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PeggyR

Karsavina and Sokolova

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Thank you, PeggyR, these clips are fascinating.
I received a copy of Scheijen's biography of Diaghilev for Christmas and I hope to begin it soon.

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These two clips come from a two part documentary that John Drummond made for the BBC for the long defunct arts programme Omnibus. The documentary was shown in 1969 and has not been disinterred from the vaults since then. In order to make the programme Drummond interviewed twenty former Diaghilev dancers; the interviews were published in book form in Speaking of Diaghilev published by Faber and Faber. I would recommend reading this book as it gives you the chance to get an idea of what it was like to be part of the Diaghilev enterprise at first hand.

Both Karsavina and Sokolova tried their hand at autobiography. Karsavina's Theatre Street is an account of her training and early career;written in idiosyncratic English it provides a vivid picture of the pre-revolutionary, pre-Vaganova world of Russian ballet.Dancing for Diaghilev ;the Memoirs of Lydia Sokolova provides an eyewitness account of the Diaghilev company written by a non Russian. Sokolova,born Hilda Munnings in Leytonstone East London and renamed by Diaghilev ,created a number of roles including the Chosen Maiden in Massine's Rite of Spring and one of the sporty types in Le Train Bleu. She also famously described the Little Red Ridinghood variation as the most boring variation in ballet. Her book gives an insight into the operation of the company up to its collapse on Diaghilev's death. Both books are well worth reading. Both Karsavina and Sokolova appear in the ICA DVD of the BBC's recordings of Les Sylphides and Giselle. Karsavina introduces Les Sylphides,danced by Markova, Elvin and Beriosova while Sokolova who coached the corps in this work appears in Giselle as Giselle's mother. The other indispensable book for those interested in Karsavina is Tamara Karsavina; Diaghilev's Ballerina by Andrew Foster which is full of finely reproduced photographs from Russian archives.

Another important autobiography that should be read by anyone interested in Nijinsky and the Diaghilev company is the autobiography of Bronislava Nijinska. Finally while Richard Buckle's books on Nijinsky and Diaghilev are dated I think that they are worth reading alongside more recent scholarship, Buckle may not have been able to read Russian or have access to archives that are now open to scholars but he had met and had spoken to a lot of people who had been involved in the operation of the Ballets Russes and had been eyewitnesses its impact on the West.

that it had on the West.

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What Ashton Fan said.

I love Theater Street -- it's such a wonderful view into a dance world that still affects our own.

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These two clips come from a two part documentary that John Drummond made for the BBC for the long defunct arts programme Omnibus. The documentary was shown in 1969 and has not been disinterred from the vaults since then. In order to make the programme Drummond interviewed twenty former Diaghilev dancers; the interviews were published in book form in Speaking of Diaghilev published by Faber and Faber. I would recommend reading this book as it gives you the chance to get an idea of what it was like to be part of the Diaghilev enterprise at first hand.

Both Karsavina and Sokolova tried their hand at autobiography. Karsavina's Theatre Street is an account of her training and early career;written in idiosyncratic English it provides a vivid picture of the pre-revolutionary, pre-Vaganova world of Russian ballet.Dancing for Diaghilev ;the Memoirs of Lydia Sokolova provides an eyewitness account of the Diaghilev company written by a non Russian. Sokolova,born Hilda Munnings in Leytonstone East London and renamed by Diaghilev ,created a number of roles including the Chosen Maiden in Massine's Rite of Spring and one of the sporty types in Le Train Bleu. She also famously described the Little Red Ridinghood variation as the most boring variation in ballet. Her book gives an insight into the operation of the company up to its collapse on Diaghilev's death. Both books are well worth reading. Both Karsavina and Sokolova appear in the ICA DVD of the BBC's recordings of Les Sylphides and Giselle. Karsavina introduces Les Sylphides,danced by Markova, Elvin and Beriosova while Sokolova who coached the corps in this work appears in Giselle as Giselle's mother. The other indispensable book for those interested in Karsavina is Tamara Karsavina; Diaghilev's Ballerina by Andrew Foster which is full of finely reproduced photographs from Russian archives.

Another important autobiography that should be read by anyone interested in Nijinsky and the Diaghilev company is the autobiography of Bronislava Nijinska. Finally while Richard Buckle's books on Nijinsky and Diaghilev are dated I think that they are worth reading alongside more recent scholarship, Buckle may not have been able to read Russian or have access to archives that are now open to scholars but he had met and had spoken to a lot of people who had been involved in the operation of the Ballets Russes and had been eyewitnesses its impact on the West.

Thank you for the great reading suggestions, AshtonFan; much appreciated. I just ordered Madame Karsavina's book and I already have Dancing for Diaghilev, although haven't read it yet - I'm woefully behind blushing.gif I also have the BBC Les Sylphides and isn't Madame wonderful in her introduction! She's poetic and well, heartbreaking. A time gone forever.

While I have many of the books on Balanchine, I don't have Richard Buckle's and I'm happy to have your input on these other tomes. ~ Karen

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What wonderful footage! There's a spontaneity about Karsavina's speech that just never comes across in the sound recordings. Her thoughts about nostalgia for her homeland listening to Petrouchka - the last ballet she ever performed for Diaghilev - are so poignant.

Lovely, too, to watch Sokolova, whose memory, as in her written memoirs, is clear and exact. Notice that she still refers to Rambert as Ramberg, the name she had used in 1913.

Many thanks for sharing this.

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Karsavina's brother was exiled from Russia by Lenin....

Quote from The Philosophy Steamer: Lenin and the Exile of the Intelligentsia by Lesley Chamberlain, page 114

Lev Karsavin had what could only be called a bizarre experience face to face with his interrogator. His sister Tamara, already world-famous as a ballet dancer, recalled the story he told her when they re-met 'after years of separation'.

He told me of an incident that had happened during his prison days. In the night he was awakened and summoned before the Cheka. These nocturnal examinations were particularly ominous and my brother had incurred their special wrath. The Commissar was stern; he put before my brother one of the incriminating points. 'You are in correspondence with abroad. Who are your correspondents?' 'My sister.' 'What's her name?' 'Same as mine. Karsavina.' 'You are the brother of Karsavina!' The Commissar veered round in his revolving chair. 'Giselle is her best part, don't you think?' 'I can't agree with you,' said my brother. 'I consider the Firebird one of her finest achievements.' 'Oh, do you?' The conversation wandered on to the principles and aims of the art; the prosecution was forgotten. 'Won't you write to your sister?' asked the Commissar at parting. 'Tell her to come back. Tell her she will be received with honours.' My brother's sentence was to be exiled with all his family, the government paying all the expenses.

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Fascinating! thank you for that quote, innopac!

-d-

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