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The Dance as An Art of Liberation

February 1906 — Philharmonic Saal, Berlin, Germany


Not by the thought or contemplation of beauty only, but by the living of it, will woman learn. And as form and movement are inseparable, I might say she will learn by that movement which is in accordance with the beautiful form.

Of course, people will respond, “But what about the children?” Well, I could give the names of many prominent people who were born out of wedlock. It has not prevented them from obtaining fame and fortune. But, leaving that . . .

I believe in a woman’s right to love and bear children as she pleases.

I said to myself, How can a woman go into this marriage contract with a man who she thinks is so mean that, in case of a quarrel, he wouldn’t even support his own children? If she thinks he is such a man, why should she marry him? I suppose truth and mutual faith are the first principles of love. At any rate, I believe, as a wage-earnings woman, that if I make the great sacrifice of strength and health, and even risk my life, to have a child, I should certainly not do so if, on some future occasion, the man can say that the child belongs to him by law, and he will take it from me and I shall see it only three times a year!

A very witty American writer once replied to his mistress, when she said: “What would the child think of us if we were not married?” by saying, “If your child and my child were that sort of child, we would not care what it thought of us.”

Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences. Personally, I think the woman’s movement cannot ever call itself the woman’s independent movement, until they swear once and for all to abolish marriage.

As for children: Well, I could give the names of many prominent people who were born out of wedlock.



Source: Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography, by Sabrina Jones (New York: Hill and Wang) 2008, p. 45.


Also: My Life, by Isadora Duncan (New York: Boni and Liveight) 1927, p. 223.