Elizabeth Duncan (1871-1948)

Eldest daughter of Mary Dora and Joseph Duncan. By 1884 /Elizabeth is teaching ballroom dance. In 1899 all the Duncan family travel to London. Elizabeth returns to New York in order to support the family by teaching dance. 1902/1903 - funded by Isadora's success the family travel to Greece to build a Temple of the Arts. In 1904 they buy the Villa Grunewald in Berlin to establish 'a school of free dance', run as a free boarding school for 20 pupils. Elizabeth is the primary pedagogue. By 1906, due to the strain of funding needed from Isadora for both the 'Temple' in Athens and the school in Berlin, Elizabeth has to find a way to maintain the school herself. 1908/1909 Isadora moves the school to Neuilly in Paris and Elizabeth establishes a school in Marienhohe, opening in 1911. 1914 six of the oldest pupils from the Elizabeth school (Anna, Irma, Lisa, Maria Theresa, Margot and Gretl) move to the new school of Isadora at Muedon (Bellevue) in Paris to become the teachers. When war breaks out these 6 pupils along with Elizabeth and 9 of her pupils travel first to Oldway Mansion in Paignton, England (estate of Paris Singer) and then to America. 1915 branch schools established in New York which are later taught by Gertrud Drück and Anita Zahn. 1921 to 1924 Elizabeth Duncan School relocates to Potsdam. 1925 the Elizabeth Duncan School establishes itself in Klessheim near Salzburg until 1935. During periods 1930/1931 the Elizabeth Duncan School located near Paris. In 1935 the Elizabeth Duncan School moved to Munich until 1943 when it moved to Austria until 1945. When Elizabeth Duncan dies in 1948, Gertrude Druck runs the school until 1968 when Hannelore Schick becomes head of the school in Munich. Since Hannelore Schick's death the school continues under the co-operative leading of Astrid, Angela, Marion and Aribert.

Elizabeth Duncan Biography please reference ‘Isadora and Elizabeth Duncan in Germany’ Deutches Tanzarchiv Koln, edited by Frank - Manuel Peter 2000. ISBN 3-87909-645-7.


Drawings and photos of Elizabeth's schools in Darmstadt and Salzburg; photos of Elizabeth

Related items in the Archives

The Collection of Joanna Gewertz Harris > Other > Elizabeth Duncan New York School Announcement — 1926/1927

The Collection of Joanna Gewertz Harris > Other > Elizabeth Duncan N.Y. School Exhibition Announcement

The Collection of Barbara Kane > Other > Duncan Dance Newsletter 2 The Elizabeth Duncan School — 1992

Related references

Catalogue of an exhibition of paintings and sculptures representing The dance in modern art. Arranged by S. Bourgeois. With an essay by Sheldon Cheney. At the Elizabeth Duncan School, Tarrytown, N.Y., from May 26th to June 23rd, 1918.