“The Continual Triumph of Apollo: Nijinsky’s Sarabande, Ballets Russes Baroque & Diaghilev’s Love Affair with the 18th Century”

Millicent Hodson & Kenneth ArcherThe 2018 Annual Lecture was given by two experts in the reconstruction, indeed the ‘archaeology’, of early 20th century dance. Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer are an internationally known dance and design team called Ballets Old & New, who create facsimiles of lost works such as Nijinsky’s The Rite of Spring & Balanchine’s Le Chant du Rossignol.  They are international prize winners and recent residential fellows at the Center for Ballet and the Arts, New York University. Their book, The Lost Rite (2014), chronicles their detective work on The Rite of Spring. Their lecture explored how Nijinsky might have used his training at the Imperial Ballet, where he was influenced by a baroque aesthetic that was also very dear to Serge Diaghilev.

Many video clips and images were shown from Fokine’s use of historical dance in transition from Petipa with Pavilion d’Armide (1909);

Picasso's costume for Pulchinella 1920

Picasso’s costume for Pulchinella 1920

Massine’s Feuillet-inspired comedy of courtly manners in The Good Humoured Ladies (1917) and “street Baroque” of his commedia dell’arte Pulchinella (1920); Nijinsky’s updated 18th century ballets (1924); Massine’s celebration of Empress Elizabeth with modern stage machinery and cinematic decor in Ode (1928) and finally Balanchine’s surrealist baroque in Le Bal (1929). Nijinsky’s Abandoned Sarabande was also be discussed in view of the related workshop on Saturday.

The lecture was part talk, part video screening and part performance. So a text would not reproduce it as much as the follow on the resources provided below on this page. The talk represented notes towards a book with Catherine Turocy, Claudia Jeschke and Doug Fullington, planned title, “Ballets Russes Baroque”, so it is premature to publish a full text at this point.

NOTE Hodson and Archer’s book, “The Lost Rite”, is available on Amazon at quite a price.  However, one can read excerpts prior to purchase and see a lot of the book without having to pay for it.


“The Three Graces and Disgraces of Jeux”

This is the introduction to Millicent Hodson’s book on the re-constucted choreography of this ballet, might be the most useful as a follow up to the EDC people who interested interest in some follow up. Text from Millicent Hodson, Nijinsky’s Bloomsbury Ballet: Reconstruction of the Dance and Design for Jeux Pendragon Press, 2008.