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Alexander Benois

Alexander Nicolaievitch Benois (1870 Saint-Petersbourg - 1960 Paris), painter, designer, decorator, art historian.

   Excerpt from an article published in the Russian magazine Slovo (The World), 23, 23/12/1904. Translated in Steegmuller, Francis: Your Isadora. The love story of Isadora Duncan & Gordon Craig. New York, MacMillan, 1974.


I became acquainted with Miss Duncan's views on the ballet at the supper given by a few of her admirers after her second concert. On that festive occasion, Duncan, in the true American way, managed to make a long and effective speech, in which she clearly and articulately expounded her ideas about dance in general and, in particular, about dance as spectacle.

  I must note at once that it is pointless to look for philosophical principles in her ideas; as a genuine artist, she is motivated not by logic, but by elemental inspiration.

   In her opinion, the only thing that matters is beauty, the pursuit of beauty in order to make all life beautiful. In the presence of beauty even suffering has no terrors, even death does not frighten, beauty illumines everything, it is mankind's best comforter.

  In answer to a question asked by a writer who was present, "But what are we to do about ugliness, since it exists in the world?" Miss Duncan, still aglow after her impassioned speech, replied without hesitation, "Il faut la tuer, la laideur! II faut la tuer !"




Wednesday the 30th. . Isadora Duncan Pundect
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