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“Ballet Magazine” 129110,
Moscow, Prospect Mira #52-1 Tel./fax:
this issue | Short
N 3  May-June
The Ballet Scenogram column presents a renewal of old traditions that inspire our contemporaries to new discoveries. “On May 29, 1913, the opening of The Rite of Spring: Scenes from the Pagan Rus, took place in Paris. The libretto is by Igor Stravinsky and Nicholas Roerich, the choreography, by Waslaw Nijinsky. N. Androsov, Artistic Director of the Moscow Russian Seasons Ensemble, caught up this idea like a relay baton. He did not deviate from the original conception but aspired to rethink it from the standpoint of a new stage in history. The choreographer does not strive for ingenuity. He is ingenious in the very essence of his thought. Androsov did not replicate Nijinsky but having studied all the materials used his performing technique. Here’s an example of delicate handling of our country’s cultural heritage.”
The second article in the column, A New Era of the Delfic Games, relates of the origin and development of this ancient agon. “One can say without even a shadow of doubt that the Games were established by Apollo (the Pythian) in honor of his victory over the treacherous dragon Python. Another unquestionable fact is that in the ancient times the Games were called Pythian.” The detailed exploration of ancient history concludes with an announcement of the Second Delfic Games for Youth which are to take place in the Republic of Moldova from September 25 until October 1, 2004. Participants of this grand event will be the countries of the Commonwealth. Then, in 2005, the Third Delphic Games of the Commonwealth will take place in Ukraine.
The Ballet Time column presents a narrative of Russian balls by Nina Dementieva. “It used to be a special culture of social dance, which was never isolated from the social lifestyle, from the society’s ethics, customs, etiquette. One must not forget also that this culture had for its entire history been influenced by national choreographic folk lore.”
The young czar Peter the 1st,who had just returned from a travel abroad, drastically reformed the patriarchal Rus, whose entire lifestyle was defined by the Domostroi. One of the first steps in a European enculturation of Russia was the czar’s Edict of Assemblies. It was just those “Peter’s assemblies” that became the first Russian balls.
The writer gives a fascinating account of regularly conducted balls that all men, both nobility and civil servants, and even shipwrights, where obliged to attend with their wives and children. Members of high society began to learn intensively how to dance, and they never ceased doing that until the very end of the 19th century. Instructors were commissioned from Europe, and a course in ball dancing was made a mandatory curriculum at many exclusive schools. The readers will find here information about first dance schools in Russia and famed ball dance teachers.
After the death of Peter the Great the assemblies ceased to exist, but the traditions of ball were never discontinued. The writer goes on to relay of the luxury and magnificence of the balls at the Empress Anna Ioannovna’s time, when on the tables of the ball salons there appeared, besides chess and checkers, playing cards. She talks about the ballroom fashions and ingenious inventions for which the Empress herself and her friends were famous. “[The empress] Elizaveta Petrovna made balls and masquerades mandatory for all those invited to them, and she conducted them no less than twice a week. Not only were people having good time at the balls, but important state affairs and issues were often decided there too.”
Under Catherine the Great balls have become even more magnificent and picturesque. Twenty rooms in the Winter Palace were dedicated to them.
The Empress usually appeared at a ball around 7pm; she would sit down to play cards, and around 11 o’clock would retire.
The opening dance usually was the minuet followed by the Polish and the country dances. Under Paul the 1st the dances remained the same, except in the beginning all the guests invariably danced the Russian dance. The inquiring readers will find out when the waltz was banned, when this “indecent” dance was re-established again; they will learn about the arcane language of the fan and many other things that comprised the notion of “ballroom etiquette”…
The Inform-Ballet column is a patchwork of various materials:
- Larissa Abyzova informs of a debut of the young ballerina Eugenia Obraztsova in La Sylfide;
- Vladimir Kolobovnikov introduces the Deluche’s film Violette and Mister B, which was shown at the Bolshoy Theater;
- One of the sketches relates of the Dagestan State Dance Ensemble, of its history and today’s life;
- Valeri Ivanov’s article Samara’s Privilege is dedicated to the 7th Alla Shelest Ballet Festival and to the latest premieres of the Samara ballet;
- Ludmila Vasilieva informs of the Soul of Dance award winner Nicholai Ivanovich Zaikin. “Happy is this man: with him is the cause of his entire life, his poetry – Russian folk dance”;
- Participants of the Russia-wide refresher seminar Classical Dance Training Techniques at the Lower Choreographic Schools which took place at the State Choreography Academy in Moscow, share their problems and professional experience;
- A sketch A Crystal Slipper for the Permian Princesses by E. Pinaeva, teacher at the Perm’ Oblast’ College of Arts and Culture, is a history of the traditional Perm’ district’s festival of the choreographic departments of children’s art schools;
- “In four years from now a theater-town will stand here”, assuredly claim the authors of an article about the activities of a new branch of the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts which was created as an autonomous department two years ago in Khanty-Mansiysk.
The Ballet World column presents different authors’ impressions of foreign troupes’ performances.
First of all the American impressions. A major part of his article An American Party Pavel Yashchenkov dedicated to history. He tells how the American ballet theater evolved from small troupes and studios of Russian dancers who flocked America in the 1920’s. In the second half of the 20th century the American ballet assumed one of the leading positions in the world (primarily the American Ballet Theater and New York City Ballet). “That’s why Russian ballet lovers had so eagerly awaited the arrival of the American artists for the gala-concert All Stars of New York, or, Diamonds of the American Ballet.” The author goes on to offer his own evaluation of the contemporary state of the American ballet.
The German diary opens with Tatiana Ratobylskaya’s article about the premiere of Nefes at Pina Bausch’s Wuppertahl Dance Theater. The thorough description of the performance, the analysis of its origins, and the evaluation of the performers’ work lead to this general conclusion: “The recent productions of Pina Bausch are reminiscent rather of a pop-show than of a dance theater which she herself once invented.”
Elena Solominskaya from Dusseldorf relates of Requiem staged by Boris Eifman with the ballet troupe of the Essen’s Aalto-theater. “Barely had the thunderous applause to the premiere of the Karamasov Brothers subsided, but the Theater’s director Martin Puttke offered the St.-Petersburg’s choreographer a new joint project. Requiem carries on the theme of the soul’s glorious resurrection which concludes the Karamasovs. Requiem begins and ends with the prayer: ‘O Lord, grant them rest eternal. And may the light eternal shine upon them,’ and presents itself as a circle of life and death, their unification in the nature of eternity.”
Anna Grutsynova, who wrote about the Sachsa Waltz’s Theater, didn’t have to travel to Germany. In the framework of the Days of Berlin in Moscow, the Sachsa Waltz’s Dance Theater showed the Moscow audiences its production The Body. “The production’s director rejects the standard view of the human being as a combination of body and soul, and gives preference to body… The production, its shocking influence on the audience notwithstanding, creates an impression of the Bosch’s infernal fantasies incarnate on stage, blended with eerie science fiction foretelling an ominous future of the mankind.”
An eyewitness of the three-week-long triumphant performing tour of the Bolshoy Theater in Paris, Victor Ignatov, minutely and intriguingly relates of its program, which includes the last three year’s productions: Swan Lake, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, and A Clear Brook.
Who attended the Paris opera (Garnier) during the Russian performances; which dancers won most acclaim; what kind of significance the Bolshoy’s visit has had for the French capital’s cultural life — all these topics are discussed by the author, who backs his own opinions with quotations from Paris mass media. As a “curtain line” of the publication the readers can acquaint themselves with an interview that director of the Paris ballet troupe Brigitte Lefevre gave specially for the Ballet magazine.
Nights for ‘PAS DE DEUX’ is a sketch by Alexander Maksov concerning the first Gala International de Danzà in Uruguay. In addition to Uruguayan dancers, taking part in the grand concert were those from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, and… Russia.
“Her name, therefore, was Tatiana…” is a review by Vita Petrova of the spectacle Tatiana, shown at the Novaya Opera theater by the Japanese troupe Chambre West. That is a Japanese interpretation of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. “Unfortunately, the task of showing ‘an encyclopedia of the Russian life’ [as the critic Belinsky dubbed Onegin] proved beyond the Japanese artists’ abilities… Red knee-boots, backdrop after the manner of old-fashioned pictures of Rus (little birch trees, ponds, a tiny chapel), pseudo-Russian bows appearing in almost every motion – all that seemed brought to the point of grotesque. …However, one may rejoice in the fact that Russian works draw attention of foreign ballet masters.”
The last article in the column relates of the Moscow performances by the Japanese dance troupe H.ART CHAOS. The audiences were shown two productions: An Entreaty to the music of Pyart, Rachmaninoff, and Elgar, and The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, both choreographed by Sakiko Oshima. The keynote of these productions could be denoted by the word taken out of the troupe’s name — “chaos”, a static atmosphere of all works in contemporary dance.
“My death is the death of my body” - this is the way the choreographer herself interprets the Entreaty. “It is a limit of eternity and a final point in time. Nevertheless, the ultimate line drawn by God is today being defined also by people around us.” The Rite of Spring is a story of one sacrifice, it’s a Russian spring — wild and unrestrained. …The contemporary society has reached ‘a spring’ of the 21st century, but this one is also ‘meshed’ with all kinds of sacrifice. A choreographer’s goal is to make a dancer’s body a medium between nature and civilization.”
According to tradition, the magazine announces new books on history and theory of choreography. Among them are the following:
- A reference book Petersburg’s Ballet. 1903-2003 compiled by A. Deghen and I. Stupnikiv. The book opens with two chapters — Russian Ballet Academy and Theaters. The main chapter called Artists. Choreogrphers. Teachers contains unique materials which inform the reader of those to whom belongs the glory of Petersburg-Leningrad’s ballet of the last 100 years. A most valuable is the chapter Ballet Premieres of 1903-2003 which presents an index of all productions born in the city during those 100 years. The book is published by the Baltic Seasons company and is tastefully illustrated.
- The past century had been a time of bright flourish of the art of ballet in many Russian cities. Unfortunately, this subject has been only poorly reflected in ballet literature. This gap is to a certain extend being closed by the book Ural’s Ballet. Its author, Lev Mikhailovich Bobkov, has linked all his life as a dancer and teacher with two cities — Perm’ and Sverdlovsk (Ekaterinburg).
- The remarkable Russian choreographer Feodor Lopukhov conceived his research Depthward Choreography as a sequel to his book Choreographic Secrets Open published in 1972. However, over thirty years had to pass before his work could ‘reach’ its readers. Still, the thoughts conveyed by this heavyweight of our national ballet in this work sound quite up to date. His reflections upon choreographic symphonism and “pseudo-Russian stylistics”, his analysis of staging concepts of The Rite of Spring, his musical and choreographic discourse concerning the mysterious Nutcracker, his dialogues with students concerning choreographer and teacher and tutor – the entire gigantic scope of subjects, questions, problems dealt with in the Lopukhov’s book does indeed lead the reader “depthward choreography”.
- Russian Folk Dance: History and Contemporaneity is a collection of proceedings of the 2nd Russia-wide Scholarly and Practical Conference on Russian Folk Dance. The conference was conducted by the State House of Folk Arts in Vladimir in February of 2003 within the framework of the traditional National Festivities of the T. A. Ustinava Award. Conceived and compiled by T. Purtova, under scholarly editorship by V. Uralskaya.
- “Century after century, multitudes of scientists and scholars of different specialties all over the world have studied cave drawings 12 thousand to 25 thousand years of age, but have never found what the author of this book saw and understood.” Thus reads the foreword to the research Dance and Secrets of Ancient Civilisations by V. Romm. While studying findings of the Novosibirsk archaeologists V. Romm, being himself a professional choreographer, was able to decipher and recreate the stone age man’s dance and to prove that many of its poses and motions correspond to the elements that pertain to the vocabulary of contemporary classical dance.
- The Swiss professor of the Geneva Conservatory Emil Jaques-Dalcrose is one of the patriarchs of contemporary dance. He took interest in the phenomenon of rhythm and got into deep studies of its capabilities of expression, which led the musician to the creation of rhythmic gymnastics and to the opening of the Institute of Rhythm in the outskirts of Dresden. The book Rhythm published in Russian by the Classica XXI publishers is based on the records of his six lectures delivered in Geneva in 1907.
- Round Dances and Country Dances of the Perm’ Distrist by Tatiana Kazarinova is a study guide prepared at the choreography department of the Perm’ Institute of Arts and Culture based on the wealth of materials collected by folklorist expeditions in 1988-91. Descriptions of dances are accompanied by graphic materials and sheet music as well as by photographs.
- The monograph Anna Pavlova. Life and Legend written by her husband and agent Victor Dandre has been published, for the first time in the artist’s motherland, by the Vita Nova company. Its English edition was originally published in London in 1932. The foreword written by Alexander Vasiliev is called A Terpsychore of the Packet-boats. Scholarly editor Alexey Fomkin.