Acosta Danza presented four works to a large and enthusiastic audience at Sadler’s Wells last night. The evening opened with Raúl Reinoso’s Satori, a piece that brought together movement, music, costumes and lighting with strong dramatic effect, unifying them in the dance. The visual impact was powerful right from the start, as spotlights picked out dancers, male and female, surrounded by huge circular skirts that spread around them on the stage. Billowing cloth created the illusion of a mountainous landscape viewed from above, as a dancer bourréed on pointe from side to side, facing the audience, her arms extended, like a hovering bird. (more…)

The Chosen Maiden, a novel by Eva Stachniak, is difficult to place. The “chosen maiden” of the title refers at one level to the young girl chosen by a community for ritual sacrifice in Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The ballet depicting this ritual was choreographed by Nijinsky; and it is Nijinsky’s sister, Bronislava Nijinska, who is the protagonist of Stachniak’s book.

It appears from Stachniak’s account that Bronislava missed dancing the role of the chosen maiden in Paris despite longing to do so. She had become pregnant just as rehearsals for Rite’s opening began and so she was unable to fulfil perhaps the deepest of her many ambitious dreams: to dance the part of the chosen maiden under her brother’s direction and for its dramatic opening. However, as the novel portrays her, Bronislava’s often sad, even tragic, life somehow carried – bore sacrificially – the many painful experiences of her birth family, her country, her profession, her gender and her personal relationships. In this respect the rejections and losses of her life represent the painful submissions of the ballet’s chosen maiden. (more…)

DANSOX presents a guest lecture by distinguished Professor Lynn Garafola (Columbia University) who will discuss her work on Bronislawa Nijinska, one of the twentieth century’s greatest modernist choreographers.  Professor Garafola will explore Nijinska’s position as Nijinsky’s sister and her career in a male-dominated group of directors and choreographers associated with the Ballets Russes.  She will also talk about the creation of iconic works of the Twenties by Nijinska including Les Noces, Les Biches, and Le Train Bleu, as well as less well-known pieces, and describe Nijinska’s ventures inside and outside the Diaghilev circle.

Date:  Thursday 10th November, 17.30-19.30

Venue:  Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, St Hilda’s College, Cowley Place, Oxford OX4

The event is free and open to all and will be followed by a drinks reception in the JdP Foyer.

You can register to attend here

To find out more about DANSOX and its programme of events:

susan.jones@ell.ox.ac.uk

http://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/dansox

The North Wall is delighted to announce that Scotland-based Company Chordelia will bring Nijinsky’s Last Jump to Oxford as the only English venue on its UK tourAt Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015, the show gained wide acclaim amongst critics, described by The Guardian as ‘one of the gems of this year’s Edinburgh fringe.’

Created, directed and choreographed by Company Chordelia’s Artistic Director Kally Lloyd-Jones Nijinsky’s Last Jump combines theatre and dance to evoke the legendary 20th Century dancer Vaslav Nijinky’s journey from global success to the desolate isolation of mental illness. As the passionate obsession of the young Nijinsky (Darren Brownlie) comes face to face with the searching inner life of the older Nijinsky (James Bryce), this sharp and tender show portrays a poignant intimacy of genius and madness, youth and age, both the performing and private self.  Inspired by the rhythmic obsession of Nijinsky’s diaries, Young and Old Nijinsky consider their life together, on and off stage, trying to make sense of the loss of self. (more…)

Serge Oukrainsky’s gossipy and sometimes catty memoire is very personal account, told largely from memory, of the ballet world in the early 20th century.  After a difficult childhood spent shuttling between Russia and France on his father’s whim, a pawn between estranged parents, aged 15 he embarked on a career as a painter.  He was over 25 when a chance remark at a dinner gave him the opportunity to take ballet classes with Ivan Clustine, initially with a view to partnering Nathalie Trouhanowa in some performances at the Chatelet Theatre.  In 1913 he joined Pavlova’s company, also meeting his long-term companion Andreas Pavley, and the book tells the story of his travels, including a narrow escape from Paris in 1914.

Anna Pavlova is barely mentioned before chapter 10.  At first, her performance failed to impress Oukrainsky (partly on account of her costumes), with the exception of Papillion [sic]:  “she appeared to me incomparable.  She was indeed a true butterfly … “.  (more…)

 Boston Ballet’s final performance at the London Coliseum began and ended with George Balanchine:  Serenade to open the programme, and Symphony in Three Movements to close it, with Vaslav Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun and Jorma Elo’s Plan to B in between.

This Serenade was a very different to the Maryinsky’s, which I saw in London in 2009.  Boston Ballet’s dancers were less perfectly uniform in appearance and style than the Russians, but what they lacked in precision they made for with a confident athletic vigour that gave them ownership of the ballet.  Afternoon of a Faun was less successful.  (more…)