February 2, 1989 |
"Le Train Bleu," a 1924 ballet choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska with a libretto by Jean Cocteau, to have been performed Feb. 17 at UC Irvine by the Oakland Ballet in a newly reconstructed version, will be replaced by another Cocteau-Nijinska collaboration of 1924, "Les Biches." The change in the program, part of the Jean Cocteau Centenary Festival being sponsored Feb.
April 30, 1990 |
The great secret of the Oakland Ballet's newly reconstructed "Le Train Bleu" is immediacy. The setting by sculptor Henri Laurens may slice an ordinary beach landscape into exotic Cubist planes and angles, but we instantly recognize it and its inhabitants: sleek bathing beauties in designer swimwear (by Coco Chanel, no less) and hot musclemen on the make. If we connect with this long-lost 1924 "operette dansee" through our own direct observation and experience, so do the dancers.
May 11, 1991 |
It's a truism to say that Diaghilev revolutionized and reformed ballet in the early decades of the century, giving the art form back its seriousness while extending its possibilities by incorporating radically new choreographic, musical and theatrical elements. As danced Thursday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, however, familiar works by Massine, Nijinsky and Nijinska proved anything but museum pieces.
May 7, 1990 |
Cultural reclamation at its most enlightened, the Joffrey Ballet's Diaghilev program has always been important for both its renewal of early 20th Century masterworks and for making the company itself indispensable to contemporary dance. Over the years, however, the program has evolved from naive celebrations of Leonide Massine to a survey of the roles danced by Vaslav Nijinsky and on to the current fascination with the choreography of both Nijinsky and his sister, Bronislava Nijinska.
April 28, 1990 |
It started with Vaslav Nijinsky, the fabled Russian dancer who turned the ballet world on its head and then lost his own to madness by 1917. It picked up with his sister, Bronislava Nijinska. She devoted herself to continuing the legend and went on to create her own landmark works for Diaghilev's glittery Ballets Russes--where such elite collaborators as Cocteau, Stravinsky, Picasso, Balanchine, Milhaud and others were crafting the Paris-based repertory.
February 15, 1989 |
Jean Cocteau is best known as a film maker and playwright, but he also left his mark in the ballet world by creating scenarios for Diaghilev-era ballets such as Fokine's "Le Dieu Bleu," Massine's "Parade" and Nijinska's "Le Train Bleu." Strangely, the one dance work that is being offered as part of this month's Cocteau Centenary Festival at UC Irvine is Nijinska's "Les Biches," for which Cocteau's contributions are harder to pin down.