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Hyde House inspires spirit of Isadora Duncan dancers

“If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.”

Isadora Duncan

For Jeanne Bresciani, visiting The Hyde Collection last year was like returning home after years away.

“I just felt like I was floating through a space that is so core and instrumental to everything I am as a human being,” Bresciani said after the January 2019 trip.

The artistic director of the Isadora Duncan International Institute was an intern at the then-fledgling Hyde Collection in 1971, when she was a student at Skidmore College.

After leaving Skidmore, Bresciani went on to earn a Master of Arts from Williams College in collaboration with the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute as a Kress Fellow, a Master of Arts from New York University as a Fulbright Scholar, and a doctorate from New York University.

In 1988, she attended the then-relatively new National Museum of Dance & Hall of Fame and met Mary DiSanto-Rose, an associate professor of dance at Skidmore.

“I loved the work,” DiSanto-Rose said. “I brought her as a guest artist at Skidmore in 1989 and we have been working together ever since.”

Each year, Bresciani — the protegee of Maria Theresa Duncan, Isadora Duncan’s daughter — leads a workshop for DiSanto-Rose’s students, then they perform a dance concert at the college.

“It’s good for our students to learn the history and find their own spirit in the dance,” DiSanto-Rose said of the workshops. “Jeanne is very good about bringing the dancers’ spirits to the work and keeping it alive today.”

From 3 to 4:30 pm Sunday (January 19), Bresciani and dancers from the Isadora Duncan International Institute, and DiSanto-Rose and students and alumni from Skidmore College will perform masterpieces from the treasury of Isadora Duncan in the rooms of historic Hyde House.

“This is a marvelous way for students to realize their own creative energy and how they can respond to the artwork through movement,” DiSanto-Rose said. “That’s our hope in Hyde House, to go to each room and spend time with the drawings and artwork, and architecture, too, and respond to that, layer that with some of Isadora’s pieces to create little vignettes of movement.”

The solo, duet, and small-group performances are offered for self-guided tours through Hyde House. The program is free for Hyde members, and Skidmore faculty and students. Non-members are admitted free with paid Museum admission.


Click to read a past article from The Hyde’s member eblast about Bresciani’s experience as an intern at the Museum in the early 1970s.