The Creative Process

Attention Dance History Nerds: This Dancer Makes Stunning Mobiles Based on Labanotation Scores

Jordan Isadore with one of his mobiles. Photo via Instagram

I've been a fan of Jordan Isadore's for about a decade. His gorgeous, spine-contorting renditions of Christopher Williams' repertory are legendary, and for many years I had the privilege of making dances with him and producing his works through DanceNOW[NYC].

Over the last year or so, as he began winding down his performance career, Isadore began making odd, phenomenal objects: dribs of Labanotation scores rendered as hung mobiles, gorgeously crafted in stained glass and metal. The designs are stunning, imbued simultaneously with a hipster-nonsense contemporaneousness and reverence for dance history.

I spoke with Isadore about his retirement from the stage, and transition to crafting full time.


Retire? But why?!

I've been thinking of retiring for a while. I kept getting work and opportunities that I "couldn't" pass up, even though I haven't ultimately been fulfilled by performing, touring or any of the other things that come with being a freelance dancer.

In a way, the choice was made for me when it became clear that my grandparents needed some extra support, and I was the just the person to offer it. I now live in my hometown of Grass Valley, California, and take care of my grandparents full time. I have a small work table in their garage to work on my mobiles.

How did you get into making mobiles?

My best friend was pregnant and I proposed making one as a baby shower gift. I have a crafty mother with experience in stained glass (not to mention all the tools to go along with it) and she gave me a tutorial on cutting, foiling and soldering. I've learned a lot through trial and error. I started using magnets to attach pieces to the base for easy assembly and disassembly, and copper tubes to add stability and capacity for movement.

These things are gorgeous, and *super* nerdy. Can you tell me about your use of Labanotation in your designs? 

I was first introduced to Labanotation in college, and thought it was a beautiful art form all its own. When thinking about my dance career—and how to transition from performing—I looked at my Pinterest boards and saw all these geometric shapes showing up in home decor and design. I thought Labanotation resonated with the trends. I love that Labanotation is a hieroglyphic that stands for a three dimensional movement, and I wanted to find ways take dance recorded using Labanotation and return it to its kinetic origin through stained glass and mixed metals. The mobile's own movements generates glimmers of the original notation, while creating new dances with each rotation.

What does the next year or two look like for you?

Ideally, I'll transition from Brooklyn hipster into a mountain man that only wears denim, has french braids and makes his own cheese. I'll continue creating mobiles, but start moving into larger works, taking full sections (if not entire pieces) of choreography and recreate them as 20 foot-long mobiles.

Where can folks follow you and learn more about your work? 

To find out more about the mobiles and see pictures of finished pieces, people can visit my website, jordanisadore.com. To see how the mobiles are made, some lip sync videos, as well as millennial self portraits, people can visit my instagram, @jordanisadore.

Dance on Broadway
Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown

If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.

Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.

Keep reading... Show less
What Dancers Eat
Lindsay Thomas

Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.

So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?

Keep reading... Show less
News
Simon Soong, Courtesy DDT

When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox