Life in gardens: dance!

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It’s the first day of the last month of summer.

In observance of this moment, you might want to put on something gauzy, go outdoors, and cavort {gambol, caper, dance, frisk, frolic, rollick, romp, leap and skip about playfully} — as many were apparently wont to do in the first decades of the 20th century.

These performers were certainly influenced by American dancer Isadora Duncan, who, by 1900, was performing and teaching a “natural” modern dance. “With free-flowing costumes, bare feet, and loose hair, she took to the stage inspired by the ancient Greeks, the music of classical composers, the wind and the sea,” according to the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation.

All photos here via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, except for “Sisters of the Sun,” which is via Shorpy.

What mattered in Isadora’s Hellenic dances was not the Greek themes or the gauzy costumes, but the uninhibited vitality, the sense of a glorious nakedness.”

— Lewis Mumford, 1905

Vintage landscape: brick walk

genthe autochrome, steps, via LoC
“Women on the steps of a multi-story white building with dark timbering,” between 1906 and 1942 (I think before 1920), an autochrome by Arnold Genthe, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The small size of the digital copy of this image makes it difficult to be sure whether the walk areas are brick (like the steps). But I believe they are. (They could be something like decomposed granite.) I love how the tree has been preserved as part of the space.