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Agnes de Mille

 

Agnes de Mille (1904-1993), American choreographer and author.  

 

From her book And promenade home. Boston, 1956.

 

 

  Even Isadora Duncan, who clamored the loudest for love, was no exception. She was a true sensualist and she seems to belie in the richness of her experience all I have argued about women’s substitution of dancing for life.

  But consider her point of view repeatedly expressed: she vowed when very young never to submit to woman’s usual fate, never to marry, that is, never to put herself or her fortune into any man’s keeping, to bear children if and when she pleased, to leave them or look after them at whim, to be absolutely free and to remain so.

  She wished to have the freedom of a pagan as she imagined it, for she recognized love as a transient ecstasy. The communion on which marriage is built she never, I believe, envisaged, nor constancy, security, fruition, these being the rewards of the female life she scorned. She followed a dream, power without responsibility, release without cost.

  And her way of attainment was the cultivation of her body. The littlest ballet pupil in first position before the mirror is starting on the same historic path. (I would like to interject that very few daughters of contented mothers have become ballerinas.

  I cannot name a father who urged a dancing career on his girl unless he was himself a dancer and looked upon the matter as one of natural succession.)

 

………………….

 

  I think this is what Isadora Duncan meant when she spoke of founding a new religion: the total release of women’s hearts, the total use of their gifts.

 

 

 

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