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I was reading this interesting dissertation about Balanchine's early choreography (http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/servlets/MCRFileNodeServlet/FUDISS_derivate_000000007745/Early_Life_and_Works_of_George_Balanchine.pdf?hosts=) by Elizabeth Kattner-Ulrich, and she mentions that Kasyan Goleizovsky was an early influence on Balanchine.

I becme curious, and dug up some youtube clips of his choreography from about 1960:

For 1960, it seems kind of dated to me, but the choreographer had been shut off from the west, and perhaps from choreographing for many years, and was at this point nearly 70. If I had seen choreography like this back in the twenties, I think it would have been very different from the Petipa of the Imperial Theater. I wonder how similar it is to Goleizovsky's early work?

More info: http://www.answers.com/topic/kasyan-goleizovsky

Have any of us seen his work on stage in person?

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Another bio. http://persona.rin.ru/eng/view/f/0/35788/goleizovsky-kasian-yaroslavovych

"Since the mid 1930's, when the official ideology proclaimed the formal quest 'formalism', Goleizovsky rarely able to work in Moscow (except athletic performances parades on Red Square). The interest in folklore led him to Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, where he raised a series of performances and participated in the preparation of decades of national art: his best work - Tajik ballet Du Ghoul "(music by A. Lenski, 1941). Ability to return to the Bolshoi Theater has arisen only in the 1960."

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Elizabeth Souritz' book, Soviet choreographers in the 1920s (Duke University Press, 1990), translated from Russian, is one of the best sources of information on Kas'ian IAroslavich Goleizovskii and his contemporaries and influences.

dance historian Sally Banes, who worked on translating Souritz's work, has also published a number of studies of the period that include a focus on Goleizovsky.

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The Souritz is indeed a great resource for this, as well as a view of the general dance world in Russia when Balanchine was a rising choreographer. I've always understood Goleizovsky to be working in a gymnastic style, as influenced by circus arts as by theatrical dance. This is a time when many people were experimenting with movement in performing arts (like Dalcroze and Delsarte) as well as semi-dance movement practices in public activity (like Swedish gymnastics)

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From Sjeng Scheijen, Diaghilev: a Life:

Later to become famous as George Balanchine, the twenty-year-old from Petersburg was already a talented dancer, with a passion for choreography. He worshiped Kasyan Goleyzovsky, a modernist choreographer "whose main aim was the achievement of sculptural effects, for which he was wont almost to denude his dancers of all clothing."

The story of "Leili and Medzhum" (Amy's second clip) is interesting all on its own, having its origins in 7th-century Arabia, and moving to 13th century Persia and later to what is now Azerbaijan. Goleizovsky seems to have been one of those Russian artists fascinated by the glamour and exoticism of the Caucusus region and Persia. (Some of the gestural style reminded me of bits of Fokine's Scheherazade, The man's part, in particular suggests something Valentino might have done in a 1920s silent film.

I was interested to read, on Wikipedia, that L&M -- a tragic story of young lovers thwarted by their families, resulting in separation and death -- has been compared to Romeo and Juliet. The music was by a teacher at the Moscow Conservatory, S.A. Balasanyan, whose name suggests he came from Armenia.

Based on that clip, danced in practice clothes, you can almost imagine something by Balanchine, who would of course have omitted the overt emotionalism.

L&M was first performed in 1964. The year prior to that, Balanchine had choreographed his own quite different but even more striking example of orientalism -- Buguku.


Googling also turned up a Azerbaijani opera about these lovers (1908) which is said to have had more than 10,000 performances in the Russia and the now-independent republics to the south.

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a ballet seemingly closely linked to L&M is Grigorovich's 1961 LEGEND OF LOVE, which tho' first shown earlier and intended as a showcase for Rudolf Nureyev, may be a kind of inspiration for LoL. Grigorovich has, if mem. serves, noted Goleizovsky as an important influence, so whether or not L&M was in the works (or workshop form) earlier than its '64 full-scale premiere, is a question that might be worth asking.

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