Isadora Duncan is considered to be the creator of modern dance. She was born in the U.S. but lived most of her life in Europe and the Soviet Union. Isadora died in one of the most freakish auto accidents I’ve ever heard of, her fondness for long scarves being the cause, and giving rise to the mordant remark by Gertrude Stein that “affectations can be dangerous.”
On the night of September 14, 1921, Duncan was a passenger in the automobile of handsome French-Italian mechanic Benoit Falchetto. Before getting into the car, she reportedly said to Mary Desti and her friends, “Adieu, mes amis. Je vais a la gloire!” (Good-bye, my friends. I am off to glory!) or she may have said, “Je vais a lamour.” (I am off to love). Who really knows?
Either way, when they drove off, Duncan’s long, long scarf, a gift from Mary Desti, and wrapped around Isadora’s neck, became entangled around one of the vehicle’s open-spoked wheels and rear axle.
New York Times obit quote: “Isadora Duncan, the American Dancer, tonight met a tragic death at Nice on the Riviera. According to dispatches from Nice, Miss Duncan was hurled in an extraordinary manner from an open automobile in which she was riding and instantly killed by the force of her fall to the stone pavement.” Other sources describe her death as resulting from strangulation, noting that she was almost decapitated by the sudden tightening of the scarf around her neck.
Which leads this Wit to wonder: How the hell long was that scarf?
She is buried at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Carl Sandburg in his poem Isadora Duncan wrote:
The sea and the moon? I am the sea and the moon.
Tears, pain, love, bird-flights?
I am all of them.
I dance what I am.
Sin, prayer, flight,
the light that never was on land or sea?
I dance what I am.”
Story source: Wikipedia