Teaching Resources

History Quiz: Isadora Duncan

1. True or False: Isadora Duncan grew up in Paris.


2. Though she studied ballet in her youth, how did Duncan claim she learned to dance?


3. Why did she move to Europe in 1899?


4. What event sparked America’s fascination with Greek
culture and provided Duncan with inspiration for her trademark look?


5. Duncan wore _____ costumes and created movement based on _____, _____, _____ and _____.


6. What style of music did she use? Give an example of one composer whose music she danced to.


7. What was the group of dancers that Duncan taught and performed with called?


8. Duncan had _____ children out of wedlock.


9. True or False: Duncan was booed off of American stages, accused of being a communist.


10. Which choreographers did her work mainly influence?









1. False; Duncan grew up in San Francisco; 2. She told audiences she learned by watching the ocean—she felt the tide’s movement corresponded to the lung’s
expansion and contraction, which created heaviness and lightness in the body.; 3. American dancers were treated as showgirls, not artists; and there were more
opportunities for concert dancers in Europe; 4. The Olympics; 5. toga-like; walking, skipping, running and leaping.; 6. She used Romantic music; composers
Schubert, Chopin, Gluck and Brahms; 7. The Isadorables; 8. Two; 9. True; 10. Michel Fokine, Doris Humphrey, José Limón and Mark Morris

For the past 17 years, the Martha Hill Fund has been honoring the commitment to dance education and international performance embodied by its namesake. Previous award winners have included Carla Maxwell, former artistic director of Limón Dance Company, former Ailey II dancer Frederick Earl Mosley and Mark DeGarmo of Mark DeGarmo Dance.

This year's awards gala takes place tonight at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. Check out who's being honored.

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Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

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Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

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Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

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Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

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Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

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Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

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