Elizabeth Souritz

Translated by Irene Huntoon
Preface by Selma Jeanne Cohen

Drawing of BlasisBorn in Italy and trained in France, Carlo Blasis left his mark on mid-nineteenth-century ballet as a choreographer, theorist, and p├ędagogue extraordinaire who trained the first generation of great Italian ballerinas. In 1861, he went to Russia, where he spent the next several years teaching at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, reviving and restaging ballets from the company’s repertory, and mounting new productions.

Written by Russia’s foremost dance historian, Elizabeth Souritz, this short book offers a full account of the four works Blasis choreographed for the Bolshoi – Faust (1861), Two Days in Venice, or The Venetian Carnival (1862), Orfa (1862), andPygmalion (1863) – as well as one that failed to materialize, Cagliostro. It also includes a discussion of Blasis’s last book, a fascinating but little-known volume written in Russian and published in Moscow in 1864. Entitled Tantsy voobshche, baletnye znamenitosti i natsional’nye tantsy (Dances in General, Ballet Celebrities, and National Dances), it is probably the best single source of information about the era’s Bolshoi dancers.

As is her custom, Souritz pieces together her story from a host of archival sources and an encyclopedic knowledge of Bolshoi history. She has created a small treasure.

"Now we have a detailed account of the works [Blasis] choreographed in Moscow, based not only on contemporary notices in the press but also on extensive archival material. . . . From Souritz’s meticulous research we learn a great deal about Blasis [and] about the Russian theater of his time – its manner of working, its values, and its critics." – Selma Jeanne Cohen

Elizabeth Souritz is the author of Soviet Choreographers in the 1920s (Duke University Press, 1990), which won the De la Torre Bueno Prize in 1991 as the outstanding work on dance published in the previous year. She is associated with Moscow’s Institute for Research in the Arts.

SDHS publications

Studies in Dance History SDHS’s monograph series, published by University of Wisconsin Press, answers a growing demand for works that provide fresh analytical perspectives on dancing, dancers, and dances in a global context. Read more...

[cover of 2014 Conversations] Issued yearly in early spring generally, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies reflects the dynamic and diverse membership of SDHS. We seek to bring you themes and debates current in the field of dance studies and the profession, alongside news from the international community of scholars in dance and related disciplines. Read more...

conferences

SDHS Special Topics Conference, “Dance as Experience: Progressive Era Origins and Legacies”, March 26–28, 2015 in Baltimore, MD.

Conference 2015, Cut & Paste: Dance Advocacy in the Age of Austerity, a joint SDHS and CORD conference, will be held June 4–7, 2015 in Athens, Greece. Applications are now being accepted for the Selma Jeanne Cohen Award and the Graduate Student Travel Award.

news