March 15 & 16 1917 marked a monumental day for the Russian people, the decision to abdicate the crown was made by Tsar Nikolai the second. Nikolai handed the crown to his brother Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich whom reflecting the feelings of the nation passed on all power to the Provisional Government more popularly referred to as the Duma.
In the Duma’s address to the Russian populace they start with a declaration of victory over the “dark forces of the old regime” informing the people that they now have the power to re-organize the executive power of the nation.… Read the rest here
Over the course of the semester I am conducting research on the dispersion of Russian culture from 1909-1929 through the Ballet Russes and the immediate years following its’ dissolution and dispersion of members. Immediately following the dissolution of the Ballet Russes, the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo was formed by former members who continued on the practices in a smaller capacity. By examining the spheres of popular culture and fashion (both social and theatrical), I will determine how culture changed and evolved over time.… Read the rest here
Scene from Scheherazade.
Scene from the Firebird.
Sketch of the FIrebird costme by Bakst.
Modern womens fashions of the early 1900s inspired by Scheherazade.
Bakst’s sketch for Afternoon of a Faun costume for Nijinski.
Costume sketch for the Firebird.
Costume for the Firebird.
Pablo Picasso (wearing a beret) pictured with scene painters for Parade. Courtesy of wikicommons.
Part 1: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/quallsk/2016/05/03/ballet-russes-the-early-years-part-1-of-6/
Part 2: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/quallsk/2016/05/03/leon-bakst-and-scheherazade-part-2-of-5/
Part 3: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/quallsk/2016/05/03/the-loss-of-gesamtkunstwerk-part-3-of-5/
Part 5 (bibliography): http://blogs.dickinson.edu/quallsk/2016/05/03/original-proposal-and-bibliography-part-5-of-5/
… Read the rest here
The great impresario of the Ballet Russes, Serge Diaghilev, not only created a prominent art movement, but he also contributed to the downfall of its historic remembrance. By strictly controlling the viewing of Ballet Russes productions and prohibiting video recordings, many documents were not properly archived or were simply never recorded. This means that while the most famous performances have been continued into modern times, many popular performances of the day, which fell out of the repertoire, now exist only in fragments.… Read the rest here
The opening seasons of the Ballet Russes in Paris was a unique explosion and intermingling of culture, merging east and west into an entirely new modern style. At the head of this movement was Leon Bakst, who was the chief designer for the Ballet Russes from 1909 to 1913. Bakst became synonymous with the Ballet Russes in these opening seasons, as he introduced Europe to the mysterious Russian culture and color palette. Through Bakst’s artistic vision, the Ballet Russes ushered in a new modern era of design by infusing ‘oriental’ aspects into then drab and bland fashions of the day in Paris, which have held lasting influences permeating multiple spheres of society, chiefly every day and high fashion.… Read the rest here
Emerging from Tsarist Russia and the turbulent early years of the twentieth century, the Ballet Russes was a hugely influential and revolutionary era in the arts that altered the interactions of art, music and dance for generations to follow. The ballet troupe lasted from 1909 to 1929 when the impresario Serge Diaghilev unexpectedly died. In order to fully grasp the movement created by Diaghilev it is essential to have a clear understanding of its origins and the motivations behind what became such a diverse array of talents.… Read the rest here
Pictured: Jimmy, Marion and Martinov
The film Circus, produced by the Soviet Union in 1936, was made in order to propagate the Union’s ideals and acceptance of all nationalities. The main hero, Marion Dixon, is chased out of the United States because of racial intolerance against her black son, Jimmy. Marion stumbles across Fronk Kneishitz, a wealthy German, who offers to take her traveling around the world and conceal the identity of her son in order to avoid persecution.… Read the rest here
Theatrical poster for Circus
The 1936 Russian Soviet film, Circus, directed by Grigori Aleksandrov and Isidor Simkov, tells the story of a famous American performer, Marion Dixon, as she flees from the United States after persecution from giving birth to a black child. She goes with a corrupt theatrical agent, Franz von Kneishitz, who looks suspiciously like Adolf Hitler, to Russia where she becomes a circus performer. After falling in love with another performer, Ivan Petrovich Martinov, von Kneishitz becomes jealous and not only prevents her from staying with Petrovich, but actively abuses Marion, despite claiming to love her.… Read the rest here
Aleksandrov and Simkov’s 1936 work of “Circus” combines the elements of farce, comedy, vaudeville, and melodrama in order to produce a ubiquitously enjoyable, light-hearted tale of heroism in the face of adversity laced with prominent themes of existing world politics and the Soviet socialist cause. The simple plot revolves mainly around the exploits of a fictitious American circus performer, Marion Dixon, and her engagements in love and peril as she tries to seek sanctuary in the Soviet Union in an attempt to escape the bigoted derision she faces in America at the cause of her being the mother to a black child.… Read the rest here
The 1936 Soviet film “Circus” follows Marion Dixon, an American woman who flees to the USSR after giving birth to a biracial child. Once in Russia, Marion becomes a popular circus artist and falls in love with a fellow performer, Petrovich Martynov. The film was laced with comical antics and melodramatic, intertwining romances, but the end blatantly revealed underlying political messages concerning race and nationality, and the power of the Soviet government to inspire and mobilize its population.… Read the rest here