Vaslav Nijinsky - Wikipedia
Sep 11, Sergei Diaghilev set early 20th-century Paris ablaze with his Ballets Russes – and would see Nijinsky's emergence as a choreographer, with one of the . Diaghilev's physical relationships with his dancers, which to. Jan 16, A turning point for Nijinsky was his meeting with Sergei Diaghilev, Without his mentor's supervision Nijinsky entered a relationship with. Jun 29, Vaslav Nijinsky and Sergei Diaghilev in Nice, SEPTEMBER 1, ( Excerpt) " The windiest militant trash Important Persons shout Is not.
The result is a masterpiece of the bizarre, with Satie's score involving gunshots and clacking typewriter keys. The consummate achievement, however, was Diaghilev's. Over the two decades between that first Paris season and his death inhe kept the venture afloat, sometimes on more than one continent at once, against almost impossible odds. The war of saw the company scattered to the four corners of the globe, while infighting and professional rivalries all took their toll.
From their first performance to Diaghilev's death, the Ballets Russes were in a state of acute financial crisis, and neither the company nor its director ever had a permanent home.
The strategies with which Diaghilev addressed these obstacles are astonishingly modern in their scope. He was a master of spin with a sophisticated understanding of the nature of celebrity and power, a consummate networker, and he knew exactly how to manipulate the press.
Infor example, when Faun opened in London and the critics failed to be shocked, Diaghilev ensured that the ballet was publicised by leaking a private exchange of telegrams between Nijinsky and Debussy to the Daily Mail. Diaghilev was also homosexual, which by the early 20th century opened as many doors as it closed. In St Petersburg he had been a member of an artistically inclined gay clique who socialised together, swapped boyfriends and cruised for sex in the city's parks.
Having come to terms with his sexuality at an early age, he made no attempt to pretend that his tastes lay elsewhere, and according to the composer Nicolas Nabokov, "he was perhaps the first grand homosexual who asserted himself and was accepted as such by society". By he had become the lover of the bisexual Nijinsky, who had been passed on to him by Prince Lvov, a gay St Petersburg dilettante. That Diaghilev didn't bother to conceal the affair infuriated socially conservative elements in the city, and in led to the withdrawal of the tsar's financial support of the Ballets Russes, and Diaghilev's permanent departure from Russia.
But by then he was well established in Europe. In Paris, several years earlier, he had cultivated the poet Robert de Montesquiou, who introduced him to an influential gay network which included Marcel Proust and the young Jean Cocteau. These upper-crust contacts were activated by Diaghilev when the Ballet Russes first arrived in Paris, and did much to ensure the company's word-of-mouth success, as well as providing a useful source of funds when cash was short.
In return for loans, admirers were granted social access to the dancers, who usually played along courteously enough, although Karsavina drew the line at encouraging the lesbian attentions of one Madame Ephrussi, the wife of a prominent backer. Everywhere he went, Diaghilev was careful to cultivate those who might be of assistance.
In London the artistically inclined Marchioness of Ripon helped him out of more than one tight spot, and when Nijinsky was interned in Hungary during the first world war, his release was engineered by diplomatic efforts involving Queen Alexandra of England, the dowager empress of Russia, the king of Spain, the Austrian emperor and the pope. Diaghilev's fascination with the privileged classes would lead to crisis. In a young woman from a prominent Hungarian family, Romola de Pulszky, saw Nijinsky dance in Budapest.
De Pulszky fell in love with Nijinsky and managed to talk Diaghilev into allowing her to travel with the company and take ballet classes with them.
Suspecting nothing, Diaghilev permitted the young Hungarian to accompany the dancers on their first visit to south America inwhile he remained behind in Europe. When he learned that, following a shipboard romance, his star dancer and de Pulszky had got married in Buenos Aires, he was incandescent with rage, and ordered that Nijinsky be sacked.
Tragically, Nijinsky would soon succumb to schizophrenia, and spend the rest of his life in a series of institutions, watched over to the end by his wife. Over the years, Diaghilev would take several of his leading men as lovers, and Nijinsky would be followed by Leonide Massine, Serge Lifar and Anton Dolin. Most seem to have approached the arrangement pragmatically, with Massine commenting that sex with Diaghilev "was like going to bed with a nice fat old lady".
If the impresario suspected a repetition of the Nijinsky debacle, however, he could turn vindictive, as happened in when Massine took up with Vera Savina, one of the company's ballerinas.
According to legend Diaghilev got Savina drunk, stripped her and threw her at Massine with the words: For Diaghilev this was more than a personal betrayal, it was an artistic one. And art, in the closed circle of the Ballets Russes Stravinsky, who was not gay, once commented that Diaghilev was surrounded by "a kind of homosexual Swiss Guard"was akin to religion.
Ballets Russes[ edit ] Vaslav Nijinsky in Scheherazade A turning point for Nijinsky was his meeting the Russian Sergei Diaghileva celebrated and highly innovative producer of ballet and opera, as well as art exhibitions. He concentrated on promoting Russian visual and musical art abroad,  particularly in Paris. The season of colorful Russian ballets and operas, works mostly new to the West, was a great success, leading him to plan a new tour for with a new name for his company, the now famous Ballets Russes.
Nijinsky and Diaghilev became lovers for a time,   and Diaghilev was deeply involved in directing and managing Nijinsky's career.
As a friend and as a leading dancer, Nijinsky was part of the group. His sister wrote that he felt intimidated by the illustrious and aristocratic company. Fokine was asked to start rehearsals for the existing Le Pavillon d'Armide and for Les Sylphidesan expanded version of his Chopiniana. Fokine favoured expanding the existing Une Nuit d'Egypte for a ballet. To round out the program, they needed another ballet. Without sufficient time to compose a new work, they decided on a suite of popular dances, to be called Le Festin.
Anna PavlovaKarsavina and Nijinsky were chosen as principal dancers. Fokine insisted that Ida Rubenstein would appear as Cleopatra, and Nijinsky insisted that his sister should have a part.
Fokine noted Nijinsky's great ability at learning a dance and precisely what a choreographer wanted. Diaghilev departed for Paris in early to make arrangements, which were immediately complicated on the day of his return, 22 Februaryby the death of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovitchwho had sponsored an application by Diaghilev for an imperial subsidy ofroubles for the tour.
No sooner had rehearsals started that the permission was withdrawn, disappearing as had the imperial subsidy. Diaghilev managed to raise some money in Russia, but he had to rely significantly on Gabriel Astrucwho had been arranging theatres and publicity on behalf of the company in France, to also provide finance. Plans to include Opera had to be dropped because of the lack of finances, and logistical difficulties in obtaining necessary scenery at short notice and for free. Members of the company had noticed Diaghilev keeping a particularly proprietorial eye on Nijinsky during rehearsals in Russia.
They took the travel arrangements and accommodation as confirmation of a relationship. Prince Lvov had visited Nijinsky's mother in St Petersburg, telling her tearfully that he would no longer be taking a special interest in her son, but he advanced a significant sum to Diaghilev towards the tour's expenses.
Mavrine was known to have been Diaghilev's lover, but left the tour together with Olga Pedorova shortly after it had begun. The Paris seasons of the Ballets Russes were an artistic and social sensation; setting trends in art, dance, music and fashion for the next decade. His expressive execution of a pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty Tchaikovsky was a tremendous success.
Later seasons[ edit ] Group of supporters and members of the Ballets Russes taken by one of its founders, Nicolas Besobrasov. Taken in3 days before the premiere of Spectre de la rose Inhe performed in Giselleand Fokine's ballets Carnaval and Scheherazade based on the orchestral suite by Rimsky-Korsakov.
His portrayal of " Petrushka ," the puppet with a soul, was a remarkable display of his expressive ability to portray characters. His partnership with Tamara Karsavinaalso of the Mariinsky Theatrewas legendary, and they have been called the "most exemplary artists of the time".
These introduced his audiences to the new direction of modern dance. In The Rite of Spring Le Sacre du Printempswith music by Igor StravinskyNijinsky created choreography that exceeded the limits of traditional ballet and propriety.
The radically angular movements expressed the heart of Stravinsky's radically modern score. Violence broke out in the audience as The Rite of Spring premiered. The theme of the ballet, based on pagan myths, was a young maiden who sacrificed herself by dancing until she died. The theme, the difficult and challenging music of Stravinsky, and Nijinsky's choreography, led to a violent uproar; Diaghilev was pleased with the notoriety.
Vaslav Nijinsky, Nijinsky's work in choreographing ballets had proved controversial. They were time-consuming to rehearse and badly received by critics. Aside from Nijinsky's difficulties, Diaghilev came under pressure from financial backers and theatre owners who wanted productions more in the style of previous successful work. Although Diaghilev had become unhappy with Fokine's work, thinking he had lost his originality, he returned to him for two new ballets, including Joseph.
Relations between Diaghilev and Nijinsky had deteriorated under the stress of Nijinsky's becoming principal choreographer and his pivotal role in the company's financial success. Diaghilev could not face Nijinsky to tell him personally that he would no longer be choreographing the ballet Joseph, but instead asked his sister Bronia Nijinska to deliver the bad news.
The company was to embark on a tour of South America in August Nijinska, who had always worked closely with her brother and supported him, could not accompany the tour because she had married in July and become pregnant.
In October their father had died while on tour with his dance company, causing another stress for the siblings. Diaghilev did not accompany the South American tour, claiming he had been told that he would die on the ocean. Others have suggested the reason had more to do with wanting to spend time away from Nijinsky and enjoy a holiday in Venice, "where perhaps adventures with pretty dark-eyed boys awaited him". In March the recently engaged Romola was taken to see the Ballets Russes in Budapest by her prospective mother-in-law and was greatly impressed.
Nijinsky had not been performing, but she returned the following day and saw him: Intoxicated, entranced, gasping for breath, we followed this superhuman being Nijinsky was difficult to approach, being always accompanied by a 'minder'.
However, Romola befriended Adolf Bolmwho had previously visited her mother, thereby gaining access to the company and backstage. She and Nijinsky shared no common language; she spoke French but he knew only a little, so many of their early conversations involved an interpreter. When first introduced to her, he gained the impression she was a Hungarian prima ballerina and was friendly.
Discovering his mistake, he ignored her thereafter. She persuaded Diaghilev that her amorous interests lay with Bolm, that she was rich and interested in supporting ballet.
Sergei Diaghilev: genius of modern ballet | Stage | The Guardian
He allowed her to take ballet lessons with Enrico Cecchettiwho accompanied the troupe coaching the dancers. Nijinsky objected to her taking class with the professionals.
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Cechetti warned her against becoming involved with Nijinsky describing him as "like a sun that pours forth light but never warms" but Diaghilev's endorsement meant that Nijinsky paid her some attention. Romola took every opportunity to be near Nijinsky, booking train compartments or cabins close to his. She was likely warned that he was homosexual by Marie Rambertwhom Romola befriended and who was also in love with Nijinsky. She befriended his masseur and was rewarded with a rundown on his musculature.
Determined to take every opportunity, she succeeded in spending more and more time in his company. The unexpected friendliness was noticed by Baron de Gunsbourg, an investor in the Ballets Russes, who had been tasked with keeping an eye on the company. Instead of reporting to Diaghilev on what was occurring, Gunsbourg agreed to act on Nijinsky's behalf in presenting a proposal of marriage to Romola.
What Nijinsky Wrote About Diaghilev
Romola thought a cruel joke was being played on her, and ran off to her cabin crying. However, Nijinsky asked her again, in broken French and mime, and she accepted. Although Gunsbourg had a financial interest in Ballets Russes, he was also interested in forming his own company, and a split between Diaghilev and his star dancer might have presented him with an opportunity.
Adolph Bolm warned Romola against proceeding, saying "It will ruin your life". A quick wedding could take place once the ship arrived at Buenos AiresArgentina ; the couple were married on 10 September and the event was announced to the world's press.
Back in Europe, Diaghilev "gave himself to a wild orgy of dissipation Sobbing shamelessly in Russian despair, he bellowed accusations and recriminations; he cursed Nijinsky's ingratitude, Romola's treachery, and his own stupidity". A few days after the marriage, Nijinsky tried to teach Romola some ballet, but she was not interested.
I had put myself in the hands of someone who did not love me. She "almost cried with thankfulness" that he showed no interest in making love on their wedding night. Eventually he sent a telegram to Nijinsky informing him that he was no longer employed by the Ballets Russes.
Nijinsky had missed a performance in Rio when Romola was ill, and only a dancer's own illness, certified by a doctor, was allowed to miss a performance. Diaghilev also usually dismissed dancers who married. This was perhaps beside the point, since Nijinsky had never had a contract, nor wages, all his expenses having been paid by Diaghilev.
His mother also received an allowance of francs per month other senior dancers had receivedfrancs for a six-month season. Leonide Massine joined the company as the new attractive young lead for Joseph. He appears not to have appreciated that his marriage would result in a break with Diaghilev's company, although many others immediately expected this would be the result.
The Ballets Russes and the Imperial Russian ballet were the pre-eminent ballet companies in the world and uniquely had permanent companies of dancers staging full-scale new productions. Nijinsky now was "an experimental artist.
He needed roles that would extend his gifts, and above all, he needed to choreograph. For these things he did need the Ballets Russes, which at that time was the only forward-thinking ballet company in the world.
He could find only two offers, one a position with the Paris Operawhich would not start for more than a year; the other to take a ballet company to London for eight weeks to perform as part of a mixed bill at the Palace Theatre. Anna Pavlova sent him a caustic telegram, reminding him that he had disapproved some years before when she had appeared there in vaudeville.
She was glad to do so, being concerned at how well he could cope without his customary supporters. When she arrived, there was friction between her and Romola: Bronia was critical that the new central figure in her brother's life showed so little organisational ability; Romola resented the closeness between brother and sister both in their shared language and in ability to work together in dance. The final company had only three experienced dancers: Nijinsky and Bronia plus her husband.
Scenery was late, Fokine refused to allow the use of his ballets, there was inadequate time to rehearse, and Nijinsky became "more and more nervous and distraught". On another night, when the orchestra played music during the scene change so as to calm the audience, Nijinsky, having expressly banned this, flew into a rage and was discovered half dressed and screaming in his dressing room.
He had to be calmed down enough to perform.
He jumped on a stagehand who had flirted with Romola "I had never seen Vaslav like that" . A new program was to be performed for the third week, but a packed house had to be told that Nijinsky was ill with a high temperature and could not perform. He missed three days, and the management had had enough.
The show was cancelled, and Nijinsky was left with a considerable financial loss. Newspapers reported a nervous breakdown. After he was mostly confined to asylums. Their daughter Kyra was born on 19 June He was confined to house arrest in Budapest and could not leave the country. The war made problems for the Ballets Russes too; the company had difficulty recruiting dancers and Fokine returned to Russia.