Simple, High-Quality & Joyful Study of Dance


Salon Performance a Success

Last Thursday’s Salon Performance was a triumph. On September 29, 2022 at 7:00 pm an audience of just over ninety gathered at The Trolley Barn in Atlanta, Georgia for an evening of dance and conversation. The evening include a visual art exhibition of works that were catalysts for dances presented during the evening or works created during the project. After the performance of the dances, audience members offered questions for the artists to answer and discuss. Photographs from the evening can be seen here.

The visual art exhibition included work by three artists, Margaret Katz Nodine (1956-2015), Abraham Walkowitz (1878-1965) and John Ramspott. Three by Margaret Katz Nodine a four by five foot, oil on canvas was presented and is the image which inspired Carolyn Stine McLaughlin’s dance, Beauty Through Mattus. Two reprints, Isadora Duncan, in Green, Dancing and Woman in Red Dancing by Abraham Walkowitz were on display. Douglas Scott’s dance, You Were Once Wild Here, was in part a reaction to works by Walkowitz. The last groups of visual art pieces displayed were by photographer John Ramspott. They included a group from the Olmstead Linear Park Series and a selection of three images from the Inman Park Dance Festival Series.

The dancing of the evening began with Isadora Duncan’s Narcissus performed by Ashlee Jo Ramsey-Borunov. This work is from Duncan’s Dramatic period and dates from 1904. It was danced with skill and grace by Ms. Ramsey-Borunov.

The second offering of the evening was a suite from José Limón’s Dances for Isadora (1971). Each dance in this work represents a different period in Duncan’s life. Primavera which was danced by Mercy Matthews represents Duncan’s early years and the idea of Spring. It is a joyful dance which has direct echoes of Duncan’s Narcissus. This was followed by Maenad performed by Andie Knudson. Maenads are female followers of Dionysus and were said to perform frenzied, ecstatic dances and have super human strength during these episodes. The dance represents the period of Duncan’s life when she was in her full feminine power. Last of the suite presented was Niobe which was performed by Julianna Feracota. This solo based on the Greek myth of the same name, represents the tragic period in Duncan’s life when her children and their nanny’s carriage fell in to the Sein river in Paris and they all drowned. All three dances were performed by the same dancers at the Inman Park Dance Festival in April of 2022, the benefit of being able to perform these works again was apparent in the depth of the performance.

The next selection on the program was Carolyn Stine McLaughlin’s Beauty Through Mattus. This dance, like the prior selections on the program, was set to music by Chopin. The trio was danced by Charlotte Angermeier, Jenna Latham and Meagan Novoa. The contrasts of adagio and allegro in the music were reflected in the movement as the piece brought to life the figures in Nodine’s painting Three. The artists conveyed through the work the feelings of awe and joy.

The final work on the evening program was by Douglas Scott and was performed by the eight dancers of Full Radius Dance; AK Bayer, Vic Davis, Julianna Feracota, Jodie Jernigan, Courtney Michell McClendon, Ashlee Jo Ramsey-Borunov, Matthew Smith and Peter L. Trojic. The work included the intricate partnering which the company is known for. The lines of Walkowitz’s drawings could be seen in the lines of the dancers’ arms and in the contrapasso pose of a dancer in the later part of the work.

During the intermission, the audience was invited to give questions for discussion by the artists. The questions offered ranged from the practical; “How long did it take to learn the dances?” and “How do the dancers not breakdown and cry when the dance give so much emotion?”, to the cerebral; “How has being involved in this project affected you as a person?” and “What should the youth of today glean from Isadora’s transformation of modern dance?”

Many thoughtful responses were given by the artists, including a serendipitous one by John Ramspott, the project photographer. After first shooting the Limón masterclass and reconstruction in early April, he took a deeper dive into the life of Duncan and read her auto biography My Life. After reading this, he came to the idea that seeing Duncan’s work in a natural setting would be fitting and he began to look for sites to propose for a photoshoot. The one that he was drawn to was the Olmstead Linear Parks which are along Ponce de Leon Avenue. It turns out that the seed for the project came from this same site. More than a decade ago, with a Volvo full of children for carpool, the project director Carolyn Stine McLaughlin was stuck in traffic on Ponce de Leon Avenue at the Olmstead Linear Parks. As she was waiting, she look over at the beautiful rolling terrain of the park and immediately saw dancers moving with the buoyant and upward gestures of Duncan’s vocabulary.


A Time with Isadora: Update

A Time with Isadora, Movement Arts Atlanta’s (MAA) current major project, is making progress! Following are several updates, information about performances and what to look forward to next.

Since March 3, A Time with Isadora has raised $5,435 towards the first phase goal of $6,000. We hope to meet this goal by April 30. This first phase includes supporting the reconstruction of excepts from José Limón’s Dances for Isadora and the performance of these three dances during the Inman Park Dance Festival. After April 30, fundraising for the second phase of the project will begin. For this phase the goal is $9,000 which will support the reconstruction of an original Isadora Duncan work, commissions for three new dances by Atlanta choreographers and the performance of all of these dances on September 29 at the Trolley Barn.

From April 1 through April 4, Movement Arts Director, Carolyn Stine McLaughlin, hosted Natalie Desch the Limón Foundation Reconstructor. She worked with three Atlanta based artists, Julie Feracota, Andie Knudson, and Mercy Matthews, who learn the solos, Primavera, Maenad and Niobe, which are three of the five dances of Limón’s Dances for Isadora. In addition to teaching these solos, Ms. Desch also taught two masterclasses which were attended by dancers from ages 10 to 75. The work of the weekend was joyful and engaging. These events were documented with photographs taken by John Ramspott. Here is a gallery of some of the reconstruction rehearsals and here is a gallery of one of the master classes.

During the last month, the three choreographers for the commissioned works have been confirmed. New works based on the theme of A Time with Isadora, how one artist influences many, will be made by: Carolyn Stine McLaughlin, Director of Movement Arts Atlanta; Douglas Scott, Artistic/Executive Director of Full Radius Dance; and, George Staib, Artistic Director of Staib Dance.

The first performance of the project will be the presentation of the three solos from Dances for Isadora at the Inman Park Dance Festival (IPDF). IPDF will celebrate it 20th anniversary during two free performances on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24 at 4:00 pm in the Trolley Barn, 963 Edgewood Avenue, 30307. MAA along with Atlanta Historic Dance, Ballethnic, Full Radius Dance, the Georgia Ballet, and ImmerseATL will perform works spanning 350 years of concert dance; Baroque, ballet and modern.

Next steps for A Time with Isadora are exciting and numerous. Details about a documentary film are just around the corner. There will be more fundraising with solicitation of donations and sponsorships, a raffle and perhaps a champaign (Isadora’s favorite drink) tasting. There will be the reconstruction of an original Isadora Duncan work. Support will be provided to the commissioned artists as they make the new works for the project. And of course, all the details will need to be managed for the major performance of the project in September at the Trolley Barn.


A Time with Isadora – A Major Project for MAA

Movement Arts Atlanta is happy to announce the beginning of its inaugural major project, A Time with Isadora. The project will present conversation and performance around the phenomenon of the “Mother of Modern Dance,” Isadora Duncan with original Duncan work, excerpts from José Limón’s Dances for Isadora and new works by Atlanta dance artists.

The first event of the project will be two Limón master classes with Natalie Desch. These will take place while Ms. Desch is in Atlanta to set the excerpts from Limón’s Dances for Isadora. The classes will take place Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3 from 1:00 pm until 2:30 pm at Dance Foundry. Further information about the classes and registration is available here. The cost of each class is $30, a package of two classes is $45.

The preliminary performance of the project will be the performance of two of Limón Dances for Isadora as part of the 20th Anniversary Inman Park Dance Festival which is a program of the Inman Park Festival and Tour of Homes. The dance festival’s two free performances will take place Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24 at 4:00 pm in The Trolley Barn. The performances will include dances spanning more that 350 years of dance history with performance by Atlanta Historic Dance, Ballethnic, Full Radius Dance, The Georgia Ballet, ImmerseATL and Movement Arts Atlanta.

During the period of May 2022 and September 2022, the project will continue with the reconstruction of an original Duncan work from the early 20th century and the commissioning of new works with the themes of one artist’s influence on another, how artists are inspired to make work and the misconceptions around how the creation of this work happens.

The second performance of the project will be a salon style performance that will include the Duncan selection, three excerpts from Dances for Isadora, the new works by Atlanta area choreographers and a moderated discussion on Thursday, September 29 at 7:00 pm at The Trolley Barn. Tickets are available here.

Fundraising for this project is underway. Friends of Inman Park has agreed to be the fiscal agent for the project so that donations are tax deductible. The project is also looking for in-kind support such as hosting at the performances and organizing refreshments. Please visit the Support page for further details.