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Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in the American Midwest

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in the American Midwest SAMUEL N. DORF Diaghilev’s Ballets Russe s in the American Midwest The Ballets Russes’s wild success in Europe and the international fame of its star dancers stirred the imaginations of Americans across the country, many of whom knew little about the company beyond reports of scan - dalous premiers in Paris and pictures in Vanity Fair and Vogue. When Diaghilev arrived in the United States without Nijinsky and Karsavina, the fashionable dance troupe seemed to have lost some of the splendor seen in glossy magazines. Poor box office receipts, unfamiliar venues and audiences, exhausted and poorly paid musicians and dancers, and mixed reviews in the press did not help. But the reception of the Ballets Russes in America was more multifaceted than a cursory glance at the reviews may suggest. While we cannot deny that Diaghilev’s US tour failed to live up to expectations, it is important to remember that what might constitute a flop for one audience may be a revelation for another. The tepid reception of the US tours of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1916 and 1917 needs to be seen in light of the company’s previous successes in Europe and the absence of their star, Vaslav http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in the American Midwest

American Music , Volume 39 (4) – May 4, 2022

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

SAMUEL N. DORF Diaghilev’s Ballets Russe s in the American Midwest The Ballets Russes’s wild success in Europe and the international fame of its star dancers stirred the imaginations of Americans across the country, many of whom knew little about the company beyond reports of scan - dalous premiers in Paris and pictures in Vanity Fair and Vogue. When Diaghilev arrived in the United States without Nijinsky and Karsavina, the fashionable dance troupe seemed to have lost some of the splendor seen in glossy magazines. Poor box office receipts, unfamiliar venues and audiences, exhausted and poorly paid musicians and dancers, and mixed reviews in the press did not help. But the reception of the Ballets Russes in America was more multifaceted than a cursory glance at the reviews may suggest. While we cannot deny that Diaghilev’s US tour failed to live up to expectations, it is important to remember that what might constitute a flop for one audience may be a revelation for another. The tepid reception of the US tours of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1916 and 1917 needs to be seen in light of the company’s previous successes in Europe and the absence of their star, Vaslav

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: May 4, 2022

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