Ballet and The Soviet Body

Sporton, G. 2018. Ballet and The Soviet Body. Scene. 6 (2), pp. 153-164. https://doi.org/10.1386/scene_00015_1

TitleBallet and The Soviet Body
TypeJournal article
AuthorsSporton, G.
Abstract

The early failure of the 'dram-balet' form as a vehicle for Soviet ballet is often observed as a failure of its stories to deliver the message of the new society being born around it.This essay discussed how this may not be a sufficient explanation of both the survival of ballet in Soviet times and its eventual emergence as a cultural symbol of the USSR. The misdirected efforts into didactic storytelling worked precisely against its utility to Soviet cultural bureaucrats who were looking for work that could support the aims of the Revolution in its practical manifestations. Once the ballet masters of the Bolshoi gave up their pretensions to narrative (the infamous 'dram-balet' of the 1920s), a different accommodation with the regime was found through equating the physical and technical work of ballet with that of a society focussed on taking itself out of centuries of backwardness.
Ballet dancers could thus become the exemplars of Soviet citizens, hard working, technical specialists in culture, consistent with the ambitions of a meritocracy.

Keywordsdance, ballet, soviet culture
JournalScene
Journal citation6 (2), pp. 153-164
ISSN2044-3714
Year2018
PublisherIntellect
Accepted author manuscript
License
All rights reserved (under embargo)
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1386/scene_00015_1
Publication dates
Published in print01 Dec 2018

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Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/qz358/ballet-and-the-soviet-body


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