Anne Searcy’s scholarly and highly readable book examines the impact of US – Soviet cultural exchanges during the Cold War through the lens of the Bolshoi Ballet’s 1959 and 1962 tours of the USA, and the tours by American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet of the Soviet Union in 1960 and 1962 respectively.  Searcy draws on an impressive array of Russian and English archival resources and contemporaneous reviews to reconstruct and understand the way in which these companies, their works, and their performances were received by audiences at the time.  She offers new material and a new view point focussed on the reception of the dance, rather than its presentation.

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The Phoenix Picturehouse is offering a season of live ballet transmissions of the Bolshoi Ballet, from the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow.  First up this autumn is the Bolshoi’s acclaimed signature work, Spartacus on Sunday 20th October.  Captured by the Roman army, Spartacus and Phrygia are condemned to slavery. After becoming a gladiator, Spartacus foments a legendary rebellion.  This grandiose epic is one of composer Aram Khachaturian’s most famous works, and has been considered one of the greatest ballets in the Bolshoi repertoire since the 1960s, notably providing two great roles for generations of male dancers, the heroic Spartacus and charismatic villain Crassus.  A production with spectacular choreography and dancing, Yuri Grigorovich’s version remains the most critically acclaimed. (more…)