The Russian avant-garde movement represented the struggle between the past and the future. The explosion of Russian artistry from 1907 to 1917 turned away from the realism that appeared to have dominated the end of the nineteenth century (like that reflected in the work of the Wanderers) and presented an even greater level of experimentation. In contrast to realism, there was an increased focus on beauty and emotion, particularly in dance. An example of beauty “for beauty’s sake” can be seen in Diaghilev’s “Ballet Russes”, which included elaborate and colorful set design and costumes as a vital component of dance performances. In theater too, there was a break from “excessive realism”, as seen in the development of the Dramatic Theater, which heavily focused on aesthetics, and The Studio, an experimental theater formed by previous actors of Moscow Art Theater. One point I continue to struggle with is if this period (the avant-garde movement between 1907-1917) was more “Western” or less “Western” than before. On one hand, there were obvious efforts to distinguish Russian art and culture from Western Europe, but, on the other hand, there were also efforts to depart from the focus of Russian art being to reestablish Russia’s national identity. Also, while the Ballet Russes toured Europe and obviously established Russia as a unique, innovative art force, such contact with Western Europe must have also contributed to a “westernization” of Russia. As a result, I am unsure if Russia was more or less westernized in 1917, as the avant-garde period began to end and the war began. Also, if Russia was such a huge and vital force in establishing the culture of the early twentieth century, then what happened once the war began (and also once it ended)? How could this huge wave of artistry and creativity end so abruptly?