Review by Choice Review
Souritz, a dance historian and head of the Dance Section of the Moscow Institute of the History of the Arts, has contributed to a number of encyclopedias on dance. Now, using previously inaccessible Soviet archival and press materials, photographs, sketches, and the reminiscences of dancers, designers, and choreographers, she has rewritten Soviet ballet history. Souritz has thoroughly researched this lucid, well-organized, and eminently readable book, first published in Russian in 1979. It is a definitive study of the formative years of Soviet ballet, from 1917 to the beginning of the Stalin era in the 1930s. Although this is one of the most important periods in ballet history, it has been one of the least documented and Souritz has made an extremely important contribution in terms of ballet history, theater history, art history, and Soviet studies in general. Banes's insightful introduction to the English edition sets the scene in context: freedom and innovation accompanying the Revolution, the rise of Socialist Realism and gradual narrowing of stylistic freedom, the merger of folk traditions and imported European ballet into the Soviet ballet known today. Souritz describes in great detail these aesthetic and cultural confrontations; the adaptations, accommodations, and survival of ballet in circuses, cabaret, and children's theater; and its major influence on the development of American ballet. Especially exiting are the accounts of the influence of Goleizovsky on the early career of Balanchine. Excellent notes and photographs. Both public and academic libraries. -C. T. Bond, Goucher College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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