. It is my hope that dancers wil use this book to
recreate Isadora's choreography and that this will rectify past problems in
reconstruction. Hopefully future generations will perform these dances as Isadora
would have wished. Irma Duncan expresses regret in her autobiography Duncan
Dancer that neither Isadora nor Irma were able to leave some tangible result of
this transient art. The present collaboration between Sylvia Gold and Valerie
Suton should be the beginning of the fulfilment of another of Irma and Isadora's
dreams; to bring the art of the Duncan Dance to a wide circle of dancers and
through them, to an even wider audience. Gemze de Lappe 

 About Sutton Dance Writingо 

Isadora Duncan was the first to free dance from the many constraints imposed by
classical ballet. She can therefore be rightfuly caled the mother of modern
'barefoot' dance. When watching a trained and gifted Duncan dancer, the viewer is
struck by the complete integration of music and movement and may mistakenly feel
that little technique is required to perform the dance. Some of my students are
surprised that a Duncan class starts with warm-ups at the barre, continues with a
center adagio and ends with structured movements and combinations across the
floor. Isadora Duncan dancing is not 'fliting around' like so many people think,
nor is it 'unplanned' 'un-choreographed' interpretive dancing. Isadora's
choreography has as much structure as music. Yet Isadora was always aware that
technique is only a means to an end. An analogy can be made between the study and
performance of music and that of Duncan dance. Appreciating a Chopin Nocturne
requires an interpretation by a skilled and talented pianist. Similarly, a
successful performance of Duncan dances takes a gifted dancer trained in the
Duncan technique. Because Isadora Duncan broke away from the rigidity of
classical balet, it was commonly believed that Duncan and ballet were
incompatible and that balet training would actually hinder dancers learning
Duncan. In my experience this is not so. Ballet training or rigorous training in
modern dance can go a long way towards helping a dancer master Duncan technique
provided that he or she has an aptitude for Isadora's concepts. Many people are
under the misconception that Isadora simply improvised at performances, and did
not set formal choreography. This is completely mistaken. The primary motivation
for this book is to begin the preservation of the rich choreography that Isadora
left as her legacy. My teacher, Irma Duncan, was the first to describe Duncan
technique in The Technique of Isadora Duncan, published in 1937. I strongly
recommend this book. The Duncan dancer always listens to the music first to
achieve an understanding of the phrasing and dynamics of the composition. The
dancer is like an instrument - a visualization of the music. The impulse of the
music is felt before starting each movement. The music is never anticipated.
Spiritual feeling precedes the physical. Every dance is an inspired celebration
of life. In true Duncan dancing, the feeling originates in the soul, achieving a
perfect blend of the two arts, dance and music. The Schubert dances notated in
this book are representative of Isadora's earliest compositions. They are
technicaly less dificult than some of her later dances, but each dance is a work
of genius with an indi- vidual character that the dancer must understand and

 Isadora Duncan 

Isadora Duncan was born in Oakland' California in 1877. Her mother was an
accomplished pianist who introduced her to the great composers, whose music later
inspired Isadora's creation of a new dance form. Isadora's genius was appreciated
by her family when she was very young, but her revolutionary ideas on dance were
not wel accepted in America. When Isadora was in her teens, the family moved to
Europe, where her genius was recognized. Even so, raising money was always
difficult, until Isadora met her 'Lohengrin', an American heir to the Singer
sewing machine fortune. With his financial support, she founded schools of Duncan
dance in France and Germany. Eventually, Isadora gained great fame in both Europe
and America; in fact, in the entire world. Severe tragedy struck at the peak of
her fame. Her two children were drowned when their car rolled into the Seine.
When she eventualy returned to her Art with the encouragement of the great
actress Eleanor Duse, her choreography reflected her suffering. Isadora's dream
was to teach children who would then continue to teach others. This was more
important to her than performances, although performing was important as a
motivating force and also to help finance her school. One of her objectives was
to obtain government support for the school. The first and only government to
sponsor her work was the Soviet Union, and this support lasted approximately ten
years. Isadora Duncan died as dramaticaly as she had lived. She wore scarves
which were long enough to trail behind her. On September 19, 1927 in France, her
scarf became entangled in the rear wheel of a convertible car. When the car
started, she was strangled. Isadora died but her dream lives on. Six of her most
gifted students eventually setled in the United States, and were adopted by
Isadora Duncan and took her last name. Only three of these women continued to
teach and perform for many years; Irma, Anna and Maria Theresa, Irma Duncan
taught in New York City for eight years and her students are still dancing and
teaching. One of Irma's students was Sylvia Rubinstein Gold. 

 The Costumes 

Isadora discovered that the gestures of antique Greek sculpture were in perfect
harmony with her own concepts of movement. From this it naturaly folowed that
Greek tunics were the correct costumes. The original costumes as worn by the
'Duncan dancers' for these Schubert dances were China silk. They were washed and
then twisted very tightly while stil wet and allowed to dry in this fashion. When
completely dry, the pleated fabric clung to the body contours. Three yards of
elastic had to be crisscrossed and pinned carefully where they crossed in front
and back. In recent years we have tried to simplify this. No twisting is
necessary when using fine and supple jersey or polyester materials. About three
yards, 36 inches wide is necessary for one costume, 1 1/2yards for each side. Cut
the three yards in half. Tack the shoulders together with very few stitches,
about two inches from the ends. The length should be down to the ankles or
slightly above. Sew the seams together from below the armpit, leaving a large
opening for the movement of the arms. In the front, at about eight or nine inches
from either side, cut the material up towards the middle of the thigh. For the
jersey or polyester fabric you need three yards of very narrow, rounded elastic.
Start with the elastic held from the back. Cross it in front as you loop it near
the breast bone. Pul it under the shoulders and loop it as you cross it in back.
Pull it around to the front, near your waist and tie. Three yards of China silk
can be draped and tied over the left shoulder if desired as a scarf.

 The Author 

Sylvia Gold (Nee Rubinstein) was born in New York City in 1923, four years before
Isadora met her tragic and dramatic death. Her parents had seen Isadora dance,
and like many others, were very impressed. Sylvia loved to dance freely to music
at a very young age. Her parents recognized her talents and at the age of five
she was enroled in the Denishawn School, taught by Ruth St. Denis. The emphasis
was on the Eurhythmics method of Jacques Dalcroze. Sylvia then enrolled in the
studio of Isadora's sister Elizabeth Duncan, where she began her training with
Elizabeth and Anita Zahn, a teacher of the Duncan dance. Soon after, Irma Duncan
came to the United States and opened the 'Isadora Duncan Studios' at Carnegie Hal
in New York City. The then seven year old Sylvia was auditioned by Irma and her
parents received a note that had a profound effect on Sylvia's life. 'Miss Duncan
is extremely anxious to have Sylvia return. She considers her exceptionaly
talented.' Sylvia studied and performed with Irma for the next seven years. In
addition to the many studio performances, there was also a gala performance in
1934 at Madison Square Garden. In this performance Irma fulfilled a dream of
Isadora's by choreographing a dance pageant to the chorale movement of
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The New York Philharmonic was conducted by Walter
Damrosch who had often performed with Isadora. Sylvia was one of Irma's students
participating in this unusual concert. Irma Duncan left New York permanently in
1937 mind this temporarily diverted Sylvia's dance career. Sylvia entered the
High School of Music and Art, majoring in music and in 1944 received her
Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from New York University. Through al the
activities of marriage and motherhood, Sylvia maintained her love of the Duncan
dance. During the post World War II period, Duncan dancing was effectively
eclipsed by the modern dance movement, typified by Martha Graham and Doris
Humphrey. During this period, Sylvia studied various modern dance techniques and
later, in the 1960's and 1970's, turned to her early Duncan training to teach in
the Boston area. Isadora had prophecized that her art would first die out but
would eventualy be revived. In 1977, Sylvia began to commute to New York City to
work with Hortense Kooluris, Gemze de Lappe and Julia Levien and the four of
them, al students of Irma Duncan, performed as soloists along with a company of
younger dancers in a complete program of Isadora Duncan choreography at Riverside
Church in New York City. Earlier, Annabelle Gamson, Sylvia's sister-in-law, who
as a child studied Duncan with Julia Levien, startled the dance world by
performing Duncan dances to an ecstatic audience and raving reviews. Isadora's
prophecy was true: fifty years after her death her work was again popular.

Since then, performances of Duncan dance, too many to list, have taken place in
different parts of the world. Because of this new interest in Duncan, much of
Isadora's choreography has been restudied and restaged. Under the direction of
Sylvia Gold and Gemze de Lappe, members of the Boston Repertory Ballet Company
introduced Isadora's dances to a Boston audience in 1978. Several of these
performers have continued to perform Duncan and under Sylvia's direction have
formed the Boston based 'Isadora Duncan Repertory Dance Company' performing to
enthusiastic audiences. The Isadora Duncan Repertory Dance Company continues to
perform. As a teacher, performer, director and writer, Sylvia Gold is fulfiling
Isadora Duncan's dream by keeping the art of the Duncan dance alive. 

The Dance Writer & Copyist

Lorraine Spada is the Dance Writer and Copyist for this manuscript. A certified
teacher of Suton Dance Writingо, Lorraine worked with Sylvia Gold for two years,
watching the movements of the Duncan dances as Sylvia danced them, and writing
each movement in Sutton Dance Writingо. After each dance was written in rough
draft form, Lorraine then copied the dances again with a fine ink pen for
publication. Lorraine, a member of the dance faculty at The Boston Conservatory,
teaches Sutton Dance Writingо to dance majors, a requirement for graduation. She
also teaches Dance Writingо to students in her own school, the Lorraine Spada
School of Dance in Wilmington, Massachusets. Lorraine has two degrees, a Bachelor
of Fine Arts from the Boston Conservatory, and a Masters in Human Movement
Education from Boston University. 

 Sutton Dance Writingо 

Sutton Dance Writingо is a new, international movement notation system similar in
practicality to music notation. just as music uses notes on a five-lined staff to
record sound, Sutton Dance Writingо records choreography on a five-lined staff to
preserve dance for generations to come. Sutton Dance Writingо invented by Valerie
Sutton, is only one section of a larger movement notation system caled Sutton
Movement Writing and Shorthand The system consists of five sections, (1) Dance
Writingо, for recording dance choreography (2) Mime Writingо, for writing the
movements of mime performances (3) Sports Writingо, for recording ice skating,
gymnastics and other sports (4) Science Writingо, for writing the movements of
physical therapy and medical and scientific studies and (5) Sign Writing the
written form for sign languages used by deaf people. The SIGN WRITERо NEWSPAPER,
which is sent to deaf people in 41 countries, is written in Sign Writingо. Sutton
Dance Writingо was the first section to be developed. The first textbook on Dance
Writingо was pub- lished in 1973. It is a pictorial system. Visual stick figures
dance across the page like a cartoon, creating a film-like impression on paper.
The stick figure is placed on a five-lined staff. Each line of the staff
represents a specific level. The bottom line is the ground on which the figure
stands. The next line up is the level of the knees when the figure stands
straight. The hips are on the next line, and the shoulders the next. A
Face-Direction Line crosses the shoulder line, and facial expressions are writen
to the left of the figure: When the figure bends its knees, it lowers accordingly
on the five-lined staff. When the figure jumps in the air, the drawing rises
accordingly. The five-lined staff is a level guide and remains stable while the
figure moves up and down. Figures and symbols are written from left to right,
writing movement position by position, as if stopping a film frame by frame. For
an example, the classical ballet step the pas de chat is written below: 15 

Sutton Dance Writingо combines the abstract with the visual by placing visually
constructed С3-D Symbols' below each stick figure drawing. These '3-D Symbols'
add further information about the third dimension (depth). The '3-D Symbols' show
the overhead view, as if looking down on top of the head, seeing the limbs
projecting in various directions. The first row of symbols below the five- lined
staff represents the overhead view of the upper body (the arms). The second row
represents the overhead view of the lower body (the legs). Smal '3-D Symbols'
show in-out depth. Large '3-D Symbols' show up-down depth. Numbers placed beside
the '3-D Symbols' notate minute rotation (turn-in, turn- out) of the limbs.
Dynamics of movement, its effort and quality, are written over or under the staff
with special symbols. Some of the symbols come directly from written music. For
example, a curved line is writen under the staff, illustrating smooth movement,
and a grace note over the staff indicates 'un-even' movement: Counts from the
music are placed over the staff. Repeat signs in Dance Writing are also similar
to repeats in music notation.

The box to the left of every staff line is the Pattern Stage. This Pattern Stage
rep- resents the stage on which the movement is performed. The pattern is seen
from overhead. A triangle placed on the Pattern Stage represents the starting
position of the first stick figure on the line of notation to the right. The
point of the triangle indicates the direction the first stick figure faces. A
hollow triangle represents a female, and a darkened triangle represents a male. A
'v' rep- resents the person in general. The patern of movement is writen with a
line com- ing from the triangle, finishing with a dot. The dot is the place on
stage where the last figure on that line of notation finishes. The next line of
notation has a new Pattern Stage, which continues the pattern where the previous
Patern Stage left off. The triangle on this new Patern Stage wil be placed where
the dot was on the previous Pattern Stage. The notation for two dancers is writen
on two separate staffs. The two staffs are connected under the same music counts.
There are three Pattern Stages; one for each dancer, and one in between the two
staffs that shows both dancers moving together: 17 

When more than two dancers move at one time, the notation for each person is
placed on a separate staff. The movements for each dancer are coordinated under
the same counts, placed above the first staff with numbers. If many dancers move
in unison, their movements are writen only once, on one staff line, which
shortens the group dance manuscript greatly. Large pattern stages are written at
the bottom of the page, showing the interaction of the dancers. Group dance
scores in Sutton Dance Writingо have the same advantage of instrumental scores in
written music. 

The system records all forms of dance, including ballet, modem, jazz, tap,
folk/ethnic and social dances. Here are a few examples: Sutton Dance Writingо has
been taught in the United States, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Canada and
Brazil. The system has been presented to The Royal Danish Balet, the University
of California, the University of Oklahoma, the Ceccheti Council of America, the
University of Southern Mississippi, the Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts,
Boston University, the Edra Toth School and the Marblehead School of Ballet in
Massachusetts, the San Diego Ballet School, Connecticut Colege and the Wisconsin
Mime School. Sutton Dance Writingо , a requirement for dance majors, is part of
the dance degree program at the Boston Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. The
Center For Sutton Movement Writing is a technical center that trains and
certifies teachers in Sutton Movement Writing and publishes textbooks, Sheet
Dance, and educational materials on the system. A non-profit, tax-exempt,
educational, membership corporation, the Center is located in Southern
California, with a branch office for Sutton Dance Writing at the prestigious
Dance Department of the Boston Conservatory in Massachusets. Certified teachers
in the system offer courses, correspondence courses, lecture-demonstrations and
prepare textbooks and Sheet Dance for publication. 

For information on Suton Dance Writing, contact: The Center for Suton Movement
Writing, Inc. P.O. Box 517, La Jolla, California 92038-0517, Tele: 858-456-0098,
Fax: 858-456-0020, www.dancewriting.org.

 Selected Bibliography

Duncan, Irma. Duncan Dancer. Middletown, Connecticut, Wesleyan University Press,

Duncan, Irma. The Technique Of Isadora Duncan. Brooklyn, New York, A Dance
Horizons Republication, 1970. 

Duncan, Isadora. My Life (autobiography). New York, Liveright Publishing
Corporation, 1955. 

Duncan, Isadora. The Art Of The Dance. New York, Theatre Arts Books, 1977.

 Selected Video Tapes

Duncan, Isadora Centenary Dance Company. The Isadora Duncan Centenary Dance
Company. New York, Riverside Dance Festival at Riverside Church. Video tapes
located at Lincoln Center Dance Library, Tapes I and II, 1978. 

Gold, Sylvia and Walker, David Hatch, and Lehrer, Phylis and @, The Isadora
Duncan Repertory Dance Company. The Dance of Isadora Duncan. Boston,
Massachusetts, Wheelock Colege, November 17, 1979. 
Video taped by WGBH Educational Television in Boston. 

Kendall, Elizabeth and Arcdolino, Emile. Trailblazers Of Modern Dance, Dance In
America Series. National Educational Television (N.E.T.), 1977. 

 Valerie Sutton Inventor, Sutton Dance Writingо

Center For Sutton Movement Writing, Inc.
DanceWriting Sheet Dance


Hosted by uCoz