Lidia Ivanova’s death in a boating ‘accident’ in 1924 remains one of ballet history’s unexplained mysteries, but she did not disappear without trace. Elizabeth Kendall’s meticulously researched book does not solve the puzzle of how or why she died, but she does lift this remarkable dancer out of her shadowy existence as a tragic footnote in her contemporaries’ memoirs and place her centre stage.

A friend and rival of Alexandra Danilova at the Imperial Ballet School, Ivanova had early success of one kind or another both on stage and off. Danilova’s memoir notes that Ivanova was expected to inherit the roles of ballerina Elena Smirnova; Tamara Geva’s that Ivanova was rumoured to be on ‘intimate terms with some shady government official’ and that she was said to be ‘close to all the Communist biggies’. (more…)

16th October saw the launch of a major new work of dance scholarship by Dr Susan Jones, Fellow and Tutor, St Hilda’s College, Oxford.  Susan Jones spent fifteen years as a soloist with the Scottish Ballet in Glasgow before becoming an academic. She now teaches English at Oxford, and has written on Joseph Conrad, modernism, and dance history and aesthetics.  Literature, Modernism, and Dance is published by Oxford University Press and is the first extended study of the relationship between dance and literary modernism; it opens up new ways of thinking about modernism by showing the dialogue between dance and literary aesthetics.  It recovers the importance of literature for modernist choreographers, and raises the importance of dance as site for literary scholarship. (more…)