Exploring an Unrealized Ballet and its Cultural Context: Paris 1909 to 1915
This multi-era workshop will create an historical/cultural context to explore Nijinsky’s notes revealing his choreographic ideas for a sarabande to music of Bach: “to be as pure dancing as his music was pure sound.” How did he view Bach’s music? Did he apply his own interest in cosmology to this ballet? Did popular dances at the Parisian dance halls and clubs influence his own choreographic revolution in the world of ballet? Join us and be a part of this unique experience!
Workshop events will include dance classes and lectures in Baroque ballet, Nijinsky’s own dance technique (as Hodson has extracted it from her reconstruction of three ballets), popular social dance of the time (highlighting the African influence on French café life and art in the first quarter of the 20th century) as well as panel discussions and informal conversations. Thirty classes and lectures will be offered. Students will pick and choose which classes to take. From 4-4:30 each day the dance students will give a quick showing of what was taught so everyone present can be familiar with the body of work being discussed.
Faculty will include Nijinsky specialist, Millicent Hodson, who will share insights from Nijinsky’s personal notation system and notes. Hodson is the foremost international expert on his choreography and that of the Ballet Russes, not only publishing articles and books on the subject, but also mounting reconstructions of these ballets on major ballet companies across Europe.
Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director of the NYBDC and internationally acclaimed expert of Baroque and Pre-classical ballets, will lead classes and discussions on 18th century dance and dance theory which catapulted ballet into the future as an art form.
Juliet McMains (on faculty at UW and a professional ballroom dancer) will join our guest teacher, soon to be
announced, guiding students through turn of the century dances from the clubs and dance halls of Paris.
Marcea Daiter will lecture on the African influence on dance and music in Paris during the first quarter of the 20th century. She has joined the NYBDC in workshops before, sharing her knowledge of French colonial dance in Haiti.
What will be taught?
Baroque dances will include the sarabande (featuring a virtuosic male sarabande to be compared to Nijinsky’s outline for a sarabande), minuet, pavane, passacaille and the Tennis Dance of Lambranzi.
From the 20th century Turocy will teach The Scarf Drill (1906) highlighting the legacy of 18th century gesture and postures adapted to a more modern style which is shared in Nijinsky’s choreography. The dance is found in a book, Masquerades, Tableaux and Drills, published by a leading fashion-pattern house, the Butterick Publishing Company. The book provided suggestions for home entertainments on costumes and hair styles, as well as instructions for conducting tableaux, poses plastiques, and living pictures; a large section was also devoted to choreographies for fancy drills. This subject relates directly to Nijinsky’s audience and what they expected to see onstage.
Nijinsky’s Sarabande was never realized, but his notes for this ballet to Bach’s music have been examined and studied by Millicent Hodson. She will guide the class through Nijinsky’s ideas, teach students his technique and briefly introduce his dance notation system. “My goal in this project with you is to explore how Nijinsky’s “New Dance, as he called it, could have been adapted to what he clearly knew of Baroque style from the Ballets Russes repertoire. ” Together, Hodson and Turocy will examine “the evidence” and create dance exercises for the students, using this rare opportunity for a practical class centered on Nijinsky’s choreographic vision.
Hodson will also cover in class or her lecture, the Abduction double pas de deux from The Rite of Spring which she has proven to be based on the Apache as well as her evidence of the Turkey Trot influencing Nijinsky’s choreography for Jeux.
Studying social and theatrical dance together with mixing professional dancers and dance enthusiasts creates a synergy between the two groups which enlightens discussion. Dances chosen to give the students an idea of Parisian society and night life during the Ballet Russes period includes: The Animal Dances, Ragtime, Cakewalk, the Beguine, Tango, Foxtrot, Turkey Trot and the Apache.
Marcea Daiter will lecture on Austin (Asadata) Dafora Horton, (1890-1965) born into a Creole family in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Dafora received a European education and also studied indigenous African culture. Later he studied voice in Italy at the Milan and La Scala opera houses from 1910 and 1912. As a result of his operatic training he toured England, France and Germany in “L’Africanne” and “Aida,” circa 1912. In 1910 he crossed over to dance, touring in dance halls and nightclubs in Europe. He formed a group that performed West African dances. Dafora was struck by how ignorant most people were about Africa and dedicated the rest of his career to exposing people to African culture, eventually moving to NYC. Looking at his life in Europe will help to build a context for the Parisian passion with African culture and its effect on the arts, even the Ballet Russes.
Doug Fullington has been invited to participate on a panel discussion looking at reconstructing from period notations. He will be sharing his experience with Pacific Northwest Ballet in mounting Giselle and Sleeping Beauty
(ballets Nijinsky would have performed) from the Stepanov notation system of the 19th century.
We are currently waiting for responses from other artists covering Serge Diaghilev and Bronislava Nijinsky, an historical social dance expert, and a local folk ensemble specializing in Ukrainian and Polish dances.
Anna Mansbridge, Artistic Director of Seattle Early Dance, and her dancers have agreed to participate.
Location: We are very grateful to Chair Jennifer Salk of the Dance Program at the University of Washington in Seattle for welcoming our workshop. All classes will take place in the beautiful studios of UW Dance Program
Click here for the workshop schedule (subject to change): 2017 Class Schedule
Click here to register for the workshop: 2017-registration-and-waiver The form can be mailed to the address listed on the page or e-mailed to Marci Hall at the link below.
Email Marci Hall for the latest news on the workshop including an Early Registration Discount on Tuition: email@example.com
Below is an example of dorm living.
Millicent Hodson, dance detective, read her latest book with Kenneth Archer, co-author,