Catherine

What book about ballet do you want to see in print?

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I'm just curious, as I work on a manuscript right now, what most people would like to read about that is not already out there. Nureyev and the entire Diaghilev era seem quite well covered. How interested are people in reading detailed biographies of other Russian dancers that haven't been published yet in English? Or in specific trends in Russian ballet? (I ask about Russia as it is my personal area of interest and focus but it could be any geographical area or person or company). Is there something that hasn't been written about and you think should be?

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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Good question,, Catherine! I think the most basic book that's missing, in English, is a biography of Petipa. It astounds me that therre isn't one. (One could imagine at least six books on Petipa, but I'll be happy with a biography.)

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Are there any serious biographies of Petipa in Russian -- or ANY non-English language for that matter? I'm thinking of something that combines familiarity with the works, the life, and the social context. I would think that there would be a serious international market for such a work.

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Are there any serious biographies of Petipa in Russian -- or ANY non-English language for that matter? I'm thinking of something that combines familiarity with the works, the life, and the social context. I would think that there would be a serious international market for such a work.

Hmmm... Interesting. The only thing I've found related to this is something that Lynn Garafola apparently translated:

http://openlibrary.org/b/OL22366970M/diari...f_Marius_Petipa.

However I've never seen it on sale anywhere; and Amazon does not carry it. There are some German source materials and French of Petipa's diaries. And, from what I found at the Theatrical LIbrary (in St Petersburg), there are TONS of Russian-language source materials, and quite likely more than a few about Petipa, although probably not his own since his Russian was questionable at best... OK I like this idea.

Anyone else? :-)

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Re Petipa, I think what you've referenced is a translation of about 2 years of his diary, when he was an old, old man.

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Alexandra, I think you're right, I don't think it is comprehensive.

I just found this on Amazon, which was apparently published in June of this year in its first paperback version:

Russian Ballet Master: the Memoirs of Marius Petipa by Marius Petipa, Lillian Moore, and Helen Whitaker (Paperback - Jun 22, 2009)

http://www.amazon.com/Russian-Ballet-Maste...5474&sr=8-1.

I've never heard of Whitaker before, so I have no idea about the quality of the translation.

I'm curious about this now as well: you would think that by this time we would have LONG ago had a full English edition of his memoirs or diaries or even a thorough biography in English... If there isn't a source out there, I'm willing to do the work and get it done :-)....

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Catherine, I read those memoires this summer and loved them. They've been around for ages (I think the original publication date was 1969, but that's ffrom memory and my book is at school), but I had never run across them until the reissue. You really get a sense of Petipa as a young man, a bit of a braggard, and good storyteller. Lillian Moore's notes make necessary corrections and amendations. It's nice, but not a full biography.

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I would like to read a book on the Soviet era dance world.

Now that it's over and some of the key players are dead perhaps we could get a true and intimate accounting?

We know of some artists who suffered under that regime, how many more suffered that we don't know about? Who cooperated and advanced in their career? It sounds like a complicated byzantine web and I think it would be fascinating to read about.

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Thanks Alexandra - it sounds like a worthwhile read. But also like a thorough compendium is still missing. THat is what so suprised me when I finally hit the library in St. Petersburg -- all these articles that Americans (or Europeans) have never seen translated. Just a wealth of information, truly. And why? The wall has been down for more than a decade now, and even under the Communist regime people did enter/exit the country. A visa is a matter of money at this point, nothing more. It just surprises me that this sort of thing hasn't already been covered several times over.

Thanks perky. That is an era of great interest to me as well! :-)

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Are there any serious biographies of Petipa in Russian -- or ANY non-English language for that matter? I'm thinking of something that combines familiarity with the works, the life, and the social context. I would think that there would be a serious international market for such a work.

Hmmm... Interesting. The only thing I've found related to this is something that Lynn Garafola apparently translated:

http://openlibrary.org/b/OL22366970M/diari...f_Marius_Petipa.

However I've never seen it on sale anywhere; and Amazon does not carry it. There are some German source materials and French of Petipa's diaries. And, from what I found at the Theatrical LIbrary (in St Petersburg), there are TONS of Russian-language source materials, and quite likely more than a few about Petipa, although probably not his own since his Russian was questionable at best... OK I like this idea.

Anyone else? :-)

I have tried a host of second hand and antiquarian bookshops with no luck. I suggest for anyone interested that they put in a request for it via their local library assuming that it is a participants in a larger library system.

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I would like to read a book on the Soviet era dance world.

Now that it's over and some of the key players are dead perhaps we could get a true and intimate accounting?

We know of some artists who suffered under that regime, how many more suffered that we don't know about? Who cooperated and advanced in their career? It sounds like a complicated byzantine web and I think it would be fascinating to read about.

That would be a fascinating project. And very daunting, I imagine. The current Russian government seems to have put a lock on some of the Soviet archival material that was open during the initial thaw. Would that attitude also cover cultural "politics," I wonder?

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What information has been locked, Leonid? That has not been an issue these past 5 yrs for me...

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Are there any serious biographies of Petipa in Russian -- or ANY non-English language for that matter? I'm thinking of something that combines familiarity with the works, the life, and the social context. I would think that there would be a serious international market for such a work.

From Roland John Wiley's website:

Interests and Current Research

Wiley's research interests are Russian music and ballet within the context of 19th-century music; his current projects are a life and works of Tchaikovsky and a study of the choreographer Marius Petipa.

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Thanks Innopac. It looks like the topic may be covered. I suppose this will be another book -- Or maybe a long, scholarly journal article? It would be super to know the planned publication date, but I realize he probably doesnt know that himself if still researching it.

I wonder too, if his focus is really music, how much he will get into the ballet side of Petipa. You could discuss choreography as it relates to music, without getting into too much about choreography as it relates to other choreography from the era, or choreographic developments. In other words, it could be less ballet-related than some of the previous posters might desire. Depends what angle he will take with his work.

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What information has been locked, Leonid? That has not been an issue these past 5 yrs for me...

I think you mis-read my post. I said luck not lock.

Publications by senior distinguished Russian academics of 19th and 20th century St.Petersburg ballet that have been published in the last 20 years, good as they are, all have large gaps in details and context presumably because they were not able to access all records.

I have read two biographies of Nijinsky and Pavlova published in Russia recently, that have gaps in information and errors which I would suggest are both due to lack of familiarity with their subjects and access to material that only western authors and academics have had.

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Did you edit that post after the fact? I believe you'd mentioned something about locked information towards the people doing the research in your initial post.

In any case, I have found in my own research sometimes the Russians are not as accurate as they might be. The era you speak of is quite long ago as well, so it may also be an issue of what records do exist. The library itself is very poorly kept -- I have consulted volumes from as far back as 1910 that are held in rooms that are not temperature-controlled, so those books are exposed to the extreme humidity year-round and the uber dry heat of the radiators (in bookcases where the glass panels are often missing). I think the availability isn't an issue of politics -- Russian govt has bigger fish to fry than Nijinsky, certainly -- but of resources. Also in terms of the Diaghilev era, I would think it quite likely that the bulk of information about Nijinsky is not housed in Russia but in Paris or elsewhere, countries/cities where the troupe spent much of its time.

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Catherine, I believe that I am the one who used the word "lock."

The current Russian government seems to have put a lock on some of the Soviet archival material that was open during the initial thaw.

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What information has been locked, Leonid? That has not been an issue these past 5 yrs for me...

Perhaps Bart was referring to news items like the arrest of the Russian historian Mikhail Suprun.

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Thanks, innopac, for that link. I was thinking of actions just like this -- though I admit most have not been as dramatic.

Research into "cultural" activities is probably not as threatening to the current government as Professor Shurin's research into the gulags for prisoners of war. Many serious political topics -- Stalin's collectivization policy, Party purges, Soviet espionage, or the Non-Aggression Pact with Nazi Germany -- are currently discouraged in Russia. But the line between "politics" and "culture" isn't carved in stone. Censorship, alas, has a way of spreading.

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My apologies! I confused what you, bart, said with what I thought leonid has said. Apologies leonid!

Anyway - true, I dont think this has touched the area of ballet (at least in my experience -- and I don't research historical politics, only cultural issues). But like you said, politics is another story, certainly "hard core" politics like Stalin's purges. Strangely though, on that topic, Medvedev recently announced something about the purges. It was in the news a few weeks back and I don't now recall details bc I skimmed over it. But it was something about recognizing the fact the purges happened (?) I think? It is just on the edge of my memory... I will see if i can find it...

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Perky, the first volume of that exists - -Soviet Choreographers, by Elizabeth Souritz (trans Lynn Visson) deals with the choreographers of hte 20s, GOrsky, Goleizovsky, and Lopukhov --it's terrific, and it sets the stage for what's to come, It's probbly more exciting, artistically, than hte era to come -- less, Byzantine, the artists had a lot more freedom to HAVE ideas and expound them. That book, together with Krassovskaya's book about Vaganova, who was not jus a teacher but a figure in the politics of ballet and the creation of hte heroic Soviet style, will give you something to hold onto while waiting for Lavrovsky, Jakobson, and Grigorovitch.

I would like to read a book on the Soviet era dance world.

Now that it's over and some of the key players are dead perhaps we could get a true and intimate accounting?

We know of some artists who suffered under that regime, how many more suffered that we don't know about? Who cooperated and advanced in their career? It sounds like a complicated byzantine web and I think it would be fascinating to read about.

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My apologies! I confused what you, bart, said with what I thought leonid has said. Apologies leonid!

Thats fine Catherine. Its fairly easy for this to happen in the welter of views being presented.

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Anyway - true, I dont think this has touched the area of ballet (at least in my experience -- and I don't research historical politics, only cultural issues). But like you said, politics is another story, certainly "hard core" politics like Stalin's purges.

But surely governments, past and present, have an extremely significant influence on creative artists and areas of cultural expression... examples of governmental rulings range from death to government grants. Many authors don't touch on the social/political aspects of their subjects because they are from necessity concentrating their view but these wider issues still exist.

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