In Done into Dance: Isadora Duncan in America, Ann Daly writes that Isadora Duncan defined her dance as high art, and describes how Duncan raised the dance from the bottom of the cultural landscape to the top of American society:
Dancing was considered cheap, so she associated herself with the great Greeks, who deemed the art noble, and she associated herself with upper-class audiences by carefully courting her patrons and selecting her performance venues. Dancing was considered mindless, so she invoked a pantheon of great minds, from Darwin to Whitman and Plato to Nietzsche, to prove otherwise. Dancing was considered feminine, and thus trivial, so she chose her liaisons and mentors—men whose cultural or economic power accrued, by association, to her. Dancing was considered profane, so she elevated her own practice by contrasting it to that of “African primitives.” The fundamental strategy of Duncan's project to gain cultural legitimacy for dancing was one of exclusion. (Daly 1995, 16)
Samuel N. Dorf is a lecturer in music at the University of Dayton. He received his Ph.D. in musicology at Northwestern University. His dissertation, titled “Listening Between the Classical and the Sensual: Neoclassicism in Parisian Music and Dance Culture, 1870–1935,” focused on the nexus of music and dance in the performance of Greek antiquity. He has published on representations of Sappho in fin-de-siècle Parisian opera and ballet, and is currently guest editing a special issue of the journal Opera Quarterly on performances of antiquity. He has been invited to give papers on Greek antiquity and dance at Harvard University's centennial celebration of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and McGill's “Dialogues en mouvement/Moving Dialogues: Music and Dance” symposium.