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


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#16 Catherine

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 11:50 AM

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.

#17 leonid17

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 01:28 PM

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.

#18 Catherine

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 01:52 PM

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.

#19 bart

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 05:22 PM

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.



#20 innopac

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 06:53 PM

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.

#21 bart

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 07:23 PM

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.

#22 Catherine

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 07:30 PM

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...

#23 Paul Parish

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Posted 22 November 2009 - 11:15 PM

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.



#24 leonid17

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 02:27 AM

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.

#25 innopac

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 03:23 AM

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.

#26 Alexandra

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:42 AM

Or just starving them to death by inattention :)

#27 Catherine

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 09:20 AM

But surely governments, past and present, have an extremely significant influence on creative artists and areas of cultural expression...


Yes, absolutely.

#28 bart

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 10:10 AM

Another topic that ought to be turned into a book: the history of Cuban ballet, tied in inevitably with the career of the Alonsos. The potential of this topic (these topics?) came up during a conversation I had with Cristian after a Miami City Ballet performance in West Palm Beach.

What a story this is! It has strong, fascinating personalities (Alicia Alonso, of course, but others as well). It has the potential to tell us something about how one-party states and command economies, operating sustained isolation from the rest of the world, function when it comes to defining "public art."

The story also has the Cuban School, which has produced some of the most important and successful dancers in the word. Uniquely in the contemporary world, this story focuses on classical ballet, preserved in versions of the classics that have, in some cases, almost disappeared elsewhere.

Most significant might be the result: a system, unique in the world, in which ballet is genuinely a "popular art."

One book? Heck -- there are several books here. Why haven't they been written?

#29 innopac

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 11:42 AM

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?


For a future book my vote is for a biography of a Russian dancer or choreographer. And I hope, Catherine, when you complete what you are working on right now you will tell us :huh: Fingers crossed it will be in English.

#30 Catherine

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 11:47 AM

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?


For a future book my vote is for a biography of a Russian dancer or choreographer. And I hope, Catherine, when you complete what you are working on right now you will tell us :huh: Fingers crossed it will be in English.


Innopac, your wish, on both accounts, will be coming true. (If all goes well, twice). After the new year I would love to give more details :-).

And absolutely, the book is in English. My Russian is fluent but it's not the kind of language that you write in as a native English speaker -- I could study it my whole life and English will always be stronger...! Still, there's a goal for you, but life is too short, and there are other goals that take precedence :-).


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