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Review by Toni Bentley on front page of NY Times Book Review"Ballet's Magic Kingdom," by Akim Volynsky


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#16 atm711

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 04:38 PM

Well, I have my copy of the book...I am not too far into it --only 1912---and I am already doubting his views. He has little vision in appreciating Fokine. I struggle with his description of 'Chopiniana'

"Chopiniana is a charming miniature.....But I don't see any new directions here.......This is the same classical dancing that has been around for centuries"

I wonder what century he is talking about. So far, I am in Balanchine's camp when he said:

"There was a famous critic in Petersburg, his name was Akim Volynsky, I knew him well. He was drawn to ballerinas and created a whole ballet theory out of it: that in ballet eroticism is the most important thing....he described how big the thighs of his favorites were".

No wonder---in 'Chopiniana' the thighs are covered. :unsure:

#17 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:14 PM

In the summer of the following year, she and Vera Trefilova decided to travel to Milan to study with Caterina Beretta the teacher of Pierina Legnani, to strengthen their execution, especially pirouettes and fouettes sur le pointe. This indomitable pair made they same journey the following year to study again with Beretta.



There is a delightful section in "Theater Street" of Karsavina's studies with Beretta. She went for the same reason as Pavlova -- to improve her strength and stamina.

Did Volynsky later establish a (short-lived) school for arts?

#18 rg

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 06:23 AM

Rabinowitz's intro. to BALLET'S MAGIC KINGDOM and Meinertz's VERA VOLKOVA both include details about Volynsky's school.
Vaganova taught there before moving to the state (former imperial) school of ballet in the twenties, where, we all know she made her name.

#19 innopac

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 01:15 AM

According to Alexander Meinertz in his book on Vera Volkova, Akim Volynsky's School of Russian Ballet had on its staff Nikolai Legat, Olga Preobrazhenskaya, Maria Romanova and Agrippina Vaganova. Students at the school included Volkova, Alexander Pushkin and Ulanova.

#20 dirac

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:21 PM

Well, I have my copy of the book...I am not too far into it --only 1912---and I am already doubting his views. He has little vision in appreciating Fokine.


Doesn't say much for his judgment, does it?

#21 rg

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:46 PM

the erudite and ballet-loving Andre Levinson likewise had little use for Fokine at this time. Ditto Balanchine.
it's interesting to read these champions of classicism warn against the 'realism' of Fokine and/or the 'experiments' of Balanchivadze, etc.

#22 Quiggin

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 09:06 AM

Balanchine in his Tchaikovsky interviews says

Fokine invented curved lines in ballet. He also invented the ensemble in ballet. Forkine took a small ensemble and made up interesting strange things for it...But he was mean, always cursing.


Danilova says that Fokine had been a god in Russia, "the most original, the most modern choreographer. But for those of us who had worked with Balanchine, Fokine seemed old fashioned."

#23 Hans

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 01:51 PM

Fokine invented curved lines in ballet? What was Balanchine smoking?

#24 canbelto

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:02 AM

I got this book downloaded to my new iPad. It's valuable for its first hand accounts of how some legendary dancers actually danced. Volynsky is also obviously culturally erudite. He's an intelligent writer. At the same time I can't actually say I took much joy from reading him. His overuse of some metaphors (plantlike being perhaps the worst) is irritating. And every writer has a voice. Volynskys voice is prudish, snobby, and a bit creepy. His account of reducing Tamara Karsavina to tears because of his anti-Fokine rants made me cringe. The fact that he recalls it without the slightest bit of remorse says a lot about his character.


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