L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Michel Fokine and Vera Fokina in costume for Shéhérazade, Les Ballets Russes, 1914

The French language programme for the 1914 season, artwork by Valentine Gross.

Mikhail Mikhailovich Fokin (April 23, 1880, St. Petersburg – August 22, 1942, New York City) - most commonly, the French version of his name, Michel Fokine, is used - was a Russian dancer, and one of dance history's most important and most innovative choreographers.  He is best known for his work during the early, pre-war seasons of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.  Vera Fokina, born Vera Petrovna Antonova (August 3, 1886 – July 29, 1958, New York City), married Fokine in 1905 and, later, also danced with the Ballets Russes, frequently as a partner to her husband.

Diaghilev and Fokine had quarreled in 1912 over the seeming preference given by Diaghilev to the nascent choreographic efforts of his protégé, the great Nijinsky.  After Nijinsky's marriage late the next year, and his subsequent dismissal from the company, Diaghilev, with much effort, convinced Fokine to return for the 1914 season.  Along with creating three new ballets, he and his wife danced the roles of the Golden Slave and Zobéide in Shéhérazade, one of Fokine's greatest choreographic successes.  Having premiered in 1910, with music by Rimsky-Korsakov and costumes and décor by Léon Bakst, this ballet had an almost incalculable influence on the world of fashion and of the arts, and is still studied as an important turning point in the development of modern ballet.

The London programme for 1914.
This particular photograph in the series was obviously the model for the season's progamme.

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