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Extra info for Ballet, 2nd Edition (World of Dance)
She is perhaps best known for becoming the first ballerina to tour the world and is also held in high esteem for originating the role of the Dying Swan, a solo ballet performance. The Russians Bring Ballet to the World 59 The Soviet Revolution Yields Balanchine and More As if nurturing many of the century’s greatest European dancers and choreographers were not enough, Ballets Russes also contained the seed of America’s ballet future in the form of a young dancer named Georgi Balanchivadze, who left Soviet Russia in 1924 to join Diaghilev and his fellow dancers in Monte Carlo, where Ballets Russes had stationed itself after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
His Lettres sur la Danse et sur les Ballets (Letters on Dancing and Ballets) is one of the founding treatises on ballet, outlining his theories of ballet d’action—namely, that dance and dance alone could be its own art form and sustain drama, narrative, and emotion. With Noverre’s help, in due course, the new art form began to be practiced by devoted professionals instead of aristocratic amateurs whose main goal was to throw a memorable party. 32 BALLET Depicted in this seventeenth-century painting, Italian-born JeanBaptiste Lully was first a dancer for Louis XIV, and then, in the 1650s and 1660s, he composed several ballet scores for the king.
One dancer commented that, instead of aspiring to the lightness and grace typical of ballet, Nijinsky actually constructed the dance so that every movement actually caused physical pain, as if the dancers’ bodies were being thrown heavily around the stage. The audience didn’t quite know what to make of it all. Boos and jeers almost drowned out the orchestra, men came to blows, and outside the theater a riot erupted. Nijinsky, Stravinsky, and Ballets Russes impresario Serge Diaghilev were said to be despondent afterward.