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546

Nijinsky's Bloomsbury Ballet

Reconstruction of the Dance and Design for Jeux

Millicent Hodson
2008

316 pp.

115 illustrations

ISBN: 978-1576470428

hardback $76.00


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Vaslav Nijinsky's Jeux—to a commissioned score by Claude Debussy—is a daring dance poem about the libertine manners and mores of the Bloomsbury artists he and designer Leon Bakst observed at a nocturnal tennis party in London's Bedford Square. The ambiguous coupling and tripling Nijinsky explored in Jeux startled the public as did Debussy's music in which both the tango and turkey trot as well as pleasure-garden themes inspired by Wagner's Parsifal are quoted. Critics attacked not so much the ethics of Jeux as its post-impressionist aesthetics influenced by the French painters that Bloomsbury had revealed to England since 1910. Despite contemporary references athletic moves and pure spatial geometry Jeux disarmed spectators in 1913 because it still looked like a ballet. Nijinsky had discovered neoclassicism in dance. In 1996 Millicent Hodson choreographer and graphic artist together with Kenneth Archer scenic consultant and art historian premiered the reconstructed Jeux in Verona at the Teatro Filarmonico. During the spring 2000 restaging in London at the Royal Ballet Covent Garden Hodson completed the reconstruction dance score.

Nijinsky's Bloomsbury Ballet presents the dance score with its verbal and visual documentation of the period as well as Hodson's choreographic drawings and text collated with music. Archer contributes an essay on Bakst's costumes and décor. The book is a companion volume to Hodson's reconstruction score for Le Sacre du Printemps Nijinsky's Crime Against Grace published by Pendragon Press in 1996.

Millicent Hodson:

A choreographer of reconstructions and creations with scenic consultant Kenneth Archer. She is also active as a ballet producer and dance historian, as well as a Ford Foundation, Humanities Council, and Radcliffe Research fellow.