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Hello from Boston and Moscow!


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Hi! My name is Annie. I'm a dance and music historian, and also a blogger (I blog under the title the Itinerant Balletomane). I'm living in Moscow this spring and summer for research, so I'm seeing a lot of the Bolshoi and the Stanislavsky these days. I'm new here (obviously) and I really look forward to chatting with everyone about the world of ballet.

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Thanks for the kind welcome! I'm writing a dissertation on the first ballet tours between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War - so the Bolshoi traveling to the US and ABT and NYCB traveling to the USSR.

Welcome and what an interesting topic, Swanilda8. I'm glad you're writing about it and I agree, it would be a very important read. We've come across the subject in a number of memoirs and biographies, most notably, Taper's biography of Balanchine and others regarding the NYCB tour to Russia. And Maya Plisetskaya talks about the Bolshoi tours in her memoir, although she was barred from touring in the first tours, I think, despite her fame. Those Bolshoi dancers were practically starved on those tours. Sinful.

I hope you'll share some of your experiences in Russia with us. ~ Karen

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Important subject about which we understand far too little. I'm curious how much interaction the visiting dancers had with non-governmental people while abroad and how many KGB agents were "embedded" with the Soviet troupes. Now that the archives of the secret police have been (at least partially) opened up to scholars, there might be some really interesting tidbits there!

And I hope you look at the export of ballet films by the Soviets in the 50s to smaller American cities. I don't know if the U.S. government had anything comparable to send in exchange.

For Ballet Alert-ers interested in the issues, Naima Prevots has a book, Dance for Export, on a related topic that might be of interest (be sure to order it through the Amazon box on this site):


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Thanks! Hopefully, my thesis will be a book one day, but that day is probably many years in the future. Prevots' book is very good. Clare Croft has also done some excellent work on NYCB's 1962 tour. She hasn't published it as a book yet, but there's an article available, and her dissertation is on ProQuest, for anyone who can access that.

It's all very interesting stuff- a lot of intense emotions and hard work. And audiences in both the Soviet Union and the United States (but especially the US) just went crazy for the dancers.

As for sharing my Moscow experiences, I just saw Swan Lake on Thursday (and reviewed it here: http://itinerantballetomane.blogspot.com/2013/05/russian-swans.html). It wasn't the cast I would have picked, but that's one of the dangers of going to the ballet here: I have to buy tickets about two months in advance, and they don't publish the cast list until 2-4 weeks before the production.

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It wasn’t helped that the Siegfried I saw, Ruslan Skvortsev, while a technically superb dancer, is a pretty bad actor. He ended the ballet looking more like he’d lost his favorite umbrella than the love of his life.
Loved this line in your review!
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It wasn’t helped that the Siegfried I saw, Ruslan Skvortsev, while a technically superb dancer, is a pretty bad actor. He ended the ballet looking more like he’d lost his favorite umbrella than the love of his life.
Loved this line in your review!

ouch indeed!

Your research topic is extra-juicy -- you will have a fun time with it! I'm sure you've already read deMille's journals about the ABT tour to Russia, but for some of the other denizens here, she traveled with the company to Russia on tour, and her observations were reprinted in the (sadly extinct) journal Dance Perspectives. (you can sometimes find a print run of DP in university library collections)

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This is just a footnote in followup to Jane's comment dated 26 May 2013: In the spring of 1993 I met with the late Vera Krasovskaia, one of the most prolific and revered Soviet/Russian ballet critics and historians, at her cottage at Komarova outside of St. Petersburg. I had gone to see her about my research on the ballet librettos of Aleksei Remizov, but somehow the conversation turned toward Oklahoma where I live. I was greatly surprised that someone as well-read as Krasovskaia did not know Agnes Demille, had never heard about DeMille dream ballet from Oklahoma, nor read Dance to the Piper or And Promenade Home (although Krasovskaia read and spoke English). Then again, not so surprising. The iron curtain was not just a military or political phenomenon, but even more essentially an information barrier.

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I'm jealous that you were able to meet Krasovskaia - what an opportunity. I have to say I'm surprised that she hadn't seen de Mille's work, since American Ballet Theatre performed Rodeo in 1960 and Fall River Legend in 1966 while on tour in the Soviet Union. I believe that the movie of Oklahoma! was also played in theaters in the USSR.

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