Notebooks of a Future Soviet Ballerina, 1930-31
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus International Affairs Building, Room 1510
Please join the Harriman Institute for a talk by Christina Ezrahi on Natalya Dudinskaya at Leningrad's former Imperial Theatre School. Natalya Dudinskayas (1912-2003) final years at the former Imperial Theatre School in Leningrad coincided with the Soviet cultural revolution, a period that was especially difficult for classical ballet. Dudinskaya, who was to become on of the most famous and powerful ballerinas of Leningrads Kirov Ballet, had dedicated herself to a profession and institution the former Mariinsky Ballet and its school that had reached its artistic pinnacle during the final decades of the nineteenth century. Its repertoire of classical ballets symbolised the splendour of imperial Russia, but during the cultural revolution, classical ballet was attacked as a suspect remnant of the old regime. How did these budding artists reconcile this conflict between the ballets imperial past, which was a daily artistic reality for them, and the ballets Soviet future, which was yet to be determined? In her final year at school, Dudinskaya used the margins and empty pages of her school notebook for personal notes and her private diary. Starting her class notes from the front of the notebook, she simultaneously began to keep a personal diary from the back of the notebook. The class notes and private thoughts of a spirited schoolgirl create a fascinating image of a school where century old artistic traditions coexisted with new experiments in art and Soviet political indoctrination. Christina Ezrahi is an independent scholar and historian of Russian culture with a special interest in Russian ballet. She was educated at the universities of Princeton and Oxford and obtained her PhD at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. She trained as a classical dancer and has reported on Russian ballet for the London-based magazine Dance Europe. Based on new archival sources, her book Swans of the Kremlin. Ballet and Power in Soviet Russia investigates the collision of art and politics during the volatile first fifty years of Soviet power, revealing the remarkable resilience of artistic creativity at the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballet companies. Christina Ezrahi is based in Tel Aviv and London. This event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.