For my bachelor thesis I chose Ballets Russes as a topic for my paper and I found things that I thought it would be nice to share.
To get a whole picture and better understanding of cultural historical development at the turn of the century and early 20th century I acquired a fair amount of literature with the focus on Fin de siècle - and Belle Époque period. Although my main subject was Ballets Russes, I also got to know more about cultural history of France. While searching materials for my thesis, I noticed that the materials I needed, were scattered and different disciplines offering their contribution to the subject. It makes sense because I have always considered ballet as an interdisciplinary subject. On the side I found a few interesting titles covering also ballet in France late 19th and early 20th c.
Caddy, Davinia. The Ballets Russes and Beyond: Music and Dance in Belle-époque Paris. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012
- Somewhat critical rethinking of Ballets Russes. Also a chapter on the state of French ballet before the war - "Ballet at the Opera and La fête chez thérèse"
- Italian ballerinas showed virtuosic and technical skills, but critics noted the lack of art-dimension
Karthas, Ilyana. When Ballet Became French: Modern Ballet and the Cultural Politics of France, 1909-1939. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015.
-The reasearch's focus was on cultural history, cultural politics and dance history in early 20th c. I thought the book was an excellent work and methodologically consistent
Karthas' work focused on the cultural exchange between Russia and France in early 20th century and the influence of Ballets Russes and their eventual effects on POB estabelishment, and finally with the effort of Lifar, how it was turned back as a state funded institution. Basically, in order to get state funding, ballet dance had to be proven as a viable expressive art form for republican France.
Parisian music-hall ballet, 1871-1913 By Gutsche-Miller, Sarah
-Interesting book that covers ballets performed in music halls.
-Tries to argue that before Ballets Russes, ballet was already popular in France, that's why Ballets Russes had such a receptive audiences already in France. I have several problems with the hypothesis of book, but the book is informative.
-My impression I got from music-halls ballets is that they are considered low-class, popular among the masses and definitely not high art.
-I remember how Homans mentioned the subject shortly in her Apollo's Angels but essentially ignored it.
In addition I read an extensive amount of secondary literature that did not cover ballet, but instead covered cultural and political setting of Fin de siècle and Belle Époque period that I found very informative. Books that covered theatre culture, city history, cultural politics were helpful and added social and cultural context to the subject.