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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

August 01, 1993|KAREN STABINER

THE SEARCH FOR ISADORA by Lillian Loewenthal. (Princeton Book Co.: $26.95 , 225 pp.) Lillian Loewenthal fell in love with dancer Isadora Duncan in 1928, when the 11-year-old Loewenthal saw a Manhattan performance of Duncan's Russian dancers--and this book, her first, is the result of a 65-year-old magnificent obsession. The author, who has lectured on Duncan for years, and owns an extensive collection of memorabilia, is mesmerized by the revolutionary dancer, and by her legend, which survives to this day. She offers detailed information, not only on Duncan, but on her adopted disciples, dubbed the Isadorables. This is not history so much as it is a meticulously researched homage. At times the admiring prose is cloying, and one wishes for a little more emotional distance between subject and author. But Loewenthal's descriptions of the dancers, their posture, their slightest gesture, are crystalline, accessible even to the reader who knows little about dance, and the illustrations, many of them sketches of Duncan, are exquisite. The book is really more about the author's relationship to Duncan and her legacy than it is a traditional biography.

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