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posted by Emily Ancona on Monday, Jul 30, 2012
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“To dance is to live. What I want is a school of life.” These famous words belong to Isadora Duncan, one woman who changed the world of the dance with her visionary approach to movement. In light of National Dance Day this past Saturday, the United States Post Office just released a series of postage stamps depicting Duncan and three other dance legends with their Innovative Choreographers series. Illustrated by James McMullan, the stamps have a vintage feel and pay tribute to the unique qualities that distinguish these four icons.
Against watercolor backgrounds, the four artists take center stage. The Duncan stamp is a portrait of the freedom-loving woman embracing the natural world. José Limón, who paved the way for men in modern dance, assumes a stance that radiates strength and struggle. Katherine Dunham, dancer/choreographer and social activist, is shown in the cultural fusion that she pioneered. And Bob Fosse looks as American as apple pie in his blue jeans and white shirt, striking a signature jazzy pose with his cane and top hat. (You can almost see his influence on Michael Jackson.)
The stamps are Forever stamps, meaning that they will always be valid postage even as prices of first-class stamps increase over time. Maybe the series will inspire dancers to send actual, touchable letters through the mail instead of email, facebook, and twitter. At least for birthdays. —Emily Ancona