shannon c. mcmullan


A collection of thoughts, discussions, and experiences within the dance community, AEC industry, and yoga land.

Looking back on 2014 Duncan thoughts...

"My latest adventure has been studying the Isadora Duncan dance technique."

This was the first statement in my first writing piece regarding Isadora Duncan, posted on my college blog March 26, 2014 and I realized how drastically little things change, but how the big picture stays the same. My big picture, in this case, is that my dance career is still focused on Isadora Duncan's technique and legacy; the steps taken since March 2014 has not been what I predicted in my original writing.

"I am putting 'Dance with the Duncan Foundation' at the top of my list of things to do in my career. I had already planned to eventually (hopefully in a year) move to New York." 

September 10, 2015 I moved to New York, 533 days later from my predication. This is by far my greatest accomplishment, the second was when I was invited to start rehearsing with the dance company I moved here for; it was not the foundation I initially intended. Dancing with the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation fell away from my sights, when I crossed paths with two women at the Isadora Duncan International Symposium in Chicago June 2015. Catherine Gallant and Loretta Thomas showed me their contemporary philosophies on the Duncan lineage, and it spoke to me. Catherine is the Artistic Director of Dances by Isadora and Loretta of Moving Visions Dance. They devoted their research in this work to making it more relevant to the 21st century and attracting younger generations. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity, right time and place, to move to New York a few months later and stay in contact with these women to continue to dance with them.

"I do not just want to flounder around in the dance world doing small, basic things. I need to find bigger things to study. The Duncan technique is going to be one of those big things."

I would like to take the opportunity to correct myself regarding this statement and clarify that "doing small, basic things" is not worded the best way, nor does this invalidate other professionals who have a variety of different projects on their resume; I actually commend those dancers for their versatility. I find humor within this statement because I was deeply caught in the passion that I had found in this style. This statement still holds true in my career choice, but as with all things there are a few downsides with this path. Unfortunately, there is not a consistent amount of performances or rehearsals that feeds my soul of performing; opportunities must be sought elsewhere. However, I would not change my mind and I still stand strongly with my declaration that the Duncan technique is "one of those big things" and the deep satisfaction that I receive in my dance career and life is unparalleled.

"It is safe to say that Isadora was very colorful in her life. She was free and did exactly what she wanted."

The idea of living a 'colorful' life is a monumental notion for me and this simple thought, yet so complex, sums up how Isadora and her work influence my dancing, my choreographing, and how I experience life. She was free and did exactly what she wanted, just as all the dancers and artists following her did, and still do.

Cover photo courtesy Noel Valero