Isadora Duncan

The Mother of Dance
Birth Name:
Angela Isadora Duncan
Birth Date:
May 26, 1877
Birth Place:
San Francisco, California
Death Date:
September 14, 1927
Place of Death:
Hotel Negresco, Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France
Cause of Death:
Ligature strangulation
Cemetery Name:
Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Claim to Fame:
Show Business
Known as the Mother of Dance, Isadora Duncan was an American dancer and choreographer, who was a pioneer of modern contemporary dance, who performed to great acclaim throughout Europe and the US. Born and raised in California, she lived and danced in Western Europe, the US and the Soviet Union from the age of 22 until her death at age 50 when her scarf became entangled in the wheel and axle of the car in which she was travelling in Nice, France.


On the night of September 14, 1927, in Nice, France, Duncan was a passenger in an Amilcar CGSS automobile owned by Benoît Falchetto, a French-Italian mechanic. She wore a long, flowing, hand-painted silk scarf, created by the Russian-born artist Roman Chatov, a gift from her friend Mary Desti. Desti, who saw Duncan off, had asked her to wear a cape in the open-air vehicle because of the cold weather, but she would agree to wear only the scarf. As they departed, she reportedly said “Je vais à l’amour” (“I am off to love”). Her silk scarf, draped around her neck, became entangled around the open-spoked wheels and rear axle, pulling her from the open car and breaking her neck and spine. Desti said she called out to warn Duncan about the scarf almost immediately after the car left. Desti took Duncan to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

In medicine, the Isadora Duncan Syndrome refers to injury or death consequent to entanglement of neckwear with a wheel or other machinery.

There is only one film that exists of Isadora Duncan’s dancing. It is a few seconds of footage of a recital given outdoors in an open space.

The last of Isadora’s children dancer Maria-Theresa Duncan, who danced with her mother for nearly two decades, died in 1987 at the age of 92.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Cimetière du Père Lachaise

16 Rue du Repos, 6ème division, Chemin Lesseps

Paris, , 75020




Map of Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris, France
Map of Cimetière du Père Lachaise in Paris, France

Grave Location:

Division 87, Niche 6796

Grave Location Description

The Mother of Dance Isadora Duncan can be found on Avenue Transversale No. 2 on the outside wall of the Columbarium du Père Lachaise (Division 87) across from Division 44 on the bottom row about 200 feet from the intersection of Avenue Aguado. Isadora is located on the bottom row and her two children, Deirdre and Patrick, who perished when their car plunged into the River Seine are buried three rows above their mother.

Grave Location GPS

48.862458166748404, 2.3954220644181894

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