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The Ballets Russes and Beyond
Music and Dance in Belle-Époque Paris


Part of New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism

  • Date Published: October 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316623633

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About the Authors
  • Belle-époque Paris witnessed the emergence of a vibrant and diverse dance scene, one that crystallized around the Ballets Russes, the Russian dance company formed by impresario Sergey Diaghilev. The company has long served as a convenient turning point in the history of dance, celebrated for its revolutionary choreography and innovative productions. This book presents a fresh slant on this much-told history. Focusing on the relation between music and dance, Davinia Caddy approaches the Ballets Russes with a wide-angled lens that embraces not just the choreographic, but also the cultural, political, theatrical and aesthetic contexts in which the company made its name. In addition, Caddy examines and interprets contemporary French dance practices, throwing new light on some of the most important debates and discourses of the day.

    • Represents an important and provocative revision in dance historiography, encouraging readers to think afresh about well-known dance practices and productions
    • Situates music and dance within a variety of contexts - theatrical, cultural, intellectual, aesthetic and even scientific - specific to the period, presenting a wide-angled view of the contemporary scene and the interrelations between the arts, society and culture
    • Presents an antidote to the broadly acknowledged innovations of the Ballets Russes, opening up new lines of enquiry, and situating the Russian company at the centre of intense debate within the French press
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This richly absorbing study of the Ballets Russes in Paris illuminates the interplay (both synthesis and disjunction) between music and gesture in modernist choreography on the lyric stage. Davinia Caddy makes a vital and beautifully written contribution to our understanding of ways of using the body in opera and ballet in the early twentieth century.' Susan Rutherford, University of Manchester

    'Elegantly written, meticulously researched, The Ballets Russes and Beyond is a major contribution, offering fresh perspectives on Diaghilev's troupe and its impact. With keen insight and broad vision, Davinia Caddy illuminates the meaning of dance in belle-époque Paris and immerses the reader in a culture of beauty, innovation, and artistic intrigue.' Mary E. Davis, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio

    'Fresh perspective … an interpretative study that reaps rich rewards … this book will inspire many other interrogative and revisionist accounts to come of the Russian Ballet, and of twentieth-century dance more generally.' Emma Adlard, Notes

    'This fascinating book is supported by visual examples and a copious bibliography. Much wider reading is provided in the footnotes (which readily links theoretical writings to the issues raised in the press) and French quotations are clearly translated and presented as parallel texts. The book will be of interest to scholars (and students) in music, musicology, dance history and art history. It is a significant and refreshing contribution to the field.' Helen Julia Minors, Slavonic and East European Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316623633
    • length: 254 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus. 15 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: Le Génie de la danse
    2. Ballet at the Opéra and La Fête chez Thérèse
    3. Nijinsky's Faune revisited
    4. Metaphors of invasion: the Ballets Russes and the French press
    5. Beyond and behind Le Coq d'or.

  • Author

    Davinia Caddy, University of Auckland
    Davinia Caddy is Senior Lecturer at the School of Music, University of Auckland. Her articles and reviews have appeared in publications including the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 19th-Century Music, the Cambridge Opera Journal, Music and Letters and Opera Quarterly.

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