In 1924-25 impresario Sergei Diaghilev, director of the Ballets Russes, expressed the earnest desire to put before his public a ballet that would represent the theatrical and social innovations of post-revolutionary Rus- sia. To this end, he commissioned a score from Sergei Prokofiev, designs from Georgii Yakulov, and choreography from Leonide Massine: the bal- let became known as Le Pas dacierl and was performed in Paris and London during the summer of 1927. There is a certain irony in the notion of a ballet, inspired by the new Soviet republic, being produced by Di- aghilev's Ballets Russes. After all, the company was a focal point for White Russian emigres, most of whom were far from sympathetic to the Soviet Union, and it depended for its patronage on aristocrats and high society.2 Although Diaghilev was never afraid to bite the hand that fed him, the late 1920s witnessed a growing fear of Bolshevism in Western Europe, particularly after England's General Strike in 1926. How paradox- ical it would be, therefore, if Le Pas d'Acier proved to be the finest Russian or, rather, Soviet Constructivist ballet of the 1920s, one pro- duced not in Moscow but in Paris!3 *This essay
Experiment – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1996
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