I have long been fascinated with the Ballets Russes USA tours in 1916 and 1917. Last year for Arts+Culture Texas I researched the week the company spent in Texas. The following article is reproduced with permission from Arts + Culture. In early December 1916 Vaslav Nijinsky, the greatest dancer alive, spent a week in Texas.… Continue reading The week Nijinsky spent in Texas
The origin of the Jacob's Pillow Costume Collection falls into two categories; those costumes kept by Ted Shawn and those kept by Ruth St. Denis. In 1932 after the Denishawn Company had finally disbanded the costumes, props and sets were divided between Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis. Each dancer kept items which were particularly… Continue reading Trunks, costumes and lots of (acid-free) tissue paper…
Dance We Must is designed to highlight the careers of Modern Dance pioneers Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, utilising many unseen items from the extensive archive at Jacob’s Pillow.
When I was in LA last month I was able to go and see the wonderful exhibition Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage at LACMA. The exhibition runs until January 7, 2018. It is a wonderful opportunity to see the costume and set designs created by Marc Chagall. Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage showcases 41 costumes and nearly 100 designs… Continue reading Chagall: Fantasies for The Stage
So to get to Chicago I decided to take historical research to a new level and in a bid to relive the Ballets Russes tour I got the train. The 18 hour from D.C. to Chicago. While train travel may have been glamorous in 1916 - it is not now. It was however a lot… Continue reading Adventures of a Travelling Historian – Chicago
The Ballets Russes visited Washington D.C. twice in 1916. The first time was in March from the 23rd - 25th when the company performed at the National Theatre. They performed Cleopatra, Le Spectre de la Rose, Midnight Sun, Carnaval, Les Sylphides, L'après-midi d'un faune, Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor, and Scheherazade. The company returned… Continue reading Finding Nijinsky in Washington D.C.
After a week in New York City I hit the road once more and made my way to Washington D.C. I really like this city and not just because it has a huge amount of museums and the they are pretty much all free - but that is certainly a big factor! Here are a… Continue reading Adventures of a Travelling Historian – Washington D.C.
The surprisingly successful failure Over the next month I am planning on following and researching (in a very small way) the route of the supposedly ill-fated Ballets Russes USA tour of 1916. This tour was led by Nijinsky and has often been deemed a failure, as has the première of his last ballet Till… Continue reading Finding Nijinsky in NYC
So after three months of living at Jacob's Pillow - in the middle of the woods of Massachusetts - I finally packed up my suitcase and hit the road (well train/ bus) once more. For the next months I am travelling across the US visiting museums, libraries and dance companies in what will be the… Continue reading Adventures of a travelling historian – NYC
One week ago the 85th season at Jacob's Pillow, in woods of Massachusetts, came to a close. The last event of the action packed 10 weeks was a film screening of Wendy Whelan: Restless Creature and a Q&A with the great dancer herself - by 7 o'clock it was all over. That evening the production… Continue reading Summer at the Pillow