Isadora Duncan lived as a bi-sexual woman. She was born in the USA but lived most of her short years in Europe. May 26, 1877-Sept 14, 1927 (50 years old).
Isadora was heralded as a brilliantly creative dancer. Isadora had many lovers both men and women. In 1910 a tragedy struck. A car driving her two children (from different fathers) ran off a street and plunged into the Seine River in France. This was a tragic accident due to the neglect of the chauffeur. The car had stalled and when the chauffeur got out to crank the engine, he neglected to put on the hand break. Along with the children (Deirdre and Patrick) was a nanny who also perished.
Recovering on the Island of Corfu
Isadora spent time on Corfu in the presence of her brother and sister. On Corfu was the actress Eleonora Duse.
Eleonora had recently split from Lina Poletti an Italian feminist. When Isadora and Eleonora travelled to Viareggio, Italy, rumours spread. Correspondence that survived them both proved that the rumours were true.
Isadora Defied Conventions
Isadora, like many lesbians of her time, had the money and fame to ignore sexual rules. She was a feminist who sought equality with men and women. Ten years after the death of her children, Isadora moved to Russia. Isadora believed that the Russian Revolution would provide equality for all its citizens. She left after two years in frustration that the government had not kept its promise.
In those two years, Isadora became a Soviet citizen due to her marriage to Sergei Yessenin, a male poet who was 18 years her junior. It is rumoured that Isadora spoke little Russian and her husband spoke NO foreign languages. It must have been chemistry that kept the two together. He was only 30 when he committed suicide in 1925.
According to Alice B Toklas (Gertrude Stein’s partner), Mercedes bedded the most notable women of her time! Here is a picture of Mercedes who was also, at one time, the lover of Marlene Dietrich.
The Long Scarf That Killed
Isadora loved long scarves and wore one around her neck when she got into a car with Italian mechanic, , Benoît Falchetto. It was September 14, 1927. It is rumoured that Isadora may have spoken prophetic words. As the car pulled away Isadora waved to a group of friends, reportedly saying “Adieu, mes amis, Je vais à la gloire!” (“Goodbye, my friends, I am off to glory!”). The scarf fluttered in the wind and became entangled in the spokes of one of the wheels. Isadora was yanked out of her seat and dragged to her death. Much later, the friends denied these words. The truth was that Isadora was having an affair with the much younger Italian. Her true words were, “I am off to love!”
Pauline’s final comment: In December, 2015, I stood at the grave of Isadora Duncan.. She is buried in the Père Llachaise Cemetery, Paris. I was in Paris (just after the terrorist bombing of a concert venue and cafe).
I tried to find the graves of Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, but the cemetery closed early. Next time. I did, however, locate the graves of Colette and Oscar Wilde.