ballet, repression, and the soviet union?
Posted 16 October 2002 - 02:48 PM
Posted 16 October 2002 - 08:45 PM
Posted 17 October 2002 - 02:26 AM
Posted 17 October 2002 - 11:13 AM
Posted 17 October 2002 - 05:19 PM
Karl Marx on Taxation: "Civil servants and priests, soldiers and ballet-dancers, schoolmasters and police constables, Greek museums and Gothic steeples, civil list and services list-the common seed within which all these fabulous beings slumber in embryo is taxation."
24. Khachaturian: Ballet Music: The Soviet composer Khachaturian, of Armenian extraction, won particular fame for his ballet scores. Gayane was first staged in 1942 and subsequent productions have introduced variants into the basic story. Set on a collective farm in Armenia, it deals, in outline, with the drama of the peasant girl of the title, her cruel treatment and later rescue by a gallant leader of a Red Army group. The wedding of hero and heroine provides a scene for varied regional dances, including the well-known Kurdish Sabre Dance. The ballet Spartacus takes as its hero the leader of the slave rebellion against Rome in the first century B.C. It may be recalled that Karl Marx regarded Spartacus as the first great proletarian hero, who had, after all, nothing to lose but his chains. There is a lyrical celebration of the love of the hero and his beloved Phrygia and various characteristic dances, introduced in part as entertainment for the Roman general Crassus, who, historically, later met his death in Armenia. The Naxos issue of ballet music by Khachaturian also includes incidental music for Lermontov's play Masquerade, with its series of dances.
'Grigorovich could only benefit from the fact that when he and Khachaturian were creating the ballet, the figure of Spartacus was serving as a kind of double agent in the former U.S.S.R. On the one hand, the Communist leaders endorsed him as the ultimate worker-hero (Karl Marx called him "the true representative of the proletarian of antiquity").'
Posted 18 October 2002 - 06:29 AM
"Between Heaven and Hell....The story of a thousand years of artistic life in Russia" by W. Bruce Lincoln is a great read and a good resource to give you a perspective. The chapter on Socialist Realism applies to your paper. The index backs up Mel's observation; in a 500 page discussion of art and repression in Russia there is not a single reference to Karl Marx! So I guess you might want to examine how Lenin and Stalin distorted the Marx, although if your teacher is looking for an indictment of Marx that's probably what you should give her.
Ballet at the time of the revolution was the showpiece of Russian culture, in part because Russia's brilliant literature did not export well to European languages and print. It was a major conduit for conveying the artistic enthusiasm and idealism that infused the revolution. How ironic that the real realists were Diaghilev and Balanchine and the many dancers who knew enough to flee the realities of Social Realism! By the time Stalin was in charge novels had to be dumbed down to what a factory worker could read after shovelling coal for 12 hours. Sort of like cable TV come to think of it.
Here's what I think: great art is a gift of God to individuals in a vital social context. For my money there is no greater metaphor for this process, or tool to carry it on, than ballet. Societies that either decide that there is no God or that only the supreme rulers are in touch with the divine inevitably destroy themselves.
Posted 18 October 2002 - 07:51 AM
Posted 18 October 2002 - 08:16 AM
Posted 16 December 2002 - 03:35 AM
Posted 16 December 2002 - 05:50 AM
PS. All I know about Lunacharsky comes from a study of the Russian Civil War of the early twenties.
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