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The conservative revolution: the Bolshoi archives

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The conservative revolution: the Bolshoi archives

Author: Sporton, Gregory

Source: Scene, Volume 1, Number 1, 15 December 2012 , pp. 85-98(14)

Abstract:

One of the great cultural mysteries of the twentieth century is how a radical new form of government would come to be represented in cultural terms by an art form so associated with its conservative predecessor. From Imperial Russia to the Soviet Union, ballet managed to survive a transition that was both creative and political. In this essay the reinvention of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow from Tsarist to Bolshevik is discovered through the archive materials of the Bolshoi itself. What were the dynamics that encouraged experimentation that of itself was then defined as failure precisely because of its experimental nature? What was the formula that enabled the Bolshoi to represent the Soviet Union despite its representation of an aristocratic past that the Revolution had swept away? In a society where everything is politicized, how does ballet contribute to the polity? From the threat of closure in the new regime's first days, through radical attempts to depict the proletariat in ballet action, to the descent into the creative stasis of socialist realism, we trace the path of ballet in the early Soviet period and its struggle to reform itself and represent the new society around it.

http://www.ingentaco...000001/art00006

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One of the great cultural mysteries of the twentieth century is how a radical new form of government would come to be represented in cultural terms by an art form so associated with its conservative predecessor.

Thanks, innopac. I've often wondered about this -- not only the "how" of it, but also the "why." I looked forward to reading the article but-- @ $18.00 for a download -- this goes a little beyond my budget in the "idle curiosity" category. Has anyone read the article?

If anyone would like to start a discussion thread on this topic, please feel free to do it here. If necessary, we can change the title, or even move the thread, later on.

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This may be quite an interesting resource.

I found an archive covering a wide range of articles etc @

http://www.ingentaco...1=tka&x=28&y=29

This is an awesome resource. If I start reading the articles, I will have to stop doing everything else. They sound fascinating!

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It looks like this is published in a new journal which may be one of the reasons it seems to be more difficult than I expected to access the article. Gregory Sporton has also written two articles: "Power as Nostalgia: the Bolshoi Ballet in the New Russia" and "The Ballet called 'Siegfried': the enigmatic Prince of Swan Lake". Sporton is an ex-dancer -- from his website...

"1985-1994 Professional dance career performing with companies and in independent projects across a large variety of forms and contexts. Work included spells with English National Opera, Nexus Dance Company, Human Veins Dance Theatre, Het Muziektheater, Opera Restor’d, Small Axe Dance Company and more"

https://drg.backpack...7068#previously

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Sounds like a fascinating resource of primary materials.

The subject of how ballet was "saved" and he Soviet style was born was given a very serious treatment in Soviet Choreographers in the 1920s by the great Russian critic, Elizabeth Souritz; new materials will shed new light on details, but the map of the territory is there. Souritz was deeply learned, and had a great mind. Wonderful book.

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The conservative revolution: the Bolshoi archives

Author: Sporton, Gregory

Source: Scene, Volume 1, Number 1, 15 December 2012 , pp. 85-98(14)

Abstract:

One of the great cultural mysteries of the twentieth century is how a radical new form of government would come to be represented in cultural terms by an art form so associated with its conservative predecessor. What was the formula that enabled the Bolshoi to represent the Soviet Union despite its representation of an aristocratic past that the Revolution had swept away?

There is the old theory that the "revolutionary" class' ultimate/non spoken desire is to imitate and eventually clon its predecessor.

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I can't really tell from the abstract -- does this new article have access to materials that Souritz did not?

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