A film by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller
Film Review by Leland Windreich - October 2005
The motion picture has always been an ally to the art of ballet and often serves as its most effective propagandist. Witness the success of “The Red Shoes” which introduced millions of film-goers to the romantic milieu of a Russian ballet company. Or “The Turning Point”, a movie idealizing the physicality of ballet, which sent thousands of young people into ballet studios all over the world.
When Art Dances: The Dance of the Avant-Gardes Exhibition
By Rosella Simonari - April 21, 2006, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rovereto and Trento (MART), Rovereto, Italy
Two big women with whitish tunics and loose dark hair hold hands and run through a beach. They are the two immense figures painted in the large curtain for “Le Train Bleu”, a ballet created by Bronislava Nijinska in 1924. The curtain is a copy of a painting by Picasso, and it was made by Prince Shervashidze. It was so well done that Picasso himself decided to write the following statement in a corner: “Dedie a Diaghilev. Picasso” [dedicated to Diaghilev. Picasso].
Kirov Ballet - All-Fokine Program: 'Chopiniana', 'Scheherezade', 'Firebird'
By Catherine Pawlick - November 10, 2005, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia
The deep royal blue curtain, embroidered with “Les Saisons Russes,” returned to the Mariinsky stage Thursday night as the company performed their all-Fokine program to a less-than full but nonetheless appreciative house.
Irina: Ballet, Life and Loves
Book review by Leland Windreich - January 2006
Irina Baronova, the youngest of the celebrated three baby ballerinas who captivated audiences world-wide in the 1930s with the tours of the Ballets Russes, retired to Byron Bay, Australia in recent years. Neither Tamara Toumanova, who died in 1991, nor Tatiana Riabouchinska, who lived until 2000, ever considered telling the story of their brilliant careers.
Alicia Markova 1910-2004
By By Leland Windreich - December 2004
One of the great ballerinas of the 20th century died in a nursing home in Bath, England, on December 2, 2004, the day following her 94th birthday. She had recently been hospitalized for a stroke. Alicia Markova was the last surviving dancer from Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, the fabled company that brought ballet from Tsarist Russia to the West and flourished there from 1909 until the death of its director in 1929. Her participation in this brilliant epoch enabled Markova to begin a remarkable career in which she was instrumental in establishing ballet as a popular institution in Great Britain and the United States.
Kirov Ballet - Fokine Evening: 'Spectre de la Rose', 'The Dying Swan', 'Polovtsian Dances', 'Scheherazade'
By Catherine Pawlick - May 22, 2005,- Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia
With Diaghilev's moor-decorated lettering, "Les Saisons Russes" was sewn onto the second main curtain of the Mariinsky Theatre last night, for an evening of Fokine which displayed the famous choreographer's ability to use classical ballet technique as a starting point for creative expression.
Leonide Massine and the 20th Century Ballet by Leslie Norton
Book review by Leland Windreich - August 2004
In a year that features centennial celebrations for George Balanchine and Frederick Ashton, Leslie Norton pays homage to their nearly forgotten peer, Leonide Massine, in a lively and well-researched study of his life, career and works of choreography. Massine was the most popular and revered of the 20th century ballet makers for nearly three decades following the First World War, thriving in an era in which Balanchine and Ashton were struggling novices. Today he is all but forgotten, with only a few of his hundreds of creations still being performed.
Cincinnati and the Ballet Russe
By Leland Windreich - October 18, 2002, Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Cincinnati Ballet celebrated its 40th anniversary in October with a tribute to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, the company that brought a first glimpse of ballet to nearly 100 cities and towns in North America in 1938 and continued to enchant its new audiences until its demise in 1962. World War II deprived the Ballet Russe of its headquarters in Monte Carlo, and as the itinerant troupe criss-crossed the nation, it vastly influenced the development of ballet education and of regional companies in many of the cities it visited.
Prokofiev's Ballets for Diaghilev, by Stephen D. Press
Book Review by Leland Windreich - June 2006
Stephen D. Press is a musicologist, currently a professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and his book, with its long sections of analyses of Prokofiev's scores for the ballet, might at first intimidate the average reader of books on ballet. But he writes in a genial and friendly style in his telling of the sixteen-year association of composer Sergei Prokofiev and the celebrated ballet impresario, Sergei Diaghilev, and the first half of the book is full of scintillating accounts of the relationships of the artistic factions that thrived during the post-war era in Paris.
Royal Ballet - 'Celebrating Diaghilev'
By Cassandra - May 15, 2004, Royal Opera House, London
With the anniversaries of the births this year of Balanchine and Ashton both being celebrated in style, the Royal Ballet is also acknowledging the seventy-five years since the death of Serge Diaghilev (only pointe pioneer Marie Taglioni, born 200 years ago misses out in the memorial junketing stakes).
Kirov Ballet - 'Chopiniana', 'Scheherezade', 'Firebird'
By Catherine Pawlick - July 17, 2006, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia
Few ballerinas can claim a wide range of dramatic ability, a fact that lends credence to the system of type casting. Especially in Soviet times, dancers were often pegged as danseur noble, soubrette, lyrical ballerina, or otherwise, quite early in their careers, and were often unable to extract themselves from these narrow slots, despite personal preferences or hidden talents.
George Balanchine: Ballet Master, A Centennial Exhibition
By Jeff Kuo - April 16, 2004, PALM, Veterans Building, San Francisco
Though choreographed decades earlier, Balanchine often seems timeless. Who doesn't feel at least a little thrill at the big finale of "Symphony in C" or the barest urge to salute after the patriotic kitsch of "Stars and Stripes"? Yet sometimes I wonder if Balanchine's timelessness makes it too easy, especially for those of us who missed the Balanchine era, to forget that his ballets were in fact resolutely tied to period and circumstance. The current exhibition on Balanchine at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum can help us remember.
Hamburg Ballet - Nijinsky as Text
By Jeff Kuo - February 13, 2004, Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, California
Simply stated, John Neumeier's biography ballet, "Nijinsky," is not for the casual ballet goer. Almost every choreographic sequence of "Nijinsky" is woven through with references to the canon of early modern ballet and fin de siecle culture: the homosexual subtext of "Spectre de la rose," the coded erotica of "Jeux," the savagery of the Paris beau monde – in Neumeier's conception, these intertextual references coalesce around the public and private fantasy that is Nijinsky.
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