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Concert "A Time with Isadora" will bring dance history to life at The Trolley Barn

McLaughlin first created the “A Time with Isadora” project 10 years ago while experimenting with one of Atlanta’s famous attractions: bumper-to-bumper traffic.

“I was stuck in traffic looking at the rolling terrain of Olmsted Linear Parks and thought, Isn’t it nice to see the dancers there?” she says. “Then I thought of Isadora Duncan’s vocabulary.”

Duncan is best known for her flourishing, barefoot dancer vocabulary, which calls to mind kinetic Greek sculptures emphasizing the interconnectedness of body and soul. Intrigued by the influential modern pioneer, McLaughlin went to New York to study with Isadora Duncan Foundation founder and Artistic Director Lori Belilove and returned to Atlanta with a stack of books and inspiration.

Slowly taking shape over the intervening years, her project launched in April with former Lemon Dancer and Remodeler Natalie Desch, setting up “Dances for Isadora” on three Atlanta-based contemporary dance artists. Mercy Matthews and Andie Knudson of ImmerseATL performed “Primavera” and “Maenad”, while Juliana Verracotta, dancing with the Full Radius Dance, performed Niobe Lemon’s song. All three were performed at the Inman Park Dance Festival.

Niobe is a character from Greek mythology who serves as the archetype of the grieving mother. The solo film chronicles Duncan’s tragic loss of her children. Her first two children, aged six and three, died in a car accident, and she lost her third child shortly after he was born. Duncan’s tragic end came when one of her flowing scarf wrapped around the wheel of her convertible, choking her.

Veracotta gained a new appreciation for Niobe’s maturity, reverence and grace, as they contrasted with the playful and often hilarious depictions of Duncan’s work.

“She’s lived a full and, at times, tragic life,” says Ferracotta. “Throughout the Niobe learning process, I have been struck by the attention to detail and integrity within each movement.”

McLaughlin would also perform Duncan’s 1904 single, Narcissus, after months of working with Belilove remotely. It will be presented Thursday by Full Radius member Ashlee Jo Ramsey-Borunov.

“I was talking to Ashley Jo, who also teaches yoga, about how Duncan’s gestures come from the fourth chakra, the heart chakra,” says McLaughlin. “All the motivation for movement comes from the solar plexus and it is so comforting. I hope people see that.”

The show’s original works include McLaughlin’s work in memory of her late friend and visual artist Margaret Katz-Nuden, inspired by Nudin’s Three. The artist often attended McLaughlin’s lessons and rehearsals to paint her and her co-workers. The painting has been hung in McLaughlin’s home for years and will now be revived for a trio.

Scott, director of Full Radius Dance, talks about Duncan’s life and legacy through the drawings of modernist artist Abraham Wukowitz, whose prints use ink and graphite on paper to outline Duncan’s shadows. Scott translates it into a movement with his dancers. Some of Walkowitz’s original drawings are in the High Museum of Art and two reprints will be on display during the show, courtesy of the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation.

McLaughlin’s second work of the evening was designed by Staib. His duet is set on two ballerinas and honors his mentor, ex-lemon dancer Anne Fashion, with the poignant sense interwoven throughout the work that “there is a time for everything.”

dance preview

“Time with Isadora”

7-9:30 p.m. September 29, $25. The Trolley Barn, 963 Edgewood Ave. NE, Atlanta.

Meet our partner

ArtsATL (, is a non-profit organization that plays a critical role in educating and informing the public about the arts and culture of Metro Atlanta. Founded in 2009, ArtsATL aims to help build a sustainable arts community that contributes to the city’s economic and cultural health.

If you have any questions about this or other partnership, please contact Senior Partnerships Manager Nicole Williams at