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Sofia Vasilevna Fedorova

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Fedorova II (1897 - 1963) is one of the dancers profiled in THE GREAT RUSSIAN DANCERS by Gennady Smakov. When this book came out in 1984, Fedorova II was one of the lesser known dancers included, as least as far as my own 'outsider' awareness of Russian ballet went.

Smakov's text notes that this artist was known 'even in Russia' to 'only a few ballet historians.'

Since then I've learned a bit more about the Moscow-based dancer who also had a career with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.

I've scanned what I find an especially vivid portrait card of S.V.Fedorova, showing her in some role for A LIFE FOR THE TSAR.

I can't say what role this might. No doubt someone else on BT will know.


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A life for the Tsar is an opera in three acts of which the middle act is almost entirely danced. The second act action takes place in Poland in the palace of a nobleman and in the video version I have of the Bolshoi, it is a mixture of classical and national dancing.

The picture on the portrait card doesn't have her in the lavish ballroom costumes the dancers currently wear, so I can only assume that in the past there was dancing in the other two acts that concern themselves with the patriotism of the Russian peasantry.

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thanks, yes, i was aware that this was glinka's opera, later known as IVAN SUSANIN, & i know well the krakowiak and polonaise dances (mostly in zakharov's choregraphy on film) from the opera. i just can't place this, as you say, non-lavish, 'look' to help identify the character being played by fedorova II.

the card's date is 1916.

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haunting image -- what a glorious profile.

I guess the costume does suggest peasantry, but the face is noble in bone-structure and in expression, and exactly poised on hte border between hte masculine and the feminine.

The photographer must have been a constructivist-sympathizer.

Actually, the shadow is more feminine than the face. i could look at this picture forever.

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i now wonder, after revisiting what smakov included in his commentary about fedorova, if this card might be misidendified as to work. smakov has a good chunk of krasovsksaya text about s.v.f. in LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE, in the role of gypsy. her comments note a gypsy character of fedorova's from this russian-folktale-based ballet, and in her description, krasovskaya notes a kerchief, with loose curls beneath it. so perhaps this protrait documents s.v.f. as this gypsy in LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE and not some dance role from A LIFE FOR THE TSAR.

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