Love Story: Isadora Duncan and Sergei Yesenin

Love Story: Isadora Duncan and Sergei Yesenin

She was a world famous dancer, a wealthy American, a socialite. He was a Russian poet, an uncouth but honest and open rebel. America, Europe and Soviet Russia witnessed their passion. What could bring such different people together?

‘The Divine Barefoot Dancer’

Isadora Duncan - the harbinger of the modern and authentic dance - was the first to reject the classical canons and performed barefoot. Her talent, hard work and absolute confidence in her vocation allowed her to rise to unprecedented heights and recognition. People admired her dancing and were inspired by it. She was a muse for creators. The audience adored her. 

The main value is freedom

Freedom was a priority for Isadora Duncan not only in dance, but also in relationships. She fell in love quickly and passionately. Without binding herself to official marriages, the famous dancer gave birth to three children, which was shocking in those days.

All Isadora's children died tragically. She was saved from suicide only by her dance and her students, who supported the founder of the school as best as they could. 

"I'm leaving for the New World!"

In 1921, Duncan travelled to Soviet Russia to fulfill her dreams of free dancing in a free country. At the invitation of the first People's Commissar of Education Lunacharsky, she was supposed to open a dance school for the Soviet children.

At one of the parties, Isadora was introduced to Sergei Yesenin. According to contemporaries, he had been looking for a meeting with her for several months! They kissed on the very first night, a few days later Sergei moved in with her, they settled in a mansion on Prechistenka. 

A passionate union

But what did they have in common? What passions raged within the union of these talented but so different people? She was 44. He was 26. She adored and patronized him, took care of him, loved him. He took advantage, made scandals, but always returned and confessed his love to her. 

He didn’t speak a single European language; she, knowing English, German and French, spoke Russian badly. “He was reading his poems to me. I didn’t understand a thing, but I could hear that it was music and that these poems were written by a genius,” Isadora said.

They were united by creation - the force that was higher than age and conventions. Natural poetry was close to Yesenin, natural dance was close to Duncan. Most of all, they both appreciated the absolute sincerity, openness and self-expression. 

Travel in Europe and America

This couple aroused interest. Their travels in Europe and the United States left a lot of evidence and hundreds of newspaper articles. Indeed, the world-famous dancer returned from the young country of the Soviets with a Russian poet who became her husband. They were greeted with enthusiasm.

During their foreign tour, Yesenin and Isadora were performing, working, creating. They met with friends and famous compatriots. Participated in scandals, including political ones. Finally, they were strongly requested to leave America.

Sergei was experiencing fits of melancholy alternating with outbursts of anger more and more often. Isadora reacted eccentrically to his behavior, making scenes. 

Farewell to love

When they returned to Russia, Duncan said: "Well, I brought this child back home, but I have nothing more to do with him." Nevertheless, she loved Sergei and was doing everything to stay close to him. He answered: "I love you, but I won't live with you ..."

Their relationship was over. Only those closest to her knew how much she missed him. In 1924, Isadora left Russia. In 1925, Yesenin committed suicide. 

Farewell to life

Isadora Duncan outlived her lover by a year and a half. After the news of his death, she tried to "go to sea for good" but was rescued. In September 1927, in Nice, she began writing the second volume of her memoirs. Isadora wanted to talk about the three years she had spent in Russia - the happiest and most fruitful years. 

Two days after she started writing the book, her life ended, tragically and accidentally. The end of the red scarf, casually draped around her neck, got into the wheel of the car she was riding. Death was instantaneous.

 These two talented people - Isadora Duncan and Sergei Yesenin - had short, bright and eventful lives. His legacy is the hundreds of poems we read; her work and biography are studied in schools and universities. Her legacy is free dance, thousands of students and followers, and a crater on Venus named after her - Duncan.