Tag Archive: Léonide Massine

A Teaser

“Diaghilev. The Dress Rehearsal”
New Tretyakov Gallery
Moscow, Russia
December 2022

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2023 by Ilona Landgraf

1. M.Larionov (1881-1964), Sergei Diaghilev, 1920 – 1930; paper, black ink, pen, 27 x 20 © Tretyakov Gallery 2. Unknown artist, poster for a performance of the Ballets Russes 1927 © Tretyakov Gallery Sergei Diaghilev’s name is nearly synonymous with the art of ballet. Well-versed in both arts and business, he succeeded not only as a writer and curator, but indelibly as the founder and cunning impresario of the Ballets Russes.
From 1906 onwards, foreseeing political and cultural paralysis at home in Russia, Diaghilev shifted his activities from St. Petersburg to Paris (and later to other European metropolises). Though his first venture (an exhibition of Russian paintings at Paris’s new Salon d’Automne) earned him laurels, he soon turned away from museums towards the ballet stage. The Ballets Russes became the core focus of his life – and it’s because of them that the western art of ballet was reinvigorated. As Stravinsky stated, “it is to [Diaghilev], that we owe the recent development of choreographic art in the entire world.” (more…)

Pieces by Maliphant, Limón and Massine Put to the Test

“Forever Young”
Bavarian State Ballet
National Theater
Munich, Germany
February 01, 2014

by Ilona Landgraf
Copyright © 2014 by Ilona Landgraf

1. Nikita Korotkov and Ekaterina Petina, Broken Fall by Russell Maliphant, Forever Young, Bavarian State Ballet“Forever young”, claims the Bavarian State Ballet, are the pieces on this eponymous triple bill, which premiered last season. At least two of them – “The Moor’s Pavane”, choreographed in 1949 by modern dance icon José Limón, and “Choreartium”, choreographed in 1933 by Léonide Massine – are said to be masterpieces exempt from aging. The third, Russell Maliphant’s “Broken Fall”, dating from 2003, has yet to prove its endurance.

The evening started with the contemporary “Broken Fall” and turned back along the timeline to the modernist classics. Created for the Royal Ballet, or more precisely for Sylvie Guillem, the Maliphant work toys with gravity and the risk of falling by challenging the body control of three dancers. It tests the limits of mutual trust. Set to artificial soundscapes by Berry Adamson, the atmosphere was slightly surreal. Two men and one woman – Matej Urban, Nikita Korotkov and Ekaterina Petina -, bare foot and clad in shorts and simple tops, gave little samples of their abilities in passing. They seemed cool professionals engaged in casual training. Their interactions began with slow motion lifts and counterbalances, the interactions becoming more and more risky. Petina’s knee pads seemed to proclaim that, in the sports context, no hazard would be avoided. The three dancers’ faces were, aptly, serious throughout. Although the dancing had the appearance of contact improvisation, it lacked spontaneity and play. Everything was too well-calculated. Lifts and falls were audacious, yet all motion had a smooth quality with the transitions, especially, being softened. Consequently, the interaction of strongly contrasting forces was pretty much watered down. What we got was a physical gymnastics demonstration. Petina, in her final solo which included some classical dance vocabulary, had feline strength, radiated power and was expressive – more so than anything preceding this display.