Page 1

book redesign Breanne Fencl visc 414: publication and editorial patrick dooley


research materials


project synopsis Redesign an illustrated book of your own choosing. You will design a cover, title page, table of contents, and 8 typical spreads including at least one chapter opening/divider spread, and 6 – 7 spreads with illustration(s). These spreads must have variety and as a group address all the fundamental problems of the publication. You must also design a special feature (e.g. time line for a history; maps for a travel book) not found in the original book and that grows out of your books subject matter, adding extra value to the book.


day to day notes 1.22- Presented topic of ballet history book. Adding ballet dictionary for supplemental material.

2.21- Snow Day. Final pushed back to 2.27.

1.24- Brought in book analysis. Ballet dictionary terms will be their own seperate side bar. Add famous dancer bios?

2.27- Final complete. Ready for printing and binidng.

1.29- Brought in hand drawn mock-ups of grids and layouts. My group liked the square and landscape layouts the best. They seem to suggest more movement. Will use those for tomorrow’s computer mockups. 1.31- Finalized color scheme. Found a great amount of images and text. Need to find more information for special feature (History of the Pointe Shoe). Going to go with square layout. 2.5- Revised spreads. Brought in type and image palettes. Both are okay. Might need to revise grid. Too much margin at bottom. Use illustrations for definitions. Possibly other places? 2.7- Revised spreads. Make definition own zone. Make it recognizable to the “browser.” Four swans cover got the best response. Consider different placement of title. 2.12- Individual meet up day. Minor revisions needed. Back cover text needs to be shortened. Edit end sheets. 2.14- Binding demonstration. Minor tweaks to spreads. Find papers. Matte would probably be best for subject matter. 2.19- Black fabric for cover works. Need to figure out why cover is bowing in. Study pocket construction.

2.26- Snow Day. Final pushed back to 3.5


analysis Content The two books I chose were Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet and Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet. The first explores the history of the dance form the 1500s to present day. It is beautifully written and is engaging. It has a storytelling approach to telling the history of ballet rather than a straight statement of facts and dates. The second book, a ballet dictionary accurately describes classical ballet steps and positions as well as provides diagrams. I chose these books because ballet is a topic that interests me and I have grown up with it. I have been dancing since I was three and ballet has always been a favorite of mine. The history and technique fascinate me. I also thought it would lend itself to a beautiful illustrated book. Text Parts heads pull quotes captions side bar body Illustrative Parts primary diagram detail texture Audience This book will be geared towards a 20-30 year old woman, who is somewhat experienced in ballet, and is interested in learning the history and technical language of the art form. They have a high school diploma and are in college pursuing a degree.

What is Wrong with the Design as it Currently is in Terms of Audience The books are a bit flat in design. The pages are laid out like a novel with full pages of text. In order to see a picture of what the author is describing, the reader has to flip to a separate section that holds the pictures. The pictures themselves lack order and are just randomly squeezed onto a page. General Approach to its Redesign My approach to this book redesign will be to make it simpler and more engaging to read. It will be a book that is able to read cover to cover as well as accommodate a reader who just wants to browse. The main body of the text will be the history of ballet itself, with sidebars of ballet terms and profiles of different topics. I will also incorporate photos and diagrams with the text to eliminate the constant flipping between text and photo pages. To Suggest: elegance grace precision evolution movement discipline balance passion Definitions: evolution: any process of formation or growth; development elegance: a refinement precision: accuracy; exactness


design development


apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

I

france and the classical origins of ballet

II

light from the east: russian worlds of art

chapter 1 chapter 2 chapter 3 chapter 4 chapter 5 chapter 6

chapter 7 chapter 8 chapter 9 chapter 10 chapter 11 chapter 12

Kings of Dance The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet The French Revolution in Ballet The Rise of the Ballerina Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev Alone in Europe: The British Moment The American Century I: Russian Beginnings The American Century II: The New York Scene

3 49 98 135 176 205

245 290 341 396 448 470

chapter 4

dreams

“Ballets are the

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

We feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song. She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pink-tights-and-toeshoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity—ballet’s first—and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow. More than that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toeshoes-and-tutus ballet we know today.

Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time. She shortened all of her skirts to show off her excellent pointe work, which the long skirts hid.

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

arabesque [a-ra-BESK]

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demi-plié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

B B aryshnikov Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

history of the shoe

ribbons Sewn on by the dancer themselves, the ribbons aid in keeping the shoe on while contstantly changing between en pointe and flat foot.

1832

Marie Taglioni often gets the credit and the blame for being the first to dance on pointe. But no one really knows for sure. It is established that in 1832 Marie Taglioni danced in the full length La Sylphide on pointe.


contents

apollo’s

Angels

I

a history of ballet jennifer homans

II

Ballerina chapter 4

the rise of the

dreams

“Ballets are the

of poets taken seriously.” théophile gautier

[a-ra-BESK]

American the

century i: russian beginnings

It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not much had changed: one critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.” Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spectacles of beautiful girls. This was nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances

Pointe

history of the

shoe

typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater. It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers from

Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville. Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior—Manzocti’s extravaganza and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or violinist is a word to be fought for. ... lincoln kirstein

When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan, Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseballplaying elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was

Kings of Dance The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet The French Revolution in Ballet The Rise of the Ballerina Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

3 49 98 135 176 205

light from the east: russian worlds of art chapter 7 chapter 8 chapter 9 chapter 10 chapter 11 chapter 12

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev Alone in Europe: The British Moment The American Century I: Russian Beginnings The American Century II: The New York Scene

245 290 341 396 448 470

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

arabesque A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demi-plié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

We feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song. She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pink-tights-and-toe-shoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity—ballet’s first—and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow. More than that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-and-tutus ballet we know today.

france and the classical origins of ballet chapter 1 chapter 2 chapter 3 chapter 4 chapter 5 chapter 6

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers—and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by courtiers in similar attire. Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included

life

Dancing is my obsession. My

mikhail baryshnikov

not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria. Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

baryshnikov


apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

Contents

I

france and the classical origins of ballet chapter 1 chapter 2 chapter 3 chapter 4 chapter 5 chapter 6

II

3 49 98 135 176 205

light from the east: russian worlds of art chapter 7 chapter 8 chapter 9 chapter 10 chapter 11 chapter 12

Ballerina

Kings of Dance The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet The French Revolution in Ballet The Rise of the Ballerina Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev Alone in Europe: The British Moment The American Century I: Russian Beginnings The American Century II: The New York Scene

245 290 341 396 448 470

arabesque

chapter 4

the rise of the

[a-ra-BESK]

dreams

“Ballets are the

of poets taken seriously.” théophile gautier

We feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song. She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pink-tights-and-toe-shoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity—ballet’s first—and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow. More than that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-and-tutus ballet we know today.

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demi-plié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions. When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan, Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo top Catherine de Medici bottom Ballet was as much etiquette as art

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers—and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by courtiers in similar attire. Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstra-

history of the

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or violinist is a word to be fought for. ... lincoln kirstein

American the

century i: russian beginnings

It is hardly surprising, then, that in America Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and Europeans for whom it was a second cultural (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) routines, and spectacles of beautiful girls. arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform This was nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera perLa Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps formances typically mixed and matched Mode ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the zart with local popular songs, Shakespeare occasion—were poorly trained and thought with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was nothing of lounging indecorously onstage no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one between steps and dances. Forty years later, early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre not much had changed: one critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of top Angela Paul, Carol-Anne Millar, overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking and Jenny Murphy (left to right, front row), blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly with Artists of Birminglamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.” ham Royal Ballet

Pointe

shoe

and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater. It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville. Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior— Manzocti’s extravaganza and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley.

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

baryshnikov

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented Dancing is my obsession. My themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training

life

mikhail baryshnikov


apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

Ballerina

I

france and the classical origins of ballet

II

light from the east: russian worlds of art

chapter 1 chapter 2 chapter 3 chapter 4 chapter 5 chapter 6

chapter 7 chapter 8 chapter 9 chapter 10 chapter 11 chapter 12

Kings of Dance The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet The French Revolution in Ballet The Rise of the Ballerina Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev Alone in Europe: The British Moment The American Century I: Russian Beginnings The American Century II: The New York Scene

3 49 98 135 176 205

245 290 341 396 448 470

chapter 4

the rise of the

dreams

“Ballets are the

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

We feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song.

Book

i

She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pink-tights-and-toeshoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity—ballet’s first—and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow. More than that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toeshoes-and-tutus ballet we know today.

france and the classical origins of ballet

Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time. She shortened all of her skirts to show off her excellent pointe work, which the long skirts hid.

arabesque [a-ra-BESK]

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demi-plié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan, Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes. The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three

Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers—and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by courtiers in similar attire. Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included a fullscale reenactment of a castle siege and battles between demons, giants, and dwarfs on behalf of six beautiful nymphs in captivity.

top Catherine de Medici bottom Ballet was as much etiquette as art. This painting by Laumosnier depicts a meeting between Louis XIV and Philippe IV in 1659 as a kind of dance: two principals pose in mirror image with Louis’s courtiers gathered like a corps de ballet.

1832

Pointe

history of the

shoe Taglioni wore soft satin slippers that fit like kid gloves. They had a leather sole and some darning on the sides and under, not on, the tip. That’s all. It must have been a lot like standing barefoot. The blocked pointe shoe with a stiff sole as we know it today did not evolve until much later.

It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not much had changed: one critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.” Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows,

Russian beginnings

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or violinist is a word to be fought for. ... lincoln kirstein

The great Russian ballerinas of the day, Kschessinska, Preobrajenska, Karsavina managed in soft Italian shoes, but other dancers and students required more support so in Russia the pointe shoe grew quite hard and stiff. Even today Russian shoes are generally stiffer, and Russian technique calls for “pouncing” onto pointe more than rolling through.

musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spectacles of beautiful girls. This was nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater. It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a

ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville. Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun

entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior—Manzocti’s extravaganza and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley. Anna Pavlova was the illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman. Her father was probably a young Jewish soldier and businessman. When she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed, Anna Pavlova decided to become a dancer, and entered the Imperial Ballet School

Although pointe shoes have evolved in that they have become harder and boxier, their basic construction materials are still antiquated: Leather, burlap, paper, glue and nails. They provide superior suport and alow the dancer to perform the skills of yesterday and the revolutionary tasks of today.

life

Dancing is my obsession. My

baryshnikov mikhail

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

mikhail baryshnikov

Marie Taglioni often gets the credit and the blame for being the first to dance on pointe. But no one really knows for sure. It is established that in 1832 Marie Taglioni danced in the full length La Sylphide on pointe.

1895

The Italian school pushed technique to the limit in order to achieve dazzling virtuosic feats. They also had better shoes. Pierina Legnani was the first to do thirty-two fouettés on pointe and she caused a huge sensation. The Italian ballerinas were dancing in Italian-made shoes that were actually quite soft, harder than Taglioni’s but nothing like today’s shoes.

improvements to pointe shoes empowered dancers to do more on pointe, and thus expanded the ballerina’s vocabulary and the art as a whole. Petipa, as a choreographer, made great use of this new “equipment” for the feet. He made multiple pirouettes on pointe, sustained balances and promenades and hops on pointe all obligatory for the ballerina. Petipa’s hallmark Grand Pas requires the ballerina to perform all of the above if not more.

Today

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are doing the most difficult and interesting work in the theater.”

ribbons Sewn on by the dancer themselves, the ribbons aid in keeping the shoe on while contstantly changing between en pointe and flat foot.

sole The sole of a pointe shoe is usually made of natural leather and provide grip when the dancer is off pointe.

box The toe box consists of several layers of sacking and textile fabrics glued tgether.

vamp

The vamp length is an element used in fitting shoes to the dancer. The longer the vamp, the more support.


apollo’s angels

apollo’s angels

apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

jennifer homans

jennifer homans

apollo’s

apollo’s angels

apollo’s angels

apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

jennifer homans

jennifer homans


apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

Ballerina chapter 4

I

france and the classical origins of ballet

II

light from the east: russian worlds of art

chapter 1 chapter 2 chapter 3 chapter 4 chapter 5 chapter 6

chapter 7 chapter 8 chapter 9 chapter 10 chapter 11 chapter 12

Kings of Dance The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet The French Revolution in Ballet The Rise of the Ballerina Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev Alone in Europe: The British Moment The American Century I: Russian Beginnings The American Century II: The New York Scene

3 49 98 135 176 205

245 290 341 396 448 470

We feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song.

the rise of the

She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pink-tights-and-toeshoes ballerina of girlish dreamsand feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity—ballet’s first—and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow. More than that, she radically changed

Book

i

france and the classical origins of ballet

the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-and-tutus ballet we know today. If Taglioni’s dainty, candy-coated image seems to undercut her artistic significance there are reasons. First, the image cannot tell us how she moved: it is static and incomplete, an inaccurate representation of her talents. But most importantly, it is anachronistic: what Taglioni looks like to us now is not what she looked like to audiences in the 1830s. They saw something quite different. To understand why she became an icon of her art, we thus need to climb behind the

dreams

“Ballets are the

Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time. She shortened all of her skirts to show off her excellent pointe work, which the long skirts hid.

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets. formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan, Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers—and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by courtiers in similar attire. Chivalric themes enacted with dancing,

arabesque

mikhail baryshnikov

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included a full-scale reenactment of a castle siege and battles between demons, giants, and dwarfs on behalf of six beautiful nymphs in captivity. These festivities, so seemingly gay in their extravagances, were not mere frivolous diversions. Sixteenth-century France was beset with intractable and savage civil and religious conflicts: the French kings, drawing on a deep tradition

Pointe

1832

history of the

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or is a word to be fought for. violinist ... lincoln kirstein It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville.

Russian beginnings

It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not

much had changed: one critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.” Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spec-

tacles of beautiful girls. This was nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater.

Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior—Manzocti’s extravaganza

life

Dancing is my obsession. My

[a-ra-BESK]

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demiplié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

shoe the shoe: Taglioni wore soft satin slippers that fit like kid gloves. They had a leather sole and some darning on the sides and under, not on, the tip. That’s all. It must have been a lot like standing barefoot. The blocked pointe shoe with a stiff sole as we know it today did not evolve until much later.

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for

Four years later Mikhail Baryshnikov followed. Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated

Anna Pavlova was the illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman. Her father was probably a young Jewish soldier and businessman. When she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed, Anna Pavlova decided to become a dancer, and entered the Imperial Ballet School at ten. Although the young Pavlova was considered frail and not exactly beautiful, she was nevertheless very hard working. She worked very tirelessly, and on graduation began

The great Russian ballerinas of the day, Kschessinska, Preobrajenska, Karsavina managed in soft Italian shoes, but other dancers and students required more support so in Russia the pointe shoe grew quite hard and stiff. Even today Russian shoes are generally stiffer, and Russian technique calls for “pouncing” onto pointe more than rolling through.

Today the shoe:

Although pointe shoes have evolved in that they have become harder and boxier, their basic construction materials are still antiquated: Leather, burlap, paper, glue and nails. They provide superior suport and alow the dancer to perform the skills of yesterday and the revolutionary tasks of today.

Marie Taglioni often gets the credit and the blame for being the first to dance on pointe. But no one really knows for sure. It is established that in 1832 Marie Taglioni danced in the full length La Sylphide on pointe.

1

2 sole The sole of a pointe shoe is usually made of natural leather and provide grip when the dancer is off pointe. 3 shank Available in varrying stiffness and lengths, allows the dancer to customize the amount of support they recieve. 4 toe The toe is the platform on which the dancer balances. It also comes in varrying sizes based on the dancer’s preference.

1895

5 toe box The toe box consists of several layers of sacking and textile fabrics glued tgether.

The Italian school pushed technique to the limit in order to achieve dazzling virtuosic feats. They also had better shoes. Pierina Legnani was the first to do thirty-two fouettés on pointe and she caused a huge sensation. The Italian ballerinas were dancing in Italian-made shoes that were actually quite soft, harder than Taglioni’s but nothing like today’s shoes.

6 vamp The vamp length is an element used in fitting shoes to the dancer. The longer the vamp, the more support.

the choreography: Improvements to pointe shoes empowered dancers to do more on pointe, and thus expanded the ballerina’s vocabulary and the art as a whole. Petipa, as a choreographer, made great use of this new “equipment” for the feet. He made multiple pirouettes on pointe, sustained balances and promenades and hops on pointe all obligatory for the ballerina. Petipa’s hallmark Grand Pas requires the ballerina to perform all of the above if not more.

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

1 ribbons Sewn on by the dancer themselves, the ribbons aid in keeping the shoe on while contstantly changing between en pointe and flat foot.

the dancer:

the dancer:

and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley.

baryshnikov mikhail

an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are doing the most difficult and interesting work in the theater.”

3 4

2 5

6


Contents table of

apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

Ballerina chapter 4

the rise of the

Book

i

france and the classical origins of ballet

I II

When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan,

top Ballet was as much etiquette as art. This painting by Laumosnier depicts a meeting between Louis XIV and Philippe IV in 1659 as a kind of dance: two principals pose in mirror image with Louis’s courtiers gathered like a corps de ballet. b0tt0m Catherine de Medici

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet The French Revolution in Ballet

98

chapter 4

The Rise of the Ballerina

135

chapter 5

Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style

176

chapter 6

Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

205

chapter 7

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism

245

chapter 8

East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes

290

chapter 9

Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev

341

chapter 10

Alone in Europe: The British Moment

396

chapter 11

The American Century I: Russian Beginnings

448

chapter 12

The American Century II: The New York Scene

470

She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pink-tights-and-toeshoes ballerina of girlish dreamsand feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity—ballet’s first—and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow. More than that, she radically changed

the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-and-tutus ballet we know today. If Taglioni’s dainty, candy-coated image seems to undercut her artistic significance there are reasons. First, the image cannot tell us how she moved: it is static and incomplete, an inaccurate representation of her talents. But most importantly, it is anachronistic: what Taglioni looks like to us now is not what she looked like to audiences in the 1830s. They saw something quite different. To understand why she became an icon of her art, we thus need to climb behind the

dreams

arabesque

49

light from the east: russian worlds of art

“Ballets are the

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers—and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by

3

chapter 2 chapter 3

We feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song.

france and the classical origins of ballet

Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

Kings of Dance

chapter 1

Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time. She shortened all of her skirts to show off her excellent pointe work, which the long skirts hid.

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

life

Dancing is my obsession. My

[a-ra-BESK]

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demiplié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

mikhail baryshnikov

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

courtiers in similar attire. Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included a full-scale reenactment of a castle siege and battles between demons, giants, and dwarfs on behalf of six beautiful nymphs in captivity. These festivities, so seemingly gay in their extravagances, were not mere frivolous diversions. Sixteenth-century France was beset with intractable and savage civil and religious conflicts: the French

Pointe 1832

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for

baryshnikov mikhail

an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are doing the most difficult and interesting work in the theater.” Four years later Mikhail Baryshnikov followed. Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

history of the

1 ribbons Sewn on by the dancer themselves, the ribbons aid in keeping the shoe on while contstantly changing between en pointe and flat foot.

shoe

It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville.

Russian beginnings

It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not

much had changed: one critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.” Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spec-

tacles of beautiful girls. This was nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater.

Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior—Manzocti’s extravaganza

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or is a word to be fought for. violinist ... lincoln kirstein

and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley. Anna Pavlova was the illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman. Her father was probably a young Jewish soldier and businessman. When she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed, Anna Pavlova decided to become a dancer, and entered the Imperial Ballet School at ten. Although the young Pavlova was considered frail and not exactly beautiful, she was nevertheless very hard working. She worked very

the shoe: Taglioni wore soft satin slippers that fit like kid gloves. They had a leather sole and some darning on the sides and under, not on, the tip. That’s all. It must have been a lot like standing barefoot. The blocked pointe shoe with a stiff sole as we know it today did not evolve until much later.

1895

the dancer: The Italian school pushed technique to the limit in order to achieve dazzling virtuosic feats. They also had better shoes. Pierina Legnani was the first to do thirty-two fouettés on pointe and she caused a huge sensation. The Italian ballerinas were dancing in Italian-made shoes that were actually quite soft, harder than Taglioni’s but nothing like today’s shoes.

the dancer: Marie Taglioni often gets the credit and the blame for being the first to dance on pointe. But no one really knows for sure. It is established that in 1832 Marie Taglioni danced in the full length La Sylphide on pointe.

1 the choreography: Improvements to pointe shoes empowered dancers to do more on pointe, and thus expanded the ballerina’s vocabulary and the art as a whole. Petipa, as a choreographer, made great use of this new “equipment” for the feet. He made multiple pirouettes on pointe, sustained balances and promenades and hops on pointe all obligatory for the ballerina. Petipa’s hallmark Grand Pas requires the ballerina to perform all of the above if not more.

2 sole The sole of a pointe shoe is usually made of natural leather and provide grip when the dancer is off pointe. 3 shank Available in varrying stiffness and lengths, allows the dancer to customize the amount of support they recieve. 4 toe The toe is the platform on which the dancer balances. It also comes in varrying sizes based on the dancer’s preference. 5 toe box The toe box consists of several layers of sacking and textile fabrics glued tgether. 6 vampThe vamp length is an element used in fitting shoes to the dancer. The longer the vamp, the more support.

Today

the shoe: Although pointe shoes have evolved in that they have become harder and boxier, their basic construction materials are still antiquated: Leather, burlap, paper, glue and nails. They provide superior suport and alow the dancer to perform the skills of yesterday and the revolutionary tasks of today.

3 4

2 5

6


apollo’s angels

apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

jennifer homans

Contents

Book

i

table of

Ballerina chapter 4

the rise of the

france and the classical origins of ballet

I II

chapter 1

Kings of Dance

chapter 2

The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet

3

france and the classical origins of ballet

49

chapter 3

The French Revolution in Ballet

98

chapter 4

The Rise of the Ballerina

135

chapter 5

Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style

176

chapter 6

Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

205

light from the east: russian worlds of art chapter 7

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism

245

chapter 8

East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes

290

chapter 9

Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev

341

chapter 10

Alone in Europe: The British Moment

396

chapter 11

The American Century I: Russian Beginnings

448

chapter 12

The American Century II: The New York Scene

470

W

She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pink-tightsand-toe-shoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity—ballet’s first—and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow. More than

that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-and-tutus ballet we know today. If Taglioni’s dainty, candy-coated image seems to undercut her artistic significance there are reasons. First, the image cannot tell us how she moved: it is static and incomplete, an inaccurate representation of her talents. But most importantly, it is anachronistic: what Taglioni looks like to us now is not what she looked like to audiences in the 1830s. They saw something quite different. To understand why she became an

dreams

“Ballets are the

Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time. She shortened all of her skirts to show off her excellent pointe work, which the long skirts hid.

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

b0tt0m Catherine de Medici

mikhail

an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are doing the most difficult and interesting work in the theater.” Four years later Mikhail Baryshnikov followed. Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not

1895

Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spec-

Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior—Manzocti’s extravaganza

tacles of beautiful girls. This was nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater.

2 sole The sole of a pointe shoe is usually made of natural leather and provide grip when the dancer is off pointe. 3 shank Available in varrying stiffness and lengths, allows the dancer to customize the amount of support they recieve. 4 toe The toe is the platform on which the dancer balances. It also comes in varrying sizes based on the dancer’s preference. 5 toe box The toe box consists of several layers of sacking and textile fabrics glued tgether. 6 vampThe vamp length is an element used in fitting shoes to the dancer. The longer the vamp, the more support.

Today

the shoe: Although pointe shoes have evolved in that they have become harder and boxier, their basic construction materials are still antiquated: Leather, burlap, paper, glue and nails. They provide superior suport and alow the dancer to perform the skills of yesterday and the revolutionary tasks of today.

3 4

2 5

6

jennifer homans

the shoe: Taglioni wore soft satin slippers that fit like kid gloves. They had a leather sole and some darning on the sides and under, not on, the tip. That’s all. It must have been a lot like the dancer: standing barefoot. The The Italian school pushed blocked pointe shoe with technique to the limit in a stiff sole as we know it order to achieve dazzling today did not evolve until virtuosic feats. They also much later. had better shoes. Pierina Legnani was the first to do thirty-two fouettés on pointe and she caused a huge sensation. The Italian ballerinas were dancing in Italian-made shoes that were actually quite soft, harder than Taglioni’s but nothing like today’s shoes.

1990

1

much had changed: one critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.”

apollo’s angels

1 ribbons Sewn on by the dancer themselves, the ribbons aid in keeping the shoe on while contstantly changing between en pointe and flat foot.

shoe

the choreography: Improvements to pointe shoes empowered dancers to do more on pointe, and thus expanded the ballerina’s vocabulary and the art as a whole. Petipa, as a choreographer, made great use of this new “equipment” for the feet. He made multiple pirouettes on pointe, sustained balances and promenades and hops on pointe all obligatory for the ballerina. Petipa’s hallmark Grand Pas requires the ballerina to perform all of the above if not more.

It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville.

beginnings

baryshnikov

history of the

the dancer: Marie Taglioni often gets the credit and the blame for being the first to dance on pointe. But no one really knows for sure. It is established that in 1832 Marie Taglioni danced in the full length La Sylphide on pointe.

Arabesque

[a-ra-BESK]

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demiplié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

courtiers in similar attire. Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included a full-scale reenactment of a castle siege and battles between demons, giants, and dwarfs on behalf of six beautiful nymphs in captivity. These festivities, so seemingly gay in their extravagances, were not mere frivolous diversions. Sixteenth-century France was beset with intractable and savage civil and religious conflicts: the French

Russian

mikhail baryshnikov

Pointe 1832

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or is a word to be fought for. violinist ... lincoln kirstein

life

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for

When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan,

top Ballet was as much etiquette as art. This painting by Laumosnier depicts a meeting between Louis XIV and Philippe IV in 1659 as a kind of dance: two principals pose in mirror image with Louis’s courtiers gathered like a corps de ballet.

Dancing is my obsession. My

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers—and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by

Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

e feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song.

merrill ashley a dancer for Balanchine demonstrates tondus in three directions.

and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley. Anna Pavlova was the illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman. Her father was probably a young Jewish soldier and businessman. When she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed, Anna Pavlova decided to become a dancer, and entered the Imperial Ballet School at ten. Although the young Pavlova was considered frail and not exactly beautiful, she was nevertheless very hard working. She worked very


apollo’s angels

apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

jennifer homans

Contents

Book

i

table of

Ballerina chapter 4

the rise of the

france and the classical origins of ballet

I II

Kings of Dance

chapter 1

3

chapter 2

The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet

49

chapter 3

The French Revolution in Ballet

98

chapter 4

The Rise of the Ballerina

135

chapter 5

Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style

176

chapter 6

Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

205

france and the classical origins of ballet We are all accustomed to the ballet of today. The tutus, the pointe shoes, and the timeless stories. But where did all this come from? France was a poineer in classical ballet as we know it today. What started as entertainment for kings and

light from the east: russian worlds of art Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism

chapter 7

royalty turned into what we see today.

245

chapter 8

East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes

290

chapter 9

Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev

341

chapter 10

Alone in Europe: The British Moment

396

chapter 11

The American Century I: Russian Beginnings

448

chapter 12

The American Century II: The New York Scene

470

W

Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

e feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song. She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pinktights-and-toe-shoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity — ballet’s first — and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow.

More than that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-andtutus ballet we know today. If Taglioni’s dainty, candy-coated image seems to undercut her artistic significance there are reasons. First, the image cannot tell us how she moved: it is static and incomplete, an inaccurate representation of her talents. But most importantly, it is anachronistic: what Taglioni looks like to us now is not what she looked like to audiences in the 1830s. They saw something quite different. To understand why she became

dreams

“Ballets are the

Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time. She shortened all of her skirts to show off her excellent pointe work, which the long skirts hid.

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

bottom Catherine de Medici right La Liberazione di Tirreno

Pointe 1832

baryshnikov mikhail

an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are doing the most difficult and interesting work in the theater.” Four years later Mikhail Baryshnikov followed. Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not much had changed: one

the shoe: Taglioni wore soft satin slippers that fit like kid gloves. They had a leather sole and some darning on the sides and under, not on, the tip. That’s all. It must have been a lot like standing barefoot. The blocked pointe shoe with a stiff sole as we know it today did not evolve until much later.

1895

1

Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spectacles of beautiful girls. This was

Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior— Manzocti’s extravaganza and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley.

nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater. It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers

2 sole The sole of a pointe shoe is usually made of natural leather and provide grip when the dancer is off pointe. 3 shank Available in varrying stiffness and lengths, allows the dancer to customize the amount of support they recieve. 4 toe The toe is the platform on which the dancer balances. It also comes in varrying sizes based on the dancer’s preference. 5 toe box The toe box consists of several layers of sacking and textile fabrics glued tgether.

Today

the shoe: Although pointe shoes have evolved in that they have become harder and boxier, their basic construction materials are still antiquated: Leather, burlap, paper, glue and nails. They provide superior suport and alow the dancer to perform the skills of yesterday and the revolutionary tasks of today.

6 vampThe vamp length is an element used in fitting shoes to the dancer. The longer the vamp, the more support.

2 3

5 4

6

jennifer homans

the dancer: The Italian school pushed technique to the limit in order to achieve dazzling virtuosic feats. They also had better shoes. Pierina Legnani was the first to do thirty-two fouettés on pointe and she caused a huge sensation. The Italian ballerinas were dancing in Italian-made shoes that were actually quite soft, harder than Taglioni’s but nothing like today’s shoes.

1990

critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.”

apollo’s angels

1 ribbons Sewn on by the dancer themselves, the ribbons aid in keeping the shoe on while contstantly changing between en pointe and flat foot.

shoe

the choreography: Improvements to pointe shoes empowered dancers to do more on pointe, and thus expanded the ballerina’s vocabulary and the art as a whole. Petipa, as a choreographer, made great use of this new “equipment” for the feet. He made multiple pirouettes on pointe, sustained balances and promenades and hops on pointe all obligatory for the ballerina. Petipa’s hallmark Grand Pas requires the ballerina to perform all of the above if not more.

from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville.

beginnings

history of the

the dancer: Marie Taglioni often gets the credit and the blame for being the first to dance on pointe. But no one really knows for sure. It is established that in 1832 Marie Taglioni danced in the full length La Sylphide on pointe.

Arabesque [a-ra-BESK]

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demiplié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included a full-scale reenactment of a castle siege and battles between demons, giants, and dwarfs on behalf of six beautiful nymphs in captivity. These festivities, so seemingly gay in their extravagances, were not mere frivolous diversions. Sixteenth-century France was beset with intractable and savage civil and religious conflicts: the French kings, drawing on a deep tradition

Russian

mikhail baryshnikov

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or is a word to be fought for. violinist ... lincoln kirstein

life

Dancing is my obsession. My

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan,

top Ballet was as much etiquette as art. This painting by Laumosnier depicts a meeting between Louis XIV and Philippe IV in 1659 as a kind of dance: two principals pose in mirror image with Louis’s courtiers gathered like a corps de ballet.

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers — and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by courtiers in similar attire.

merrill ashley a dancer for Balanchine demonstrates tondus in three directions.

Anna Pavlova was the illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman. Her father was probably a young Jewish soldier and businessman. When she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed, Anna Pavlova decided to become a dancer, and entered the Imperial Ballet School at ten. Although the young Pavlova was considered frail and not exactly beautiful, she was nevertheless very hard working. She worked very tirelessly, and on graduation began to perform at the Maryinsky Theatre, debuting on September 19, 1899.


Contents table of

I II

apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

Book

i

chapter 4

tutus, the pointe shoes, and the timeless stories.

Kings of Dance The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet

chapter 3

The French Revolution in Ballet

98

chapter 4

The Rise of the Ballerina

She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pinktights-and-toe-shoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity — ballet’s first — and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow.

But where did all this come from? France was a poineer in classical ballet as we know it today. What started as entertainment for kings and royalty turned into what we see today.

135

4 When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan,

top This painting by Laumosnier depicts a meeting between Louis XIV and Philippe IV in 1659: two principals pose in mirror image with Louis’s courtiers gathered like a corps de ballet. bottom Catherine de Medici right La Liberazione di Tirreno

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers — and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by courtiers in similar attire.

Arabesque [a-ra-BESK]

49

Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style

176

Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

205

xi

light from the east: russian worlds of art chapter 7

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism

245

chapter 8

East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes

290

chapter 9

Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev

341

chapter 10

Alone in Europe: The British Moment

396

chapter 11

The American Century I: Russian Beginnings

448

chapter 12

The American Century II: The New York Scene

470

More than that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-andtutus ballet we know today.

135

If Taglioni’s dainty, candy-coated image seems to undercut her artistic significance there are reasons. First, the image cannot tell us how she moved: it is static and incomplete, an inaccurate representation of her talents. But most importantly, it is anachronistic: what Taglioni looks like to us now is not what she looked like to audiences in the 1830s. They saw something quite different. To understand why she became

dreams

“Ballets are the

Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

3

chapter 5 chapter 6

e feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song.

the rise of the

We are all accustomed to the ballet of today. The

chapter 1 chapter 2

W

Ballerina

france and the classical origins of ballet

france and the classical origins of ballet

Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time.

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demiplié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

5

Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included a full-scale reenactment of a castle siege and battles between demons, giants, and dwarfs on behalf of six beautiful nymphs in captivity.

7

6

These festivities, so seemingly gay in their extravagances, were not mere frivolous diversions. Sixteenth-century France was beset with intractable and savage civil and religious conflicts: the French kings, drawing on a deep tradition

God”

“Dancers are the athletes of

albert einstein

life

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

Pointe 1832

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for

beginnings

baryshnikov mikhail

an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are doing the most difficult and interesting work in the theater.” Four years later Mikhail Baryshnikov followed. Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

451

1895

the choreography: Improvements to pointe shoes empowered dancers to do more on pointe, and thus expanded the ballerina’s vocabulary and the art as a whole. Petipa, as a choreographer, made great use of this new “equipment” for the feet. He made multiple pirouettes on pointe, sustained balances and promenades and hops on pointe all obligatory for the ballerina. Petipa’s hallmark Grand Pas requires the ballerina to perform all of the above if not more.

Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spectacles of beautiful girls. This was

nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater. It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers

2 sole The sole of a pointe shoe is usually made of natural leather and provide grip when the dancer is off pointe. 3 shank Available in varrying stiffness and lengths, allows the dancer to customize the amount of support they recieve. 4 toe The toe is the platform on which the dancer balances. It also comes in varrying sizes based on the dancer’s preference. 5 toe box The toe box consists of several layers of sacking and textile fabrics glued tgether.

Today

the shoe: Although pointe shoes have evolved in that they have become harder and boxier, their basic construction materials are still antiquated: Leather, burlap, paper, glue and nails. They provide superior suport and alow the dancer to perform the skills of yesterday and the revolutionary tasks of today.

6 vampThe vamp length is an element used in fitting shoes to the dancer. The longer the vamp, the more support.

2 3

5 4

6

jennifer homans

the shoe: Taglioni wore soft satin slippers that fit like kid gloves. They had a leather sole and some darning on the sides and under, not on, the tip. That’s all. It must have been a lot like the dancer: standing barefoot. The The Italian school pushed blocked pointe shoe with technique to the limit in a stiff sole as we know it order to achieve dazzling today did not evolve until virtuosic feats. They also much later. had better shoes. Pierina Legnani was the first to do thirty-two fouettés on pointe and she caused a huge sensation. The Italian ballerinas were dancing in Italian-made shoes that were actually quite soft, harder than Taglioni’s but nothing like today’s shoes.

1990

1

critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.”

apollo’s angels

1 ribbons Sewn on by the dancer themselves, the ribbons aid in keeping the shoe on while contstantly changing between en pointe and flat foot.

shoe

Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior— Manzocti’s extravaganza and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley.

452 It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not much had changed: one

history of the

the dancer: Marie Taglioni often gets the credit and the blame for being the first to dance on pointe. But no one really knows for sure. It is established that in 1832 Marie Taglioni danced in the full length La Sylphide on pointe.

from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville.

Russian

mikhail baryshnikov

450

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or is a word to be fought for. violinist ... lincoln kirstein

Dancing is my obsession. My

merrill ashley, a dancer for Balanchine, demonstrates tondus in three directions.

Anna Pavlova was the illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman. Her father was probably a young Jewish soldier and businessman. When she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed, Anna Pavlova decided to become a dancer, and entered the Imperial Ballet School at ten. Although the young Pavlova was considered frail and not exactly beautiful, she was nevertheless very hard working. She worked very tirelessly, and on graduation began to perform at the Maryinsky Theatre, debuting on September 19, 1899.

453


final project


concept statement The two books I chose were Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet and Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet. The first explores the history of the dance form the 1500s to present day. It has a storytelling approach to telling the history of ballet rather than a straight statement of facts and dates. The second book, a ballet dictionary, accurately describes classical ballet steps and positions as well as provides diagrams. I decided to redesign these books to be catered to a 20-30 year old woman, who is somewhat experienced in ballet, and is interested in learning the history and technical language of the art form. They have a high school diploma and are in college pursuing a degree.

what was wrong The books are a bit flat in design. The pages are laid out like a novel with full pages of text. In order to see a picture of what the author is describing, the reader has to flip to a separate section that holds the pictures. The pictures themselves lack order and are just randomly squeezed onto a page.


final spreads

Contents table of

apollo’s

Angels

a history of ballet jennifer homans

I II

france and the classical origins of ballet chapter 1

Kings of Dance

3

chapter 2

The Enlightenment and the Story of Ballet

49

chapter 3

The French Revolution in Ballet

98

chapter 4

The Rise of the Ballerina

135

chapter 5

Scandinavain Orthodoxy: The Danish Style

176

chapter 6

Italian Hersey: Pantomime, Virtuosity, and Italian Ballet

205

light from the east: russian worlds of art chapter 7

Tzars of Dance: Imperial Russian Classicism

245

chapter 8

East Goes West: Russian Modernism and Ballets Russes

290

chapter 9

Left Behind? Communist Ballet from Stalin to Brezhnev

341

chapter 10

Alone in Europe: The British Moment

396

chapter 11

The American Century I: Russian Beginnings

448

chapter 12

The American Century II: The New York Scene

470

xi


Book

i

Ballerina chapter 4

the rise of the

france and the classical origins of ballet We are all accustomed to the ballet of today. The tutus, the pointe shoes, and the timeless stories. But where did all this come from? France was a poineer in classical ballet as we know it today. What started as entertainment for kings and royalty turned into what we see today.

W

e feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song. She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pinktights-and-toe-shoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity — ballet’s first — and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow.

More than that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-andtutus ballet we know today.

dreams

“Ballets are the

Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

4

top This painting by Laumosnier depicts a meeting between Louis XIV and Philippe IV in 1659: two principals pose in mirror image with Louis’s courtiers gathered like a corps de ballet. bottom Catherine de Medici right La Liberazione di Tirreno

When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan,

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers — and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by courtiers in similar attire.

Arabesque [a-ra-BESK]

Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included a full-scale reenactment of a castle siege and battles between demons, giants, and dwarfs on behalf of six beautiful nymphs in captivity. These festivities, so seemingly gay in their extravagances, were not mere frivolous diversions. Sixteenth-century France was beset with intractable and savage civil and religious conflicts: the French kings, drawing on a deep tradition

135

If Taglioni’s dainty, candy-coated image seems to undercut her artistic significance there are reasons. First, the image cannot tell us how she moved: it is static and incomplete, an inaccurate representation of her talents. But most importantly, it is anachronistic: what Taglioni looks like to us now is not what she looked like to audiences in the 1830s. They saw something quite different. To understand why she became Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time.

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demiplié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

5

7

6

God”

“Dancers are the athletes of

albert einstein


life

Dancing is my obsession. My

450

Pointe 1832

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for

beginnings

baryshnikov mikhail

an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are doing the most difficult and interesting work in the theater.” Four years later Mikhail Baryshnikov followed. Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

451

the shoe: Taglioni wore soft satin slippers that fit like kid gloves. They had a leather sole and some darning on the sides and under, not on, the tip. That’s all. It must have been a lot like standing barefoot. The blocked pointe shoe with a stiff sole as we know it today did not evolve until much later.

1895

the choreography: Improvements to pointe shoes empowered dancers to do more on pointe, and thus expanded the ballerina’s vocabulary and the art as a whole. Petipa, as a choreographer, made great use of this new “equipment” for the feet. He made multiple pirouettes on pointe, sustained balances and promenades and hops on pointe all obligatory for the ballerina. Petipa’s hallmark Grand Pas requires the ballerina to perform all of the above if not more.

Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spectacles of beautiful girls. This was

nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater. It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers

2 sole The sole of a pointe shoe is usually made of natural leather and provide grip when the dancer is off pointe. 3 shank Available in varrying stiffness and lengths, allows the dancer to customize the amount of support they recieve. 4 toe The toe is the platform on which the dancer balances. It also comes in varrying sizes based on the dancer’s preference. 5 toe box The toe box consists of several layers of sacking and textile fabrics glued tgether.

Today

the shoe: Although pointe shoes have evolved in that they have become harder and boxier, their basic construction materials are still antiquated: Leather, burlap, paper, glue and nails. They provide superior suport and alow the dancer to perform the skills of yesterday and the revolutionary tasks of today.

6 vampThe vamp length is an element used in fitting shoes to the dancer. The longer the vamp, the more support.

2 3

5 4

6

jennifer homans

the dancer: The Italian school pushed technique to the limit in order to achieve dazzling virtuosic feats. They also had better shoes. Pierina Legnani was the first to do thirty-two fouettés on pointe and she caused a huge sensation. The Italian ballerinas were dancing in Italian-made shoes that were actually quite soft, harder than Taglioni’s but nothing like today’s shoes.

1990

1

critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.”

apollo’s angels

1 ribbons Sewn on by the dancer themselves, the ribbons aid in keeping the shoe on while contstantly changing between en pointe and flat foot.

shoe

Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior— Manzocti’s extravaganza and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley.

452 It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not much had changed: one

history of the

the dancer: Marie Taglioni often gets the credit and the blame for being the first to dance on pointe. But no one really knows for sure. It is established that in 1832 Marie Taglioni danced in the full length La Sylphide on pointe.

from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville.

Russian

mikhail baryshnikov

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or is a word to be fought for. violinist ... lincoln kirstein

merrill ashley, a dancer for Balanchine, demonstrates tondus in three directions.

Anna Pavlova was the illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman. Her father was probably a young Jewish soldier and businessman. When she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed, Anna Pavlova decided to become a dancer, and entered the Imperial Ballet School at ten. Although the young Pavlova was considered frail and not exactly beautiful, she was nevertheless very hard working. She worked very tirelessly, and on graduation began to perform at the Maryinsky Theatre, debuting on September 19, 1899.

453


Ballerina chapter 4

the rise of the

W

e feel we know Marie Taglioni. We know her from prints of La Sylphide, the Parisian ballet that made her famous in 1832: she is awispy, winged creature, a confection of white tulle and rose perched delicately on toe, torso tilted slightly forward as if she were listening to a faint song. She is birdlike, quaint, and almost cloyingly sweet, and if there is a thought in her head, it is lost in the mists of her vaporous ethereality. She is the pinktights-and-toe-shoes ballerina of girlish dreams-and feminist nighhtmares. Yet Marie Taglioni was one of the most important and influential ballerinas who ever lived. She galvanized a generation and drew some of Europe’s best literary minds to dance; she was an international celebrity celebrity — ballet’s first — and set the pattern for Margot Fonteyn, Melissa Hayden, Galina Ulanova, and others to follow.

More than that, she radically changed the art: La Sylphide laid the way for the toe-shoes-andtutus ballet we know today.

dreams

“Ballets are the

Venice, and Florence: flaming torch dances, elaborate horse ballets with hundreds of mounted cavaliers arranged in symbolic formations, and masked interludes with heroic, allegorical, and exotic themes.

4

top This painting by Laumosnier depicts a meeting between Louis XIV and Philippe IV in 1659: two principals pose in mirror image with Louis’s courtiers gathered like a corps de ballet. bottom Catherine de Medici right La Liberazione di Tirreno

When the French king Henri II wedded the Florentine Catherine de Medici in 1533, French and Italian culture came into close and formal alliance, and it is here that the history of ballet begins. The French court had long reveled in tournaments, jousting, and masquerades,but even these impressive and lavish entertainments fell short of those traditionally mounted by the princes and nobility of Milan,

The ballet master Guglielmo Ebreo, writing in Milan in 1463, for example, described festivities that included fireworks, tightrope walkers, conjurers, and banquets with up to twenty courses served on solid gold platters with peacocks wandering on the tables. On another occasion, in 1490, Leonardo da Vinci helped to stage Festa de paradiso in Milan, featuring the Seven Planets along with Mercury, the three Graces, the seven Virtues, nymphs, and the god Apollo. The Italians also performed simple bur elegant social dances known as balli and balletti, which consisted of graceful, rhythmic walking steps danced at formal balls and ceremonies, or on occasion stylized pantomime performances: the French called them ballets.

Catherine (who was only fourteen when she married) dominated the French court for many years after Henri’s death in 1559, bringing her Italianate taste to bear on French courtiers — and kings. Her sons, the French kings Charles IX and Henri III, carried the tradition forward: they admired the floats, chariots, and parades of allegorical performances they saw in Milan and Naples, and shared their mother’s keen interest in ceremonial and theatrical events. In their hands, even strictly Catholic processionals could morph into colorful masquerades, and both monarchs were known to promenade through the streets at night dressed en travesti, adorned with gold and silver veils and Venetian masks, accompanied by courtiers in similar attire.

135

If Taglioni’s dainty, candy-coated image seems to undercut her artistic significance there are reasons. First, the image cannot tell us how she moved: it is static and incomplete, an inaccurate representation of her talents. But most importantly, it is anachronistic: what Taglioni looks like to us now is not what she looked like to audiences in the 1830s. They saw something quite different. To understand why she became

of poets taken seriously.”

théophile gautier

Arabesque [a-ra-BESK]

Chivalric themes enacted with dancing, singing, and demonstradetions of equestrian skill made for impressive theatrical collages, such as the joust held at Fontainebleau in 1564, which included a full-scale reenactment of a castle siege and battles between demons, giants, and dwarfs on behalf of six beautiful nymphs in captivity. These festivities, so seemingly gay in their extravagances, were not mere frivolous diversions. Sixteenth-century France was beset with intractable and savage civil and religious conflicts: the French kings, drawing on a deep tradition

Marie Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt in the performance La Sylphide, which was considered highly scandalous at the time.

A position of the body, in profile, supported on one leg, which can be straight or demiplié, with the other leg extended behind and at right angles to it, and the arms held in various harmonious positions.

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life

Dancing is my obsession. My

mikhail baryshnikov

In the early twentieth century all of this changed with the arrival of the Russians, the tsar’s Imperial dancers. Some came with Diaghilev; others followed in the wake of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Diaghilev booked his company into the Metropolitan Opera House, but most, including the renowned ballerina Anna Pavlova, toured the vaudeville circuit. By then, vaudeville was a tightly organized syndicate of theaters and booking agents, run our of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and like her French and Italian predecessors, “Pavlova the Incomparable” appeared alongside minstrel shows, baseball-playing elephants, and other popular acts. If the theatrical fare tended toward the light, however, Pavlova and her audiences had no doubt about the seriousness of her art. Her natural charisma and ardent commitment left a powerful impression on an entire generation of American and European performers. “She half hypnotized audiences, partaking almost of the nature of a divinity,” the choreographer Agnes de Mille later recalled, “my life was wholly altered by her.” De Mille was not alone: when Pavlova died in 1931 scores of dreamy American girls reportedly fell spontaneously into a state of hysteria.

450

Pavlova was the most famous but there were dozens of Russians like her: they toured America in various Ballets Russes spin-off troupes between the wars (some carried on into the 1960s), introducing—and converting—several generations of audiences to classical dance. The work could be grueling. One tour of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in 1934-35 took the dancers to ninety cities and towns in just six months: the artists covered some twenty thousand miles, with countless one-night stands and stops at “Voolvorts,” where the dancers could order ham and eggs and stock up on toiletries and extra costume jewelry before getting back on the road. Nonetheless, like Pavlova, these performers were Imperial subjects and saw themselves as standard-bearers for

baryshnikov mikhail

an aristocratic art: they may have dined at “Voolvorts,” but they presented themselves in furs and silk stockings, and they never lost sight of the sanctity of their art. “They bound together in common need like Blitz victims,” de Mille would later note, “they are bound together by training and heritage. They are doing the most difficult and interesting work in the theater.” Four years later Mikhail Baryshnikov followed. Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated

Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1948, Mikhail Baryshnikov owed his beginnings in ballet to his mother. She was poorly educated but adored ballet; she took him to performances and enrolled him in the prestigious Riga School of Choreography, the city’s state ballet academy, where he received excellent training. When he was twelve, however, tragedy struck: one afternoon his mother left him with his grandmother and committed suicide. In 1964, when he was just sixteen, Baryshnikov traveled to Leningrad with the Latvian National Opera Ballet and successfully auditioned for the Vaganova School. He was taken in by the teacher Alexander Pushkin, who had also kept and trained Nureyev. Pushkin became a mentor and surrogate father. Baryshnikov rose rapidly: he joined the Kirov in 1967 and became the scar of the company’s 1970 tour to the West.

451

elite

There is no dilettantism in the professional ball player, pianist, or is a word to be fought for. violinist ... lincoln kirstein from Europe, and ran for so long (on and off for some thirty years) that many of them never went back. The shows star, a ballerina trained in Milan at La Scala, later opened a dance school in New York, and others moved on to theater and vaudeville.

Russian beginnings

452 It is hardly surprising, then, that in America ballet was generally regarded as a foreign art, a fact that constantly dismayed visiting Europeans for whom it was a second cultural skin. When Paul Taglioni (Marie’s brother) arrived from Berlin with his wife to perform La Sytphide in 1839, for example, he found to his surprise that the women of the corps de ballet—local gals hired on the spot for the occasion—were poorly trained and thought nothing of lounging indecorously onstage between steps and dances. Forty years later, not much had changed: one

critic described the dancers in a production he had seen as “an awkward squad of overgrown girls, with gauze-garnished limbs and dissipated-looking blond wigs.” “In the old country,” an Italian ballet master bitterly lamented, “the ballet is everything; in this, it is... nothing.” Not nothing, just part of the popular culture mix. Ballet came to America through vaudeville, variety shows, musicals, and (later) film, through kick lines, gymnastic routines, and spectacles of beautiful girls. This was

nothing unusual: until the late nineteenth century, theater and opera performances typically mixed and matched Mozart with local popular songs, Shakespeare with acrobatic acts and interludes. Ballet was no different. Thus in 1866, to take just one early example, the Kiralfy brothers (lmre and Bolossy, from Pesch, Hungary) produced a bloated but extraordinarily successful theatrical production packed with spectacular dances entitled The Black Crook at New York’s Niblo’s Garden Theater. It featured a company of more than seventy ballet dancers

Indeed, by the late nineteenth century, Italian dancers in particular were much in demand: reared on Manzotti’s brazenly populist pageants, their technical bravura and sensational tricks were enthusiastically welcomed by American audiences who saw ballet as little more than a fun entertainment. After The Black Crook the Kiralfy brothers went on to produce Excelsior— Manzocti’s extravaganza and a predecessor to Ziegfeld’s Follies, the Rockettes, and Busby Berkeley.

merrill ashley, a dancer for Balanchine, demonstrates tondus in three directions.

Anna Pavlova was the illegitimate daughter of a laundry-woman. Her father was probably a young Jewish soldier and businessman. When she saw The Sleeping Beauty performed, Anna Pavlova decided to become a dancer, and entered the Imperial Ballet School at ten. Although the young Pavlova was considered frail and not exactly beautiful, she was nevertheless very hard working. She worked very tirelessly, and on graduation began to perform at the Maryinsky Theatre, debuting on September 19, 1899.

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reflection I feel like I came out of this project with a bounty of new knowledge and appreciation. I feel very strongly about my output and believe it will fit nicely in my portfolio. Firstly, I learned how to develop my own grid and apply it to my book. I had a hard time at first creating the grid. I didn’t want anything too normal, and I had a hard time making it fit within the page without huge margins. I eventually perfected the grid after a while of crunching numbers and working in In Design. Furthermore, I developed my skills in binding the book itself. This took an immense amount of craft and skill. I really enjoyed learning all the steps needed to bind this book. Lastly, I was able to take a plethora of information and organize it into a book format that would be easy to read cover to cover as well as browse. This was difficult at first but I am happy with the overall outcome and the choices I made.

Book Redesign Process Book  

Process book for book redesign project

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