Discussion Group: The British Reception of Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces and the General Strike

Styalised poster of a women in black outline looking left while faded orange dancers are to her right with blue accents

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Join us to discuss the British reception of Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces, a ballet choreographed for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in 1923 that offered music by Igor Stravinsky and costumes by Natalia Goncharova. When Les Noces first came to London in 1926, it was just months after Britain’s General Strike had stirred a nationalist response and heightened Russophobia, intensifying suspicions of Bolshevism and its associated aesthetics. Our discussion will consider how this broader anti-Russian sentiment came to bear on the British critical response to the ground-breaking work produced by Nijinska, who was herself Polish-born, Russian-trained, and established her School of Movement in Kyiv. We will look at a brief clip of the Royal Ballet’s 1966 revival of Les Noces and read two short reviews from when the ballet first came to London in 1926, then discuss the ballet’s reception in the context of Britain’s evolving relationship with Soviet politics and aesthetics.

 

Lunch will be provided.


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Britain and the Soviet Union: Early Cultural Encounters NetworkTORCH Networks