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Machines and Maidens: Russian Dance in America

Dr. Mark Konecny, Associate Director and Curator of the archives and library of the Institute of Modern Russian Culture, a unique collection of twentieth century books, art, and cultural artifacts. His area of expertise is the interdisciplinary study of Russian and European culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He is currently putting together a digital exhibition of Russian art collections in America, concentrating on the first half of the twentieth century. With Lorin Johnson, he curated the exhibition, “Dance in Los Angeles”, which traveled from Los Angeles to the Bakhrushin Theater Gallery on Malaia Ordynka, 10-26 July. He is on fellowship with the Jordan Family Center, New York University.

MARK KONEKNY_TALK IMAGE_Theodore Kosloff in Cecil B. DeMille's Madam Satan_1930

Dr. Konecny will examine how Russian choreographers and dancers tried to adapt dance to the new medium of film (both silent and talkies) while democratizing their chosen art for mass culture. While most historians have concentrated on the elitist dances of Ballets Russes, Michel Fokine, and George Balanchine as emblematic of the influence of Russian choreographers on ballet, he would like to suggest an alternate history with an unlikely father: Nijinsky. While Russian dance is often associated with the flawless technical virtuosity of classical ballet, the actual history is much more a description of the vibrant evolution of modern dance and choreography that Russians were able to present to eager audiences of the new world. Innovators like George Balanchine, Adolph Bolm, and Theodore Kosloff transformed ballet in ways that are, to this day, unimaginable in Russia.

Thursday, September 24, 2015
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
RKC Laszlo Z. Bito ‘ 60 Auditorium (RKC 103)