Ballet's Magic Kingdom Selected Writings on Dance in Russia, 1911-1925 Akim Volynsky, Stanley J. Rabinowitz, Stanley J. Rabinowitz, Stanley J. Rabinowitz
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- Publication date:
- 01 May 2009
- 352 pages: 229 x 152 x 22mm
- 24 black-&-white illustrations in a gallery
Akim Volynsky was a Russian literary critic, journalist, and art historian who became Saint Petersburg's liveliest and most prolific ballet critic in the early part of the twentieth century. This book, the first English edition of his provocative and influential writings, provides a striking look at life inside the world of Russian ballet at a crucial era in its history. Stanley Rabinowitz selects and translates forty of Volynsky's articles - vivid eyewitness accounts that sparkle with details about the careers and personalities of such dance luminaries as Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Fokine, Tamara Karsavina, and George Balanchine, at that time a young dancer in the Maryinsky company whose keen musical sense and creative interpretive power Volynsky was one of the first to recognize. Rabinowitz also translates Volynsky's magnum opus, "The Book of Exaltations", an elaborate meditation on classical dance technique that is at once a primer and an ideological treatise. Throughout his writings Volynsky emphasizes the spiritual and ethereal qualities of ballet, argues Rabinowitz in his critical introduction which sets Volynsky's life and work against the backdrop of the principal intellectual currents of the time.
Stanley J. Rabinowitz is Henry Steele Commager Professor and professor of Russian, Amherst College, and director of the Amherst Center for Russian Culture.
"'This is a fantastic book... Not since the precise and furious writings of Lincoln Kirstein have we read (in English) such informed, cultured and unapologetically opinionated prose on ballet... uncompromising, impassioned and refreshing... This book is a must for anyone claiming a love of ballet, but it is also the perfect antidote for anyone who still thinks ballet is merely a pretty spectacle with pretty girls.' Toni Bentley, International Herald Tribune 'An extremely important contribution to the literature on dance.' Lynn Garafola, author of The Ballet Russes and Its World"