DC: Fringe: Revolutionary!

Revolutionary! Isadora Duncan’s Words, Music, Dance
conceived and adapted by Sarah Pleydell
produced by Word Dance Theater
Shakespeare Theatre @ the Harman Center
610 F Street NW
Remaining Performances:
Sunday, July 13th, 5:30pm
Sunday, July 20th, 6:00pm
Thursday, July 24th, 7:00pm
Saturday, July 26th, 1:00pm

Description: Join Word Dance Theatre in their multimedia production of the life and times of Isadora Duncan, the great American artist and revolutionary. Using Duncan’s own words, actress Sarah Pleydell embodies Isadora. WDT dances provide brilliant reconstructions of Isadora Duncan’s chorography, and Marcia Daft creates a soundscape using the beautiful music that was the thru-line of Duncan’s life and work.

This is a lovely piece. In between each dance, Pleydell as Duncan speaks about her life, telling us about events that inspired her and her artistic philosophy. The two sides of this production are well chosen, and the words spoken nicely complement the dances performed. The dance portion is the stronger portion. Pleydell doesn’t always make the emotional transitions works and there isn’t a sense of why she is saying these things to the audience. But I would imagine anyone going to this would be going to see the dances, and they are wonderfully performed by Cynthia Word, Ingrid Zimmer, and Valerie Durham. Long limbs, lithe bodies, and flowing silks and scarves fill the stage. Each dancer truly inhabits the spirit of the dance she is performing. Zimmer gives us a heavier, more athletic number of strength and breaking free, “she shall dance the freedom of women,” (“Revolutionary Etude”) contrasted with a lighter dance of childlike play, sunny and welcoming (“Balspiel”). Word shows sensuality and pleasure, flirting with the audience as she snaps a scarf percussively in “Orientale”, and then performs a somber dance of supplication and grief, “Ave Marie”, here linked to the death of Duncan’s children. The piece is truly a celebration of Duncan’s life and work, ending with the beautiful and celebratory “Butterfly”, danced by Durham.

3 stars


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