It has been said that ballet puts a premium on technique, but that Duncan dance has little, if any, technique. This is not true.
Duncan dance actually has strong technique. Much time is devoted to learning technique. Duncan dancers are trained to move in a particular way. As Julia Levien recalled of her own training, “Your knee must be turned out. Your hips must be thrust forward. Your breathing must be in certain cadence. Nothing was left to chance.” One must have strong and flexible ankles, mobility of the pelvis, and fluidity of the arms.
The difference between ballet and Duncan dance is that, in ballet, the audience is supposed to see the technique. The technique and the style become one. In Duncan dance -- when performed properly -- the technique is invisible. As Isadora wrote, technique is a means rather than an end in itself. Technique functions as a support for style. Hortense Kooluris put it simply, “If you can see the technique, it is not Duncan dance.” Duncan dance appears free flowing, natural, and spontaneous (a style based upon classical Greek art), but it is only long practice with the underlying technique that allows it to do so.
" To dance is to live.
What I want is a school of life,
for our greatest riches are in our soul,
in our imagination .. our riches here
on earth are in our will, our inner life."
Duncan Dance Principles. Duncan dance is free-flowing and appears spontaneous; has a sense of energy and grace that radiates from the solar plexus; reflects the rhythms of nature; is danced to the great classical music; and is a state of mind as much as a style of movement.